Jaffareadstoo is delighted to be part of the Literary Landscapes Blog Tour
Charting the Worlds of Classic Literature
Literary Landscapes: the Real-Life Settings of the World’s Favourite Fiction
General editor John Sutherland
Published 25 October, £25 hardback Modern Books
My thanks to the publishers and Alison Menzies for my invitation to be part of this Blog Tour
Literary Landscapes draws together those well-loved authors who are synonymous with a place and time, celebrating Hardy’s Wessex, Joyce’s Dublin and Du Maurier’s Cornwall. It comes right up to date with recent bestsellers, such as Eleanor Catton’s Booker Prize winning The Luminaries, Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City and Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend. Its charm lies in the way these favourites are interspersed with the unfamiliar, providing much to explore.
Led by John Sutherland, a team of specialist literary critics have contributed individual essays on over 70 literary novels where landscape is as central to the tale as any character, and just as easily recognized. Entries are beautifully illustrated with archive material, original artworks, maps and photographs. International in breadth and scope, Literary Landscapes is an enchanting read that book lovers will not be able to resist dipping into.
I'm delighted to be able to share this tantalising excerpt from one of my all time favourite books:
Monroeville, Alabama, USA
To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) by Margaret Oakes
“The sole location of the characters we meet in To Kill a Mockingbird is southern rural Alabama, in the fictional town and county of Maycomb. Approximately 70 miles north of Mobile, Maycomb looks like many rural southern towns. Southern Alabama is flat, pine forested, and not generally the home of the large plantations associated with the Deep South; those locations tend to be in northern Alabama, a wealthier area mentally distant and somewhat questionable to those living nearer the Gulf. Maycomb County residents farm smaller plots or depend on the Tombigbee or Alabama Rivers for their livelihood in fishing or transport. The main physical feature of this environment is the weather, and that factor affects its inhabitants deeply.
Corporeal ennui caused by climate is a constant in life in the southeastern American states: engulfing heat, brain-fogging humidity, the slow drone of cicadas, and the overwhelming nature of semi-tropical vegetation that grows so quickly and profusely that battling it eventually becomes pointless.
Maycomb is described as ‘tired’, the dirt streets turning to ‘red slop’ in the rain, even the shade of the oaks is ‘sweltering’. Over time people can become immobilized in body, unlikely to move briskly and with energy without becoming fatigued and enervated. Clothing and people wilt by midday and movement is slow: people ‘ambled across the square, shuffled in and out of stores around it, took their time about everything’.”
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