The best literary travelogues
There are plenty of books out there telling the story of English literature: its history and development. But what about those guidebooks which take a geographical approach to literary Britain, and offer suggestions for places to visit around the UK based on their literary associations? Here are five of our favourite literary guides to travelling around Britain.
Oliver Tearle, Britain by the Book. Forgive the hutzpah of beginning with an Interesting Literature production, but this curious tour of literary Britain, written by this blog’s founder, is designed to be a light, entertaining, and above all, interesting guide to the literary history of Britain: a sort of cross between a guidebook and a book of literary trivia. If you want to discover the true location of Robin Hood (not Sherwood Forest), or the location of King Arthur’s court (not Camelot), or the Dorset writer who Read the rest of this entry
Five classic works of Stoicism
Stoic philosophy has been around for several centuries now, but the principles of Stoicism are not as widely known as the word itself. We tend to use the words ‘stoic’ and ‘stoicism’ to refer to a sort of ‘stiff upper lip’ attitude to life – the sort of thing that Rudyard Kipling recommended in his classic poem, ‘If’. Below, we’ve picked five of the best ancient works on Stoicism and related philosophical ideas. Modern titles are, of course, available – but these might be considered the founding texts of the Stoic worldview.
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations. One of the great things about this book is the circumstances in which Marcus Aurelius compiled it: he wrote it as a sort of journal, writing in it during the evenings when he had a moment to reflect, and with himself as the chief readership – the idea being to teach himself how to be a better person. It is a ‘self-help’ book in the most literal sense: Read the rest of this entry
The best children’s books
What are the top ten greatest children’s novels ever written? This is going to prove a contentious list, but below we’ve compiled what we think are ten of the best works of children’s fiction in all of English literature. We’ve had to make some (regrettable) omissions, but we think these are all classic books which children of around the ages of 5-11 would especially enjoy (though, being classics, they’re for ‘children of all ages’). They span from the 1860s until the 1990s. We’ll offer some interesting background trivia about each book as we go.
Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Along with Edward Lear, Lewis Carroll was the master of Victorian nonsense literature, and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is his best-known book. First published in 1865, the story originated in a boat trip that took place in Oxford on 4 July 1862, on which Charles Dodgson (the real name of Lewis Carroll) entertained the children of his friend Henry Liddell – children who included Alice Liddell, the inspiration for Alice in the book – with a humorous story involving illogical conversations and nonsensical events. The Mad Hatter, the White Rabbit, and the Cheshire Cat have been firm favourites with readers of all ages ever since. Read the rest of this entry