Literary Bristol: Writers and the City
Marie Mulvey-Roberts (ed.)
Redcliffe Press, 2015
“Consider the nature of a city. It is a vast repository of time, the discarded times of all the men and women who have lived, worked, dreamed and died in the streets which grow like a wilfully organic thing, unfurl like the petals of a mired rose and yet lack evanescence so entirely that they preserve the past in haphazard layers, so this alley is old while the avenue that runs beside it is newly built but nevertheless has been built over the deep-down, dead-in-the ground relics of the older, perhaps the original, huddle of alleys which germinated the entire quarter”.
This passage from Angela Carter’s, The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman, quoted by Marie Mulvey-Roberts in her introduction, sums up the book’s approach as a whole.
Literary Bristol tells the story of Bristol through its writers. Bristol has been recognised as a thriving port and commercial and industrial centre, as well as a city of churches, yet insufficient attention has been paid to its literary importance, even though more writers are connected to this ‘Venice of the West’ than almost any other city in England, apart from London. There are over a hundred significant authors, poets and playwrights linked to Bristol, which allow it to take its place as one of the world’s great literary centres. Bristol can lay claim to a significant number of literary firsts in poetry, prose and drama.
This book takes the reader on an armchair tour of Bristol, linking writer and place from the late eighteenth century up to the present day. Leading experts on Bristol’s literary tradition act as virtual tour-guides, pointing out the Romantic poets, early women writers, Gothic novelists, Victorian authors, dramatists and modern novelists who have left their mark on Bristol’s cultural cityscape. The relationship between writing and place is explored in innovative ways, drawing together neglected and famous writers connected with Bristol.
Marie Mulvey-Roberts (ed.), Literary Bristol: Writers and the City, (Bristol: Redcliffe Press, 2015) includes a chapter by Zoe Brennan on “Angela Carter’s ‘Bristol Trilogy’: A Gothic Perspective on Bristol’s 1960s counterculture”, pp. 162-82