Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Where to start ?

The quotation says "Entirely surrounded by mystery and romance." A journey around the coasts of Britain using children's books. Let us cut that back -
Surrounded by mystery and romance. A Journey around the coasts of Britain by tracking the settings of children's books.

I thought of all the places I could start this journey. My wife suggested Dover and I remembered 'The Key of England' by David Divine and thought that was going to be appropriate. But it is round Britain that I am going. Dover will not do.
The basic premise was to cover every stetch of the coast and also the adjacent islands. But what about those pieces of coastline where I simply did not know of any story that used that setting. Were these destined to remain as "undiscovered" on the literary maps which I proposed constructing ? I have to think of a way of resolving this problem. At this stage I will have to confess that I do not know what will be missing. Am I ready to invite the reader to tell me how to fill in the gaps ?
Another problem then crossed my mind ? Which direction should I take - clockwise or anticlockwise ? Some of the coastal journeys recounted go in one way and some the other. My instinct is for clockwise.
Which books and which authors ? I am not so naive that I propose to tackle a subject which does not refer to authors who are well-known.
That poses yet another problem - some of the settings - those of Monica Edwards and Malcolm Saville are already well known and well written about by Girls Gone By authors of non-fiction. I must produce my own words but not duplicate what is already there. Abbreviated versions with reference to the extant books provides part of the solution.
Next I must consider just how far from the coast the stories may reach. Major rivers sometimes provide long hinterlands of description.
The problem of London and its gargantuan size provides another formidable challenge.
Another thing to be considered is the use of definite places and probable places that have been traced by other sleuths e.g. anything about Guernsey and coastal Wales by EBD.
Counting against all this is the excitement of the project itself and my knowledge of Mabel Esther Allan and Percy F. Westerman.
Seaside, riverside, smugglers' caves and cliff accidents.
Mabel Esther Allan, Percy F. Westerman, Arthur Ransome, Richard Armstrong, John Rowe Townsend, Elsie J. Oxenham, Lois Lamplugh, Malcolm Saville, Monica Edwards.

No comments:

Post a Comment