I’m a bit of an oddity in that I’m a big fan of many authors of classic literature but not necessarily their works! I’ve been on pilgrimages to Haworth (the Brontes), Chawton (Jane Austen), Dove Cottage (Wordsworth) and “Bleak House”, Broadstairs (Dickens), but have read relatively little by any of those writers.
And speaking of Dickens, I’ve just come across The World of Charles Dickens, which is a sort of small format coffee table book about the places he lived and worked. I wanted to share the following little passage. His big breakthrough came with Pickwick Papers, and the Pickwick Club was based in Rochester, a place he knew intimately. Then, I read today, almost as if to complete the circle it was where he was living and actually writing about the day before he died:
A brilliant morning shines on the old city. Its antiquities are surpassingly beautiful, with a lusty ivy gleaming in the sun, and the rich trees waving in the balmy air. Changes – of glorious light from moving boughs, songs of birds, scents from gardens, woods and fields – or, rather, from the one great garden of the whole cultivated island in its yielding time – penetrate into the Cathedral, subdue its earthy odour, and preach the Resurrection and the Life. The cold stone tombs of centuries ago grow warm, and flecks of brightness dart into the sternest marble corners of the building, fluttering there like wings.