In My Own Shire: Region and Belonging in British Writing, 1840-1970

Synopsis

An overview of 19th- and 20th-century writing from the British Isles shows a constant interplay between metropolitan centers and regional peripheries--an interplay that points to the basic importance of place and belonging in literary creation and evaluation. This volume examines the relationship between British literature--including poetry, fiction, biography, and drama--and regional consciousness in the Victorian and modern periods, introducing the reader to a range of responses to the profound feelings of belonging engendered by the sense of place. The works covered are a mixture of familiar classics and less well-known writings from working-class writers or forgotten writers who were successful in their era. After accounting for the emergence of regional writing in the early 19th century, the author analyzes the development of regional writing in England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, focusing on issues such as the sociopolitical context of the regional novel, the print and literary cultures around regional presses, and the place of documentary in regional consciousness.