COUNTRY & GARDEN: Walks on the Wild Side No 1: Valency Valley, Cornwall ; in the First of a New Series of Walks with Literary Associations, Christina Hardyment Explores Hardy's Boscastle
Hardyment, Christina, The Independent (London, England)
THOMAS HARDY'S most haunting poems were written in memory of his first wife Emma Gifford, his "very West-of Wessex girl,/ As blithe as blithe could be". He was 30 when he "set out for Lyonesse", sent from London on a chance commission to draw up plans for the restoration of St Juliot's, a remote church near Boscastle, on the north Cornish coast. Emma was staying with her sister, who was married to the Rector of St Juliot's, and it was love at first sight. That first meeting, in March 1870, and their wanderings together in the "wild and tragic" landscape around Boscastle and Tintagel are detailed in Hardy's third novel, A Pair of Blue Eyes. "A region of dream and mystery... The ghostly birds, the pall-like sea, the frothy wind, the eternal soliloquy of the waters, the bloom of dark purple cast, that seems to exhale from the shoreward precipices, in themselves lend to the scene an atmosphere like the twilight of a night vision."
One of Thomas and Emma's favourite spots for a romantic ramble was the Valency Valley, between St Juliot and Boscastle. To follow in their footsteps, drive down to north Cornwall, listening perhaps to Naxos Audio's Winter Words, a brief life of Hardy that includes some of the poems with which he celebrated his first love affair. Most were not written until 1913, when at the age of 72, after years of a marriage turned sour and Emma's death, he returned to Boscastle.
Pause in Camelford to pack up a picnic, then drive to Boscastle and head for the car park in the heart of the town. Go …
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Publication information: Article title: COUNTRY & GARDEN: Walks on the Wild Side No 1: Valency Valley, Cornwall ; in the First of a New Series of Walks with Literary Associations, Christina Hardyment Explores Hardy's Boscastle. Contributors: Hardyment, Christina - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: June 1, 2000. Page number: 12. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.