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Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Hampshire authors

Before we moved to Spain, we lived for several decades in Hampshire, England. The county is not unique in boasting of several famous authors. For example, Hertfordshire has connections with the following: Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Ken Follett, Frederick Forsyth, Victoria Glendinning, Graham Greene, John Le Carré, George Orwell and Anthony Trollope.

                                                            Jane Austen portrait 1873 - Wiki commons
Jane Austen was born in the village of Steventon, near Alton, in 1775. She lived much of her life in Chawton and died in 1817, being buried in Winchester Cathedral. Hampshire locales, as well as Bath, figure prominently in her novels. She was educated at home and acquired a good knowledge of English literature. Two of her brothers rose high in the Navy and she learned much about the society in which they moved. She has been described as overly respectable, calculating and puritan. Yet in her works she displays a great sense of fun, a telling appreciation of the comic in character, a precise observation of behaviour, and an ability to dissect real snobbery. She created some great comic characters, notably Mr Collins and Mr Bates.
                                                                                                              Dickens - Wikipedia commons

Charles Dickens was born, in 1812, in 393 Old Commercial Road, Portsmouth that is now a museum dedicated to him. He lived here until 1817. He lived in several other homes, uprooting family and chattels, mainly in London until his final move in 1856 to God’s Hill Place, Higham, near Rochester in Kent, where he died in 1870. He cared for justice and his pen-portraits of cruel and stupid despots, and his satire of bureaucracy, had an effect on society. Much loved, he could move the hearts and minds of those who had previously been indifferent to cruelty and stupidity. He too created memorable characters and he has lent his name to the English language – Dickensian.

Olivia Manning, 1930s - Wikipedia commons                                                              
Novelist and journalist Olivia Manning was born in Portsmouth (I’ve seen three dates of birth for her, 1908, 1911 and 1914 in different sources!) and she died a ferry ride away in Ryde, Isle of Wight, in 1980. She is best known for her Balkan Trilogy and The Levant Trilogy, collectively known as Fortunes of War, which were televised with Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson. These books were based on her experiences in WWII (I read and enjoyed these six books in the 1980s). A photographic portraitt of her is in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery.


Jan Warburton said...

Can I also also count please (lol) since I was born in Lymington, Hants and spent quite a large chunk of my childhood there. I've also based most of my book JOANNA there. Links:

Nik said...

Of course you can, Jan! There must be a lot of others as well.