Reading the Forest: A history and analysis of Forest of Dean literature A history and analysis of Forest of Dean literature

Griffiths, Jason ORCID: 0000-0002-4827-4508 (2019) Reading the Forest: A history and analysis of Forest of Dean literature A history and analysis of Forest of Dean literature. PhD thesis, University of Gloucestershire. doi:10.46289/WESX0876

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This research identifies for the first time a distinctive body of literary work that is Forest of Dean literature. It establishes a history of this literature from its first appearances at the beginning of the nineteenth century up until the end of the twentieth century. It begins to identify some of the persistent ideas and stories about the Forest in literature, and demonstrates how these relate to changing cultural and economic circumstances. By tracing the origins of the most persistent ideas and stories about the Forest to their first appearances in early-modern British topographies, travel writing, and early county histories, it demonstrates how these influenced subsequent writing set in or about the Forest of Dean. The research reveals how, emerging in the first half of the nineteenth century, four local writers produced novels and poems that began to describe the Forest as a distinctive place with a distinctive history, landscape and culture, and seeks to explain why this was: these are the first examples of Forest of Dean literature. A significant part of the thesis focuses on the development of Forest of Dean literature in the twentieth century and how this too responded to changing circumstances both locally and further afield. The final chapters of the thesis analyse key aspects of Forest of Dean literature: the myth of the Forest as isolated, the Forest as centre rather than periphery, and proposes the concept of a Forest gaze. This research makes a contribution to the understanding of a literature of place, and in particular to demonstrate that the specificity of the Forest of Dean demands that its literature be considered, in-part, on its own terms. It makes a contribution to literary history in general and opens up this rich seam of Forest literature to wider appreciation and scholarly scrutiny.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Uncontrolled Keywords: English literature; Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Creative Arts
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2021 16:32
Last Modified: 25 Sep 2023 09:17

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