Friday, 19 November 2010

A Visit to Dove Cottage September 2010

In September 2010, I visited the Lakes for a short break. During the trip, I took the opportunity to explore some of the places Malcolm Lowry visited on his last holiday before his death in 1957. I intended to eventually write up my visit on my Malcolm Lowry blog.

During the break, I went to Dove Cottage in Grasmere now a museum dedicated to William Wordsworth. Lowry had visited the cottage as part of his holiday. During our tour of the cottage, I discovered that Thomas De Quincey had visited Wordsworth there and subsequently lived there and kept the property for 25 years. This fascinated me and I thought it ironic that so much emphasis is put on Wordsworth short tenure! This also struck Lowry as I discovered when I read one of his letters when I got home:

..on top of which it's called Wordsworth's, albeit de Quincey lived in it for 20 years to W's 5 - Malcolm Lowry The Collected Letters Volume Two 1946-57 P. 905

This re-awakened my interest in De Quincey and on my return home I dived into the biographies to find out more. I started with Grevel Lindop's The Opium Eater: A Life of Thomas De Quincey (1981) and Robert Morrison's The English Opium Eater: A Biography of Thomas De Quincey (2009. I discovered that De Quincey had kept a diary during his 1803 stay in Everton, which had only been published in 1927.

I managed to obtain a 1927 copy of the Diary with an introduction and notes by Horace A. Eaton. What is fascinating about this edition is that it contains both a facsimile copy of De Quincey’s handwritten diary and a transcription of the diary.

The diary's entries gave me greater stimulus to research De Quincey's time in Everton. My reading of the diary coincided with Cathy Butterworth's Sketches From Britain project which I mentioned in a previous post. The visit to Dove Cottage was also the catalyst I needed to explore De Quincey's time in Liverpool sparked by David Jacques's Por Convención Ferrer.

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