Book lover Mariella Frostrup sets off to discover how some of our most impressive and dramatic landscapes helped inspire Britain’s best loved female authors to write their great novels.
From the Brontes’ Yorkshire, to Jane Austen’s Hampshire, Beatrix Potter’s Lake District and Daphne Du Maurier’s Cornwall, Mariella will find out what role these settings and regions really played in best-sellers from Wuthering Heights to Pride and Prejudice.
It’s an epic journey that will reveal why these great works weren’t just written by their authors but the times and places they lived in.
Wherever she goes, Mariella will track down new insights, and surprising revelations finding intimate diaries and little seen documents. She will walk where these famous female writers used to head to create their plots and characters – over dramatic moors and around stunning lakes – as she visits their homes and the secret locations that inspired them to create their stories. As she does this, Mariella paints a bigger picture, one of Britain and how it has changed over the past 200 years. She shows how the words of these authors are actually one of the best accounts we have of what life was really like for our ancestors.
With breath-taking landscapes, incredible insights and access to fascinating buildings and places, this series will reveal the real role different regions and landscapes have played in our great literary history.
Episode One – Jane Austen’s Hampshire
Mariella Frostrup explores Hampshire to discover how its distinctive landscape influenced Jane Austen when writing novels like Mansfield Park and Sense and Sensibility. She will also uncover what life was really like here in Austen’s time and how well her novels reflect this. Mariella visits a former home of the wealthy landed gentry to find out how their ancestors may have been the basis for characters like Pride and Prejudice’s Darcy. She discovers how living in 18th century Hampshire means Jane Austen could potentially be considered a war novelist. She recreates an 18th century ball and learns how these events really worked when finding a partner – and she also reveals why, although none of her novels are actually set in Hampshire, Austen only seemed to be able to write in this county.
Next weeks Episode Two – Daphne du Maurier’s Cornwall to follow…..