Friday, August 12, 2011

Hermits Weren't the Only Ones in the Woods

Contrived rustic landscapes were only one way nineteenth century young ladies and gentlemen discovered nature. The period saw a rise in the appreciation of natural beauty for beauty’s sake. Where once the pockets of wilderness around England had been seen by the fashionable as backward hamlets in their otherwise civilized isle, now they saw the lofty peaks, verdant valleys, and thundering freshets worthy to visit, to view, and to capture in word and drawing. And one of the most popular areas to appreciate nature, then and now, was the Lake District.

The Lake District boasts a collection of rocky mountains, deep clear lakes, and crystal streams found nowhere else in England. It had already achieved some popularity with the more outdoorsy types who enjoyed walking along the paths and shores. However, when the romantic poet William Wordsworth authored a Guide through the District of the Lakes (anonymously in 1810 and under his own name in 1820), even those usually content with indoor pursuits took notice.

Wordsworth had been born and went to school in the Lake District, and his time away from it only made him appreciate it further. He wrote some of his most famous poems while at Dove Cottage in Grasmere with his sister Dorothy and spent much of his married life in a house in Rydal. His love of the area glowed in his guide. Take this from early in the piece:
“When the sun is setting in summer far to the north-west, it is seen by the spectator on the shores or breast of Winandermere, resting among the summits of the loftiest mountains, some of which may be half or wholly hidden by clouds, or by the blaze of light which the orb diffuses around it; and the surface of the lake will reflect correspondent colors through every variety of beauty, and through all degrees of splendor.”

Kind of makes you want to go there, doesn’t it? His words certainly had that affect on the gentry and aristocracy of nineteenth century England, many of whom built summer homes along the lakes and streams.

Growing up as I did near the mountains and seas of the Pacific Northwest, I feel a particular affinity for the Lake District. My November releases as well as the first two books of the 2012 trilogy are set there. Stay tuned next week when I hope to be able to give you a sneak peak of my new cover. You can see whether you think the amazing artists at Love Inspired were, well, inspired by nature as much as Wordsworth and I were.


QNPoohBear said...

I've been dying to go to the Lake District for a long time. I'd love to visit Beatrix's Potter's home. Alas it was snowing there when I was in England so I passed up the opportunity to go. The images you posted are so beautiful they make me want to go there all over again.

Ladybrinx said...

Yea, it sounds like a place I would love to visit, I'm from Michigan, the Great Lakes state! We love our lakes but there are no mountains to go w/ them. Some day.

Regina Scott said...

QnPoohBear and Ladybrinx--I know how you feel. The Lake District's on my top ten list of places to see someday. Glad you enjoyed the post!

Marissa Doyle said...

Scott and I went there when I spent a summer in England, back when I was in college. It's just as beautiful as you think it is.

Regina Scott said...

Happy sigh. :-)