Re: Avebury, from Experience of Life, Elizabeth Sewell
Sep 15, 2010, 08:29
Ahaaa! Looks like it doesn't it.
Warn't Mary great?!
Surely it was Alfred that was Great?
Mary Cope visited Avebury in 1885, the poem was dated the following year. Elizabeth's stay in Avebury was forty years earlier, her book was published in 1853. Whilst it is of course possible that Mary read Elizabeth's book and the religious aspect encourages that thought, the poem was undoubtedly grounded in the visit to the motherland. One particular aspect that perhaps underlines this, is that Mary's poem tends to lean on the historic fabric and nature more than the prehistory and the ancient mystery wilderness aspect, which is an edge present in Elizabeth's final pages emphasizing the theme of the lead character living independently. Mary’s passing reference to the prehistoric oddities in just one verse in eight is rather at odds with a religiously attuned individual visiting such a highly unusual place at a time in the nineteenth century when it was at the peak of being painted by residents and visitors as close in resemblance and religious feel to the natural beginnings of England/the earth/an Eden. Something Elizabeth's book possibly helped underpin. One would then conclude that one didn’t influence the other in terms of what was said about Avebury, but one supposes in view of what Elizabeth’s novel is known for it could have done in other ways.