Authorial Effects at Work in the English Lakes:The Curious Case of Tarn Hows

Donaldson, Christopher (2020) Authorial Effects at Work in the English Lakes:The Curious Case of Tarn Hows. Nineteenth-Century Contexts, 42 (4). pp. 433-448. ISSN 0890-5495

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This article forms part of a special issue entitled 'Placing the Author in Ecologies of Literary Tourism'. The article examines one of the more curious beauty spots on the literary tourist’s map of the English Lake District: Tarn Hows, near Coniston. This artificial lake, with its islands and ornamental groves, is one of the most iconic properties in the Lake District, and tracing its development as a visitor attraction reveals how particular writers have influenced the management of the region’s landscapes. The history of Tarn Hows affirms the effects that some of the Lake District’s most notable literary figures, including both the Wordsworths and Beatrix Potter, had on the property’s design and preservation. Taking note of these effects is interesting for the insights they afford into the construction of the Lake District’s cultural status. But noting the effects the Wordsworths and Potter had on Tarn Hows is also valuable because it helps us conceive of the idea of ‘the author effect’ in a different way. Building on Nicola Watson’s recent consideration of the influence of ‘authors’ effects’ on the interpretation of certain writers, I propose an alternative way of understanding how the actions of particular authors have affected the histories of specific places. Such an understanding, I contend, enables us to appreciate how seemingly non-literary locations, like Tarn Hows, can become sites of interest for literary tourists.

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Journal Article
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Nineteenth-Century Contexts
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This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Nineteenth-Century Contexts on 10/07/2020, available online:
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07 Apr 2020 15:30
Last Modified:
19 Sep 2023 02:25