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Duration 00:39:32

Big Ideas: On pilgrimage in England

The 1930s saw a resurgence of interest in local knowledge and traditions, and intense debate about how it might be possible to ‘go modern’ while honouring the past. Alexandra Harris looks back on her research for Romantic Moderns, remembering how she followed modern British artists and writers as they went ‘on pilgrimage in England’. She also shows how that pilgrimage led her far back into Roman and Anglo-Saxon history in a quest to find out how the English weather has been differently imagined across the centuries.

Alexandra Harris is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Liverpool, a BBC New Generation Thinker, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She won the Guardian First Book Award and a Somerset Maugham Award for her first book, Romantic Moderns: English writers, artists and the imagination, from Virginia Woolf to John Piper. Her literary history of English weather will be published this autumn.