Harriet Martineau, Jonathan Raban
This June, I'm delighted to be taking part in the UEA Showcase Week taking place at the Norwich Forum as part of the University's 50th anniversary celebrations. More details are available here, and the full schedule of talks (featuring some very hot tickets) is here. At 3pm on June 4th I'm going to be talking about Harriet Martineau and Jonathan Raban - two writers with Norfolk roots who travelled along the Mississippi River at rather different moments in its history. Readers with keen memories may remember that I've written about these two before - Martineau here (and in River of Dreams), and Raban here, if anyone wants to bone up in advance. The full blurb of the talk is below. Hope to see you there.
Norfolk to New Orleans: Riding, Reading and Writing the Mississippi River
The Mississippi has been at the heart of life in America for thousands of years. The symbolic meaning that Americans have attached to their great river has, however, changed radically, particularly over the last two centuries. In the early 1800s, the river was a potent emblem of national identity. Today, it exists as a largely forgotten though economically vital industrial corridor, remembered only in times of flood or drought, or through the writings of Mark Twain. In this talk we will bring these changes closer to home and think about their implications through the experiences of two intrepid travellers from Norfolk. At different times and in different ways, Harriet Martineau and Jonathan Raban both made long journeys along the Mississippi and documented their experiences in compelling travel accounts that help us chart the changes in the river and its meaning from the 1830’s to the 1980’s.Update: full programme available below, or here.