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Poets, Plunderers and Culture for Free

I recently paid a visit to Coventry library and borrowed a few items to help with my research into Coventry’s literary connections. In recent posts I’ve discussed St Mary’s Hall having connections with Shakespeare and George Eliot and Caludon Castle’s cultural heritage. Following up some of these threads (and others) I came out of the library armed with a book about Philip Larkin’s poetry, George Eliot’s Middlemarch and an edition of Shakespeare’s Richard II.

Richard II features Thomas Mowbray, Lord of the Manor of Caludon – his proposed duel at Gosford Green with Henry Bolinbroke (the future Henry IV) is aborted by Richard and both potential combatants exiled. Richard himself was son of Edward (the Black Prince). We get our civic motto “Camera Principus” (the Prince’s Chamber) from Edward’s Coventry connections. Another player is William Bagot – advisor to Richard and made ward to Mowbray’s Caludon estate which he reputedly plundered for building materials for his own castle at Baginton!

I have found that my interest in literary connections to local history can be adequately followed for free on a very low budget. Apart from visits to the library, local buildings and the Herbert, the internet provides a host of opportunities. I have watched Kate Winslett perform in a film version of George Eliot’s “Adam Bede” on youtube and recognised that it had been “adapted” from the original (having listened to the e-book on the same channel!). I’ll be looking at the same three pronged library / youtube film performances / youtube e-books as my entertainment and education over the next few weeks as I learn more about the life and works of literary figures with Coventry connections – and perhaps visit a few of the sites relevant to them as the “Coventry Ramble” goes on........

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