Thursday, 27 August 2009

Keats and Mrs Gaskell

From the Guardian via the Vermont Poetry Newsletter

Keats House in Hampstead, the low pale villa where the poet lived, has been renovated and was opened to the public in July.
It is the house where he penned Ode to a Nightingale and asked the girl next door to marry him. Yet Keats lived there for just two years, albeit his most creative. It prompts the question – does this postcard-pretty house of a writer who died at 26, which will attract those who like visiting pretty houses in Hampstead, deserve a £424,000 grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund, supplemented by the Corporation of London?

How many struggling poets and other writers could do a lot with a fraction of this grant? I think it's outrageous. How many visitors will it get after the first summer?

Let’s contrast the apparent ease of finding the money for the young man Keats with the struggles over Mrs Gaskell, whose former house is at 84 Plymouth Grove, Ardwick, Manchester. It is a Grade II*-listed Regency-style villa, and it is on the English Heritage buildings at risk register. The Gaskell Society says it needs over £2m to save it, yet it has secured just £260,000, covering the first phase of renovation.

I hope the society does not find the rest of the money and splits the money they have already on struggling novelists, women or otherwise.


Peter Goulding said...

Yes, basically the same argument as the M3 Tara controversy.
And personally I would sympathise with the poor sods stuck in Dunshaughlin for hours every day.

Emerging Writer said...

Hi Peter, You've lost me there. How's it the same? Tara is about destroying up archaelogical sites not about the money.

Peter Goulding said...

Better to improve the lives of the living than to cherish the memory of the dead. Of course its best to do both, but when you have to choose...

Emerging Writer said...

Ah, I get you now. There's a delicate balance, all right.