Saturday, 7 April 2012

Inspired Landscapes

I spent Good Friday up on the beautiful Malvern Hills. It was so magical to walk the stunning countryside that seems untouched by modern life in some areas.

When I go to places, I love to connect in every way with what is there and what has been there in the past. A few days before visiting, I started to read Piers the Ploughman by William Langland, a poet who lived in the 14th century.

The story is set around the very same Malvern Hills that I roamed and tells the tale of the poet who fell asleep on the side of one of the hills and saw in his dreams a crowd of people. He describes experiencing the tower of truth (God) set on the hill and the dungeon of Wrong (the Devil) in the valley below and all the classes of people, some good and some evil and corrupt. He also sees Piers the Ploughman who wants to guide the people to a better way of life.

Even though this book has been translated, his words give a real account of what life was like during the 14th century. That was what made it so fascinating, it brought the story to life. To walk the footsteps of a real writer from centuries ago was an incredible experience and as I walked, I started to imagine what life must have been like then. I wanted to know where Langland had seen these visions.

Could this be the spot that Langland saw his vision?

It's a wonderful thing to think that now even modern day writers are still achieving that. By setting a scene in a real place, it can still capture the imagination of a reader who may walk one day in the very setting that the Author has written about.

Langland never became famous as a writer but he gave a real account of life in another time. With any piece of work, characters are vital but so is the setting. A good story that sets the scene so the reader can imagine it or actually experience one day is a massive contribution to the literary world that may last for centuries as this one did.

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