Page 159. " slopes of Egdon Heath "
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeDartmoor - Credit: Space & Light
Egdon Heath forms the backdrop of another of Thomas Hardy's novels, The Return of the Native. Dark, bleak and barren, the heath may well have had a lot in common with Dartmoor in Hardy's mind.


Page 161. " an old manor house of Caroline date "
The Queen's House at Greenwich, designed by Inigo Jones
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeThe Queen's House at Greenwich, designed by Inigo Jones - Credit: Bill Bertram

The Caroline era is the period in English history when Charles I was on the throne. It was a time of great tension between Royalists and Puritans, leading up, as it did, to the execution of Charles I and the English Civil War.

The architecture of the period was dominated by Inigo Jones, who introduced the Italianate Renaissance style to Britain. Among his most famous works were the Banqueting Hall in Whitehall and the plans for Covent Garden, which laid the groundwork for some of the most famous areas of London.

Page 166. " less Byronic than Shelleyan "
Lord Byron by Thomas Phillips
Public DomainLord Byron by Thomas Phillips
Byron and Shelley were two of the most famous Romantic poets, writing in the early nineteenth century. Lord Byron is best known for poems such as "She Walks in Beauty" and longer works like Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, however his life was every bit as colourful as his writing. Given to excess, he ran up huge debts, fell violently in and out of love, and ran away to lead a regional group of the Carbonari, Italy's secret revolutionaries. Later, he fought against the Ottoman Empire in the Greek War of Independence. He was described by one of his lovers, the novelist Lady Caroline Lamb, as "mad, bad and dangerous to know".

By contrast, Percy Bysshe Shelley was a committed idealist who espoused non-violence and inspired leaders from Karl Marx to Ghandi. His famous works include "Ozymandias" and Prometheus Unbound, although he was not very successful during his lifetime and is thought to have had only 50 readers at the time of his death by drowning in 1822, just a month before his 30th birthday.