Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Bath Literature Festival - A Grand Bath Hotel and A Few Good Books

Now is the perfect time to come and stay with us at Dukes in our beautiful Bath guesthouse because the twentieth Bath Literature Festival is now upon us and we couldn’t be happier. Authors from around the world are coming to the city to share their stories and their advice and we can’t wait to hear what they have to say. After all, as Mark Twain said; “good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.”  

In our last blog we mentioned a few of the literary goings on that the festival has upcoming in it’s jam-packed programme. But the festival is not Bath’s only claim to literary fame and so we thought in this blog we’d take a quick look at some of the other things that make Bath a great place to come if you enjoy a good book.

Perhaps Bath’s most famous writer in residence was Jane Austen, who mentions Bath in every one of her novels and made it a main setting for both Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. She visited Bath often in her youth and lived in the city from 1801 to 1806. Bath still retains much of the architecture and many of the places that Jane frequented on a daily basis so it’s easy to retrace her steps and view Bath through the eyes of a Regency author. Besides, a stay in Bath would hardly be complete without a trip to the Pump Rooms or the Royal Crescent – two locations that Jane was a regular visitor to, and for those wishing to really explore the life of Jane there is also the Jane Austen Centre. 

A less well known literary connection is that of Mary Shelley. When Mary’s stepsister needed somewhere to give birth to the child that she had conceived with Lord Byron she, along with Mary and Percy Shelley, came to Bath and the Shelley’s took up lodgings at 5 Abbey Churchyard.

Charles Dickens also stayed in the city as a young newspaper reporter. During this time he stayed at the Saracen’s Head in Broad Street – a pub still standing today, and he visited his friend Walter Savage Landor at his home at 35 St. James Square on a regular basis.

Bath has been the setting of such great books as Dickens’ The Pickwick Papers, Georgette Heyer’s Bath Tangle and is a location in many of the novels by crime writer Mo Hayder. With it’s grand Georgian buildings and relaxed atmosphere it’s easy to see why Bath is such an inspiration for writers of all kinds.

Come to Bath, come to Dukes and come to the festival. We’ll provide the great nights sleep and the luxury breakfast and the festival will provide you will more than enough reading material until it’s time for next year’s festival to begin. Because, aside from a luxury weekend away in a grand hotel in Bath, “knowing you have something good to read before bed is among the most pleasurable of sensations.” — Vladimir Nabokov

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