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Christopher Salvesen

Christopher Salvesen is a Professor of English at the University of Reading and author of The Landscape of Memory: A Study of Wordsworth’s Poetry.

Poem: ‘Corsock’

Christopher Salvesen, 19 April 1984

Into the streets and the sun – Going home, let out from school, To tea – Buccleuch Street, Vennel, Down we ran to the Whitesands Where the buses started from. As well as mine, there was one ... One that I always looked for, A different colour and shape – Its bonnet was like a car’s – From the bigger smarter lines, Red and white Caledonian, Carruthers, yellow and...

Poem: ‘Charmaine: A Musical Moment’

Christopher Salvesen, 2 July 1981

A cold ground-floor bedroom: on the linoleum A gramophone – a box set like a trap. Home from school I open it, wind it up, Lift the half-human shapely heavy arm; The steel needle rides the black vibrant disc, Bearing down, just not tearing, on the gloss. From the metallic hissing contact – music: Music uncontrollable, disproportionate, Too loud – too sweet as well, the song...

Solitary Reapers

Christopher Salvesen, 5 June 1980

How salutary to feel guilty about enjoying paintings of the English landscape and peasantry. One aim of Dr Barrell’s book is to animate out suspicions about the difference between the actuality of rural life in the later 18th century and the Romantic era and the image that we derive from various pictorial and literary sources. The work of E.P. Thompson is invoked to remind us that the labourers in the fields were often impoverished, exploited and degraded. In three essays and an introduction Dr Barrell looks at the figures in the paintings of Gains borough, George Morland and Constable in order to trace changes in the way that rural workers and the rural poor in general were represented, and to suggest a tradition in which a gradual desire for greater naturalism was compromised and inhibited by considerations which were not only aesthetic but also moral and social. He ends up asking about Constable ‘why a painter apparently so anxious to paint a landscape rich in human associations should have placed his figures so often in the middle ground, until they become almost invisible in the landscapes they have made.’

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