Christopher Woodward

Barrow Boys

Antiquaries: The Discovery of the Past in Eighteenth-Century Britain

By

Hambledon 473pp £25 order from our bookshop

THERE’S A FASCINATION that is frantic / In a ruin that’s romantic’, went a Thirties song. There is something both fascinating and romantic in the lives of the lonely, eccentric scholars who during the eighteenth century created a taste for the remains of Britain’s past. In an age of turnpikes and steam, antiquaries explored abbeys which had become cowsheds, manuscripts which had been rolled up for centuries, and Roman roads which had deteriorated to faint tracks in the cornfields.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • What did London look like in the 6th Century? Rory Naismith's 'Citadel of the Saxons' tries to answer that questi… ,
    • Start your week with a dose of Russian Revolutionary zeal. Donald Rayfield reviews Tobie Mathew's 'Greetings From t… ,
    • A treat from the LR Archive: exactly 20 years ago, Malcolm Bradbury reviewed John Updike's 'Bech at Bay' ,
    • ‘When bullets come close, the noise they make as they go past changes from a zing to a crack’ John Lanchester's dy… ,
    • Man with a Bloody Paintbrush: Robin Simon on Lucian Freud ,
    • Jane Ridley reviews The Diaries of Kenneth Rose (ed. D R Thorpe) ,
    • ‘Look,’ says Trump. ‘The fact is I’m only human.’ On the evidence of this book that point is debatable. From the A… ,