Stourhead Brings Literature to Life | King's College Taunton

Stourhead Brings Literature to Life

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This week our Upper Sixth English students were lucky to get out into the open air classroom of Stourhead, a National Trust stately home and park in Wiltshire, as part of their A level studies. The classes are studying McEwan’s Atonement, and Stoppard’s Arcadia, both set in country houses, and which draw a great deal from their settings and the symbolic and historical significance of the manufactured landscape.

Our Head of English Toby Smith commented: “Although both these works have imaginary settings, their writers make reference to so many of the sort of features commonplace in English landscape gardens, but often unfamiliar to school students. Studying extracts of both texts while looking at and considering the significance of an eighteenth century temple, a ha-ha, or reflecting on the labour that has gone into the construction of such a setting, really helped bring the texts, landscape and contextual ideas to life.”

English teacher Fran Parker also took advantage of a quiet afternoon at the property to take her group around the Palladian-style house, with its picture gallery, ornamental cabinets, and library – an eye-opening experience for many. The leisurely stroll around the lake included pauses to admire temples and grottos, and some pupils found time for an ice-cream in the autumn sunshine!

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