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Overview

A totally immersive experience

Following the popularity of our four previous literary seminars, we are offering this brand-new itinerary focusing on the Country House literature of England, with an emphasis on novels and poems of the English countryside. Whether it is in the wildness of nature so important to the Romantics or the importance of a domestic rural setting in Hardy’s oeuvre, English literature has not merely spoken of the natural world but been derived from it. For many writers the division between town and country became an extended metaphor for different states of mind and activity. Slow country living was very different from the bustle of society in town, with long, windswept country walks and rides substituting for formal London soirées and strolls in the park. The country house became a microcosm, where all the passions and pains of life could be played out against the backdrop of the outdoors.

Join Professor Elaine Treharne on a literary discovery of England’s southwestern corner, once home to many of the great writers who explored these themes so brilliantly, from Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy to Daphne Du Maurier and Kazuo Ishiguro. We shall read Mansfield Park, a handful of Hardy’s short stories, Rebecca, and Remains of the Day, together with poems and short historical snippets, focusing on the cultural value of the country house setting; the importance of possessions; social climbing and societal decay; and the cultivation of personal relationships. In addition to our discussions, we shall spend time in the idyllic Cotswold Hills, visit the Coleridge's cottage, tour the historic city of Bath, and even wander Robert Frost’s “yellow wood,” all while enjoying the atmosphere and hospitality of some of England’s most lovely country houses. Participants will be assigned several books to read in advance and will be encouraged to engage in daily discussions on the readings and themes explored throughout the trip.

Dates

June 21–28, 2023

Duration

8 days

Price

From $9,995 per person

Trip size

25 participants

Minimum age

18 years

Faculty leader

A different kind of classroom

With renowned Stanford faculty and scholars leading the way, every Travel/Study trip is a one-of-a-kind educational experience.

Elaine Treharne

English

Professor Treharne is an English professor with specializations in manuscript studies, archives, information technologies and early British literature.

“Professor Treharne was truly masterful at weaving together the themes from the assigned readings with everything we were seeing and experiencing around us during our travels. How would I describe her? Polymath. Witty. Sensitive. Genius.”

— Lynne Madison, '74

Itinerary

Discover the literary heritage of England’s southwest corner

Find inspiration from the charming English countryside and delve into the works of numerous English authors with daily discussions with English professor Elaine Treharne. Visit the idyllic Cotswold Hills, the historic city of Bath, and even wander Robert Frost’s “yellow wood.”

  • London, England / Burleigh

    Upon arrival at London’s Heathrow Airport, travel west to the little village of Burleigh on the edge of the Cotswold Hills. Check into our fine country house hotel for the first of two nights and enjoy a welcome dinner in the hotel restaurant.

    Accommodations:

    Burleigh Court Hotel

    Included meal: Dinner
  • Slad / Burleigh

    After a sumptuous English breakfast at our hotel, join Professor Treharne and fellow travelers for the first of several gatherings to discuss the assigned readings and establish the framework for the trip. After lunch, head to the nearby village of Slad where English poet and novelist Laurie Lee began and ended his life and which was the setting for his glorious evocation of Gloucestershire. Return to our hotel by road and enjoy dinner in the hotel restaurant.

    Accommodations:

    Burleigh Court Hotel

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Dymock / Bath

    This morning gather for another session of book discussions and talks. Check out of the hotel and depart for the Malvern Hills, which inspired W.H. Auden and many other famous writers and composers. Stop at the village of Dymock where Robert Frost, Rupert Brooke and the great Welsh poet Edward Thomas forged a lifelong friendship. We’ll have an opportunity to walk through Frost’s “yellow wood” and explore the forested trails that would have been familiar to these compatriots. Continue to the great city of Bath and check into our hotel, a striking Georgian townhouse.

    Accommodations:

    Royal Crescent Hotel

    Included meals: Breakfast and lunch
  • Bath

    This morning gather in our hotel for another seminar on our selected books. After a takeaway lunch we venture into the city of Bath for a guided walking tour, focusing on the city’s history during the Georgian era, familiar to many from the works of Jane Austen. Enjoy tea in the famous Assembly Rooms, built in 1771 and once the center of Bath’s rich social life where the likes of Austen, Samuel Johnson and Joseph Haydn would have gathered.

    Accommodations:

    Royal Crescent Hotel

    Included meals: Breakfast and lunch
  • Quantock Hills / Dorchester

    Early this morning travel to the Quantock Hills where we visit Coleridge’s Cottage and walk past the country house of Alfoxden where Dorothy Wordsworth wrote her seminal Alfoxden Journal. These hills spawned arguably one of the most important works of Romantic literature: Coleridge’s and Wordsworth’s collaboration on the slim volume of poetry, Lyrical Ballads. This afternoon check into our superb country house hotel in the heart of Dorsetshire and enjoy dinner.

    Accommodations:

    Summer Lodge, Evershot

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Dorchester

    Begin the day with literary discussion before paying a visit to Hardy’s Cottage on the edge of Dorchester. Later drive along the panoramic road above the famous Chesil Beach, the setting for Ian McEwan’s eponymous novel. Return to our hotel where we dine in the pub which is said to have appeared in Hardy’s novel, Tess of the d’Urbervilles.

    Accommodations:

    Summer Lodge, Evershot

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Chawton / Hook

    Enjoy our last book discussions this morning before departing Evershot and driving east to the village of Chawton, where we visit Jane Austen’s home for the final years of her life. Later make our way north to the village of Hook where we spend our final night.

    Accommodations:

    Tylney Hall Hotel

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • London / Home

    Transfer to London’s Heathrow Airport for outbound flights.

    Included meal: Breakfast

Trip details

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Pricing

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The price of your trip covers a comprehensive educational program in addition to meals, accommodations, tours and excursions. Continue reading for a full list of what’s included.

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