Life in an in-between landscape: Norman Angell, Tom Driberg, and the Blackwater Marshlands

Oliver, Stuart (2014) Life in an in-between landscape: Norman Angell, Tom Driberg, and the Blackwater Marshlands.

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Official URL: 10.1177/1474474013481421


In this essay I examine the process of making meaningful places through a consideration of the life geographies of Norman Angell and Tom Driberg, two former residents of the Blackwater marshes, Essex. The essay begins by outlining how the cultural tradition of the west has tended to present marshes as marginal locations, and marshland landscapes as problematically ambiguous, and it shows how this characterization has influenced accounts of the Blackwater marshlands. I then introduce and examine the lives of Norman Angell and Tom Driberg: the former a Nobel Peace Prize winner, a solitary man for whom Northey Island provided a retreat from a threatening world; the latter a leftist politician and journalist, an extrovert who lived a colourful life in Bradwell on Sea. While both men came to the marshes as outsiders, they ended by making for themselves meaningful life geographies in the marshland, their struggles engaging with the symbolic, imaginary, and real components of the landscape. I conclude by proposing that Angell and Driberg’s life geographies indicate that, like the marshlands, landscape might best be understood as neither necessarily solid nor liquid in identity, but as a contingent process formed by local negotiation.

Item Type: Article
Members: St Mary's University
Depositing User: ULCC Admin
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2016 12:51
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2016 12:51

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