People yearn to be able to wander Cambridge’s historic corridors, arms piled high with books on the way to a lecture by one of the greatest minds currently willing to share their knowledge and while most of us can but dream, Tamason Gamble of www.travelingbookjunkie.com introduces us to some of the best authors to have graduated Cambridge who you can read for a transportative escape into their worlds!
Lord Tennyson : The Charge of the light brigade
As Poet Laureate during Queen Victoria’s reign, the name of Tennyson is at least recognised by most people even if they are unaware of what he wrote. Tennyson was the first-ever writer to be awarded a peerage title by the British Crown, and while he was never comfortable with the title, he finally accepted it in order to help secure a future for his son.
WILLIAM WORDSWORTH : DAFFODILS
Born in the Lake District, Wordsworth became Poet Laureate in 1843 and retained the title until his death even though he received no end of criticism at the time about his work. It is general accepted that his work did deteriorate over time and that he went from being a young Romantic revolutionary to an egotistical, ageing humanist.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge : The Rime of The Ancient mariner
One of the founders of the Romantic movement, Coleridge was a poet, literary critic, philosopher and a theologian and never shied away from discussing political turmoil or the nature of society with others. His writing changed with his moods and could often turn quite dark when he was going through periods of personal turbulence. It is said that his work as a literary artist was more varied than most although people say he never really realised his full potential.
SYLVIA PLATH : THE BELL JAR
This American novelist and poet wrote several well-known works that lead to her receiving a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry albeit posthumously. Suffering for much of her adult life, she was diagnosed as clinically depressed and treated many times with electroconvulsive therapy but nothing worked and unfortunately, the tortured writer committed suicide at the young age of 30.
VLADIMIR NABOKOV : LOLITA
Born in Russia, he wrote his first novels in his native language, but it wasn’t until he started writing in English that he found true success. He started at Cambridge on a full scholarship which was awarded to prominent Russians in exile and studied Zoology although he soon switched to read French and Russian Literature.
E.M.Forster : A room with a view
After an unhappy childhood, Forster seemed to flourish during his time at King’s College and became part of a discussion society known as the Apostles. This secret group used to meet to discuss philosophical and moral questions with many of the group going on to form the well-known Bloomsbury Group. The acclaimed author had five novels published during his lifetime and was for the Nobel Prize for Literature no less than 16 times.
SALMAN RUSHDIE : THE SATANIC VERSES
One of the most controversial writers to ever study at Cambridge, Rushdie is best known for combining magical realism with historical fiction. One work, in particular, has caused so much uproar in the Islamic world that death threats were made, protests took place and bookshops around the world stocking his work were firebombed.
JOANNE HARRIS : CHOCOLAT
After graduating, Joanne Harris went on to teach for fifteen years at both Grammar Schools and Sheffield University. It was while working at a University Lecturer that she started to work on a number of different book ideas, one of which once published did so well it was turned into an Oscar-nominated film.