Future Research 2

University of Exeter (Cornwall Campus) :     Literature, Place and Identity:

Developments at the Cornwall Campus of the University of Exeter offer opportunities for research with a focus on Q’s writing. Research in the English Department is focussed on questions of literature and place, with a Centre for South West Writing under the directorship of Professor Nick Groom.

The Centre intends to build on current research in the Department into literature and place, such as the ‘Understanding Landscape’ project (2007) and the ‘Mysticism, Myth and Celtic Nationalism’ project (2008-10), both funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

In addition, the Department enjoys a collaborative relationship with the Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch Memorial Fund Committee. The Committee provides a ‘Q’ Bursary for students on the Department’s unique MA in English (Literature, Place and Identity), with an emphasis on research into Cornish literature and literary heritage.

For more information,contact:

Professor Nick Groom, Department of English,  University of Exeter, Cornwall Campus, Penryn  TR10 9EZ.
Tel: 01326 371804
Email: n.groom@exeter.ac.uk
Web:  www.ex.ac.uk/cornwall/english

Q’s influence on other writers

(a) Basil Willey was Q’s successor as King Edward VII Professor of English Literature in the University of Cambridge and called his Inaugural Lecture “The ‘Q’ Tradition” (CUP 1946). In it he expressed the hope that, as one of Q’s disciples, he would be able to preserve the spirit of his  teaching. He reminded us that in On the Art of Writing (1916), Q wrote  that “ Literature is not a mere Science, to be studied; but an Art, to be practised.”

Q’s ideas have certainly continued to be an influence through to the present day – both in a general sense and through the examples of his own writing. The following are a few instances where authors and literary critics have referred to Q’s effect on literature including their own work, embracing a wide variety of literary styles.

(b) In his major survey ‘The Literature of Cornwall: Continuity – Identity – Difference: 1000 - 2000, Radcliffe, 2000], Alan Kent describes Q as “ the major Anglo-Cornish writer of this period (1890-1940)” stating that “his achievements were to have lasting effects on the future direction of literature in Cornwall”. He emphasises the way in which Q’s “construction of community, people and ideology” made him “the most culturally all-encompassing writer of his age”, with a strong Cornish base but also “ a player on on the world stage of ‘English’ “.

(c) In his biography of Q, the historian A.L.Rowse explains that he first became aware of the man who was to become a close friend when he fell in love with The Splendid Spur as a young boy in 1903. Some years later, it was Q who encouraged the young man from the ‘clay country’ in his aim to be a student at the University of Oxford. Rowse always recognised Q as his exemplar and literary hero. When he dedicated his 1988 biography of Q to Daphne du Maurier, he did so by recalling their common admiration for the man he called their old mentor and friend. Never one to offer praise lightly, he finished by describing Q as the head of all Cornish writers.