With the growing scholarly interest in analysing the relationships between ‘Literature, Place and Identity’, research with a focus on Q and his work could be both timely, exciting and a most valuable addition to the field of literary criticism.
This website aims to provide an information background to such future study and suggests a few of the possible lines of research that could be followed.
The Couch family’s influence on Q’s writing:
The collection of archives related to this family stored in The Morrab Library, Penzance and the Courtney Library (Royal Institution of Cornwall,Truro) provides a wealth of material which has only partly been examined so far. One particular important effect has been seen as the influence of the strong scientific background of so many of his family.
(a) Andrew Symons has been researching the Couch family archives for many years. He has been studying the writings of Dr.Jonathan Couch (see Naylor below) and his two uncles, Dr. Richard & Dr.Thomas Quiller Couch, to look at the relationship between their scientific work and Q’s novels and short stories. The research has been identifying the links between literature, science and history. Future work will include the collation of all available Couch material.
Andrew is a writer and lecturer who lives in Penzance and can be contacted through the Morrab Library. He has published extensively on different aspects of Cornish literature and has been specialising on the influence of the background in Q’s writings based in Cornwall, especially in the Fowey area. He is developing a literary analysis of each of Q’s novels and short stories
(b) Dr. Simon Naylor also studied the work of Jonathan Couch for his paper: Writing the region: Jonathan Couch and the Cornish fauna: Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, pp.34 – 44, Vol. 30, No.1, 2005.
Jonathan Couch was Q’s grandfather. A doctor who lived and worked in Polperro, he was described by Q as “a doctor whose care for the sick was exemplary” and a “born naturalist” for whom “ Polperro provided a constant food for those observations and recordings of natural phenomena which were his long life’s intense pursuit and his unselfish reward.”
Simon Naylor is based at the Geography Department, Tremough Campus, University of Exeter, Penryn, Cornwall, TR10 9EZ.