Discover Literary Bath

Discover Literary Bath, Bath, England (B)

For many people literary Bath is synonymous with Jane Austen, a frequent visitor and sometime resident of the city. But during Bath’s heyday in the 18th and 19th centuries many fashionable authors visited the city, and featured it in their writing. I have rounded up some of the most important writers associated with Bath, and show where you can follow in their footsteps.

There are surprisingly few literary references to Bath prior to the 18th century. Probably the most famous is Chaucer’s Wife of Bath (in the Canterbury Tales), although the poem makes no reference to the city other than to note that she was from “biside Bathe”. (It is assumed that Chaucer chose Bath as her hometown because of its association with the wool trade from which the Wife of Bath derived her livelihood.)

A more satisfying early literary reference is in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain, written around 1136. (I treat this as literature as it was more fiction than fact…) Geoffrey recounts the legend of King Bladud, who was forced to become a swineherd after he contracted leprosy. He founded the city of Bath around 863 BC after he and his pigs were miraculously cured by bathing in the local hot springs. Today you can see a statue of Bladud in the Parade Gardens, and another in the King’s Bath (within the Roman Bath complex). ...... (follow the instructions below for accessing the rest of this article).
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Sights Featured in This Article

Guide Name: Discover Literary Bath
Guide Location: England » Bath
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (B))
Author: Karen Warren
Read it on Author's Website:
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • statue of Bladud
  • Roman Bath complex
  • The Assembly Rooms
  • Widcombe Lodge
  • Prior Park
  • 9 New King Street
  • Great Stanhope Street
  • St Swithin’s Church
  • Saracen’s Head
  • 35 St James Square
  • the York House Hotel on George Street (now a Travelodge)
  • Pump Room
  • Sam Wellers pub
  • Bath Preservation Trust
  • Southgate