British Studies Web Pages

The Countryside


Landscape – ‘greeting the foreigner’

This set of activities has been produced by a team including Tatiana Kramer, Hanna Serafinowicz, Joanna Burdzinska and Bozena Koczurek (with the help of Ewa Bandura).

The first views of landscape make a powerful impression on the visitor coming to a country for the first time. This is how E.M. Forster (1879-1970), a wonderful English novelist and the author of Howard's End (1910) and A Passage To India (1922-24), described the approach to England by ship coming up the English channel. Is it similar to your first impressions of visiting England?

From Howard's End:

Seen from the west, the (the Isle of) Wight is beautiful beyond all laws of beauty. It is as if a fragment of England floated forward to greet the foreigner - chalk of our chalk, turf of our turf, epitome of what will follow (...) How many villages appear in this view. How many castles! How many churches, vanquished or triumphant! How many ships, railways and roads! What incredible variety of men working beneath that lucent sky to what final end!

  • Which part of Poland would you choose "to greet the foreigner" with?
  • What examples of Polish prose or poetry would you recommend to give a foreigner an idea of the Polish countryside?
  • Have you got any foreign friends living in Poland? What are their impressions of the Polish countryside?

There are three sections See also:

2. Wordsworth and Mickiewicz: The Countryside of the mind

3. Heaney, Miłosz and Grass: A Contemporary approach – Three Nobel writers on landscape

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