Under Another Sky: Journeys in Roman Britain

Under Another Sky: Journeys in Roman Britain

Hardback

By (author) Charlotte Higgins

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  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape Ltd
  • Format: Hardback | 304 pages
  • Dimensions: 158mm x 238mm x 34mm | 620g
  • Publication date: 25 July 2013
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0224090895
  • ISBN 13: 9780224090896
  • Illustrations note: Illustrations, maps
  • Sales rank: 142,990

Product description

This is shortlisted for the 2013 Samuel Johnson Prize and the Thwaites Wainwright Prize. This is a book about the encounter with Roman Britain: about what the idea of 'Roman Britain' has meant to those who came after Britain's 400-year stint as province of Rome - from the medieval mythographer-historian Geoffrey of Monmouth to Edward Elgar and W.H. Auden. What does Roman Britain mean to us now? How were its physical remains rediscovered and made sense of? How has it been reimagined, in story and song and verse? Charlotte Higgins has traced these tales by setting out to discover the remains of Roman Britain for herself, sometimes on foot, sometimes in a splendid, though not particularly reliable, VW camper van. Via accounts of some of Britain's most intriguing, and often unjustly overlooked ancient monuments, Under Another Sky invites us to see the British landscape, and British history, in an entirely fresh way: as indelibly marked by how the Romans first imagined, and wrote, these strange and exotic islands, perched on the edge of the known world, into existence.

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Author information

Charlotte Higgins was born in Stoke-on-Trent and studied Classics at Balliol College, Oxford. She is the Guardian's chief arts writer.

Review quote

"Wonderfully written and full of unexpected facts. Higgins brings Roman Britain into the present." -- Richard Sennett "Beautifully crafted... The beauty of this book is not just in the elegant prose and the precision with which she skewers her myths. It is in the sympathy that she shows for the myth-makers, the men and woman who so very much wanted their very own Roman Britain." -- Peter Stothard The Times "Mesmerising... Sophisticated and passionate. She personalizes the story in a diaristic, almost poetic tone...her prose reminds me at times of W. G. Sebald's The Rings of Saturn...similarly haunted by a sense of a past slipping away." -- Tim Whitmarsh Guardian "Smart and up-to-date, sensitive but hard-headed, impeccably researched but gloriously poetic. The layering of themes, moods and topics is staggering. There's nothing like quite it." -- Tom Holland, author of 'Rubicon' and 'Persian Fire' "Under Another Sky should be on every shelf in the UK. Part travelogue, part handbook and part revisionist history, it is a personal and vivid encounter with landscapes, artefacts and people... Beautifully considered and written." -- Ruth Padel New Statesman

Editorial reviews

Smart and up-to-date, sensitive but hard-headed, impeccably researched but gloriously poetic. The layering of themes, moods and topics is staggering. There's nothing like quite it.

Flap copy

The eighteenth-century antiquary who was fooled by a historical hoax so compelling that it took a century to unmask; the nineteenth-century septuagenarian who walked the length of Hadrian's Wall, twice, believing he would be the last to undertake a journey so evidently quixotic; the modern papyrologists who, with all the skill of wartime code breakers, decipher the fragmentary scrawls of surviving writing by the Romans in Britain: it is the rich and evocative stories of these people, and many others, that are told in Under Another Sky. This is a book about the encounter with Roman Britain: about what the idea of ‘Roman Britain’ has meant to those who came after Britain's 400-year stint as province of Rome - from the medieval mythographer-historian Geoffrey of Monmouth to Edward Elgar and W.H. Auden. What does Roman Britain mean to us now? How were its physical remains rediscovered and made sense of? How has it been reimagined, in story and song and verse? Charlotte Higgins has traced these tales by setting out to discover the remains of Roman Britain for herself, sometimes on foot, sometimes in a splendid, though not particularly reliable, VW camper van. Via accounts of some of Britain's most intriguing, and often unjustly overlooked ancient monuments, Under Another Sky invites us to see the British landscape, and British history, in an entirely fresh way: as indelibly marked by how the Romans first imagined, and wrote, these strange and exotic islands, perched on the edge of the known world, into existence.