Two novices head for the literary hills

The hills are alive with the footfalls of literary pilgrims, tramping in the wake of DH Lawrence and Sherlock Holmes.

Just over a century ago, DH Lawrence and the woman who would become his wife walked across the Alps. Their footsteps were retraced a few months ago by the Lawrence scholar Catherine Brown and the writer Geoff Dyer (author of that hilarious non-biography of Lawrence Out of Sheer Rage). Brown and Dyer, however, weren’t just hiking; they were also performing for the camera, which tends to complicate things. The film will be screened in January as a BBC2 Culture Show special. Meanwhile, there’s Brown’s report to enjoy, on the experience of being expert on Lawrence but a beginner to filming:

“Lawrence lived constantly in what is by the standards of most people a state of heightened reality. The presence of a huge camera and its implications of immortality helped to heighten my own consciousness, in ways that made me more open to Lawrence – his responses to mountains, flowers, Frieda, the idea of God – than ever. And then came the reality, ever bumpily intrusive…”

You can read the whole piece in the Financial Times.

On the Holmes front, there’s Michael White, in Telegraph Travel, who set off with 70 members of the Sherlock Holmes Society to re-enact, at the Reichenbach Falls,  the Dreadful Circumstances of the Death of Sherlock Holmes. Like Catherine Brown, he was a novice: he’d read scarcely a word of Conan Doyle until he got the invitation.


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