Second Year English Literature student Jenny Prout reflects back on her trip to Whitby last semester as part of the Literature at Work module.
On Monday 14th March I set off with my fellow Literature students for a day trip to Whitby. Once we arrived at half ten we split into groups to have a wander around. I went and walked along the pier and then had a nosey around the shops. As we were walking along the cobbled streets, Kaitlin spotted a book shop, and as English Literature students we couldn’t help but go in! I picked up a book about the lives of the Brontës and read for while until it was time to meet up at St Mary’s Church.
At the church, we headed to a classroom where Dr Liesl King and Dr Janine Bradbury ran a workshop. We worked in groups to close read a passage on ‘Yorkshire air’ from A.S. Byatt’s novel Possession. Then Liesl explained different ways of referencing and we had a go at putting these into practice.
When the workshop had finished we all separated into our previous groups and had a look at the ruins of Whitby Abbey. The abbey itself is a wonderful example of gothic architecture and this led us into discussion of Dracula, a novel some of us are studying in the Gothic and Horror module. Bram Stocker knew Whitby well and used the abbey as a backdrop for parts of the novel. During our visit the fog contributed to the uncanny gothic atmosphere, as you can see from the photo below of the adjacent church grounds.
Next, we headed to the award-winning Quayside on the water front for fish and chips. They did not disappoint! We returned (slowly!) to the bus, stuffed full, and headed to Robin Hood’s Bay, where Janine took a group photo of us all on the cliff top.
We strolled down the steep path to the beach to collect some shells, and then back up the cliff for fifteen minutes walk towards Boggle Hole. The location is featured in Byatt’s Possession, so I wanted to go and see it for myself. Local folklore has it that the crevice is haunted by a ‘boggle’, or goblin.