The Rising Down by Alexandra Harris

The Rising Down by Alexandra Harris

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When the celebrated critic and cultural historian Alexandra Harris returned to her childhood home of West Sussex, she realised that she barely knew the place at all.

As she probed beneath the surface, excavating layers of archival records and everyday objects - bringing a lifetime's reading to bear on the place where she started - hundreds of unexpected stories and hypnotic voices emerged from the area's past. Who has stood here, she asks; what did they see?

From the painter John Constable and the modernist writer Ford Madox Ford to the lost local women who left little trace, these electrifying encounters - spanning the Downs, Poland, Australia, Canada - inspired her to imagine lives that seemed distant, yet were deeply connected through their shared landscape.

By focusing on one small patch of England, Harris finds 'a World in a Grain of Sand' and opens vast new horizons.