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The young E M Forster spent his formative years in Hertfordshire and it was a county for which he’d hold lifelong affection. As 2010 marks the fortieth anniversary of his death Amanda Hodges looks back at his childhood days.

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“I am very glad that my little book has proved so acceptable to yourself and your children. Giving it away to my little friends is a cheap luxury in which I frequently indulge as they are a numerous tribe; in fact.. I find that they become friends on short acquaintance, though few with whom it has been so short (about 30 minutes I think!) as in the present case…”

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‘The great beauty of Poetry is that it makes every thing, every place interesting’, John Keats wrote with characteristic enthusiasm. Today his Hampstead home stands as a museum celebrating his enduring status as one of the finest Romantic poets, one whose innate sensitivity to Nature found creative expression in ‘the humming of the bee, the sight of a flower or the glitter of the sun.’

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‘I work and sleep up in my cottage at present and anything grander than the days and nights at my porch you will not find away from the Alps; for the dark line of my hill runs up to the stars, the valley below is a soundless gulf. There I pace like a shipman before turning in. And in the day I have a brilliant universe rolling up to me.’

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In 1912 twenty-six-year-old David Herbert Lawrence met Frieda Weekley, the wife of his university professor and the two rapidly formed an intense romantic attachment that led them to leave England for Europe.

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17 Feb 2010, by

Harold Pinter

Chiswick provided much creative inspiration for the young Harold Pinter. Ensconced in a tiny first-floor flat on Chiswick High Road with his wife, actress Vivien Merchant and their infant son Daniel in the late 1950s, Pinter had one of those moments of dramatic epiphany spoken of in his recent lecture Art, Truth & Politics.

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17 Feb 2010, by

Raymond Chandler

Raymond Chandler may have based many of his detective novels on the ‘mean streets’ of Los Angeles but his early days were spent at South London’s Dulwich College. As 2009 marks two anniversaries: his death in 1959 and the 1939 publication of The Big Sleep Amanda Hodges explores his links with the school.

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