Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


Babington. Idyllic English provincial village in which Miriam lives until she is eighteen years old, when her father’s bankruptcy forces her to leave in order to earn money to help support her family. She leaves behind a provincial life of safety, her parents, and her three beloved sisters, to seek her fortune in Germany. Dorothy Richardson based the village on Abingdon in England’s Berkshire district, where she herself was born.


*Hanover. German city to which Miriam goes to work as a governess after her father’s bankruptcy. Germany represents such a challenge in language and culture to Miriam that she returns to England after a single year, sadder but wiser, and depressed by her lack of achievement. Pointed Roofs, the title of this chapter volume, refers to the pointed roofs of Hanover.


*London. Capital of Great Britain that throughout the novel plays the most significant role in shaping Miriam’s cultural and psychological life. Miriam first goes there from Germany to become a teacher in the “backwater” of north London (hence, the title of the second chapter-volume, Backwater). There she teaches in a school run by three spinster sisters. The name of their school, Banbury Park, is an oblique reference to Richardson’s own experience of teaching in north London’s Finsbury/Barnsbury Park district. Mirroring Richardson’s experience there, Miriam is discouraged by the region’s mean streets and the harsh, snarling voices of north London residents. Again, a contrast of cultures looms unpleasantly and frustrates Miriam’s...

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(Great Characters in Literature)

Fromm, Gloria G. Dorothy Richardson: A Biography. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 1977. An excellent starting point for an examination of Dorothy Richardson’s life and work. Interesting analysis of Pilgrimage, highlighting the relationship between Richardson’s life and her art.

Gregory, Horace. Dorothy Richardson: An Adventure in Self-Discovery. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1967. A compelling study of the events of Richardson’s life. Important work for the reader interested in the autobiographical nature of Pilgrimage.

Hanscombe, Gillian E. The Art of Life: Dorothy Richardson and the Development of Feminist Consciousness. London: Peter Owen, 1982. Offers textual examination of Pilgrimage. Includes interesting assessment of Richardson’s attempt to develop a feminine writing style. Comprehensive index provides access to important sections.

Radford, Jean. Dorothy Richardson. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1991. Analyzes structure, characters, and themes. Contains a useful section on reading and readership in Richardson’s novel. An excellent resource for current scholarship on Pilgrimage.

Staley, Thomas F. Dorothy Richardson. Boston: Twayne, 1976. A lucid examination of Dorothy Richardson’s life. A place to start in Richardson study.