The years between 1500 and 1800 saw the face of the English countryside alter radically; industrialization, enclosure of once common land, a shift to wage labour, the emergence of huge aristocratic estates and of massively expanding towns, all changed the ways in which people experienced the countryside and represented their experiences. The Writing of Rural England brings together different voices from across the early modern period and invites its readers to explore the conflicting experiences of men and women, the high born and the low, the town and the country. It sets the works of lowly labourers alongside literary 'greats' and in its various sections explores some of the cultural meanings of the English countryside with which we continue to live today: the country as a place of leisure or labour, the attraction of the country house and of gardens, the anxieties of change, and voices of resistance.

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