Romance of the Road
For anyone interested in places and their associations And So to Bath (1940) is a gem. Writing at the end of the 1930s under the shadow of war and in a succession of stages along the road’s hundred miles, Roberts conjures up a fascinating historical panorama from prehistoric times to Rome, the Plantagenets, the Tudors and Stuarts, the cultural glories (and social misdemeanours) of Georgian England and the Victorian prosperity and reforms that followed it, through to a philistine twentieth century which he laments. With a magpie’s zeal Roberts has gathered it all for us. For occasional fellow travellers he has the scholarly and spinsterly Miss Whissett, and Rudolf, an enthusiastic young Austrian student of English literature whose companionship may have held more than a passing charm for the bachelor author.