Cloven Country – The Devil and the English Landscape
- Reaktion Books
- 2022 ISBN 9781789146509
- 296 pages
- 22.2 × 15 × 3 cm
A colourful and engaging account of the Devil’s influence on the English landscape.
According to legend, the English landscape – so calm on the surface – is really the Devil’s work. Cloven Country tells of rocks hurled into place and valleys carved out by infernal labour. The Devil’s hideous strength laid down great roads in one night, and left scars everywhere as the hard stone melted like wax under those burning feet.
With roots in medieval folklore, this is not the Satan of prayer, but a clumsy ogre, easily fooled by humankind. When a smart cobbler or cunning young wife outwitted him, they struck a blow for the underdog. Only the wicked squire and grasping merchant were beyond redemption, carried off by a black huntsman in the storm.
Jeremy Harte is curator of the Bourne Hall Museum at Epsom and Ewell. He is secretary of the Romany and Traveller Family History Society and created the Surrey Gypsy Archive. His previous books include Cloven Country: The Devil and the English Landscape (Reaktion, 2022).