“Except a living man there is nothing more wonderful than a book! A message from the dead – from human souls we never saw, who lived, perhaps, thousands of miles away. And yet these, in those little sheets of paper, speak to us, arouse us, terrify us, comfort us, open their hearts to us as brothers.” – Charles Kingsley
Such simple, yet beautifully descriptive words that perhaps give us a very obvious understanding of what it is to ‘read’ a piece of literature, yet with as much thought provoking insight for us all to consider the very essence of ‘life’ that was put into each and every word.
Literacy is of course a very personal and often explorative means to shed light on a subject matter; be it through past experience, political, social and religious views, interpretation, or as a more creative outlet to express some of those fantastic and often obscure ideas that fill our heads on a daily basis!
The underlying fact about every written piece, and indeed spoken word, is the ability to bring about change and influence upon the reader. Charles Kingsley lived at a time often considered a Golden Age for literature. Although much of the subject matter was focussed upon the social and political aspects of the time, there was a greater sense of imagination that still inspires many of today’s writers and poets.
I’m often left wondering how a modern day Kingsley would have interpreted his surroundings. Would he have continued writing about society as it is now documented and publicized by the media, or would he have focussed more upon the lust for escapism that many of us choose to turn towards? Whatever his choice may have been, I am confident that his words would have found a new home within our hearts and minds.
The Kingsley Hotel building itself has played a vital and significant role within the development of British literature in general, as well as inspiring such writers as Dickens, Yeats and Woolf.
Imagine then the stories that could be told should The Kingsley be given a voice, or perhaps a quill and ink (or even an iPad?) to tell its own story of longevity, combined with the thoughts and inspiration from the writers and poets that, if only for a time, called it home.
If it is true that the structure of a building can house past thoughts and memories, would it be so far fetched as to portray The Kingsley as not just a place where writers go to find solitude and inspiration, but are in fact drawn there on a subconscious level, so that the building may pass on its knowledge and creative flair, once captured from those past literacy ‘greats’, now passed on to those willing to listen?
In honour of its literary heritage, guests can still borrow books from The Kingsley Library. So if you’re staying with us we invite you to unwind with a good book, delivered directly to your room. We offer a new series of “lost classics” written in the early twentieth century and you can even get a special reading pillow available on request. Happy reading!