Language and writing often tries to appropriate places and make them understandable. Take the Romantics as an example. Before the Romantics, hills, the Lake District and the countryside were just a wilderness, it was ugly, no one wanted to go there because there were bandits and wolves there. Why would you want to leave the triumph of the Enlightenment in the cities? But the Romantics came along and said, ‘That’s quite pretty’. So for a while language became about describing this exciting new place. Then it got into the Gothic and it became clichéd and all the rest of it, to the point where you couldn’t write about it anymore.
Kit Caless records Simon Spanton in conversation with Gareth E Rees.