31 August 2010

The Cherokee Bears, North Carolina: Southern Literary Tour, Part Two: #4

All right, this has almost nothing to do with literature, but the similarities between the Cherokee bears and the Larkin toads in Hull are so great, and the fun we received just doing the toads was so great, that we just couldn't resist repeating the thing here in North Carolina. Not that any excuse is needed anyway...

The main difference between the painted bears on and around the streets of Cherokee, U.S.A, and those on the streets of Kingston-upon-Hull, England, is that those in Hull are only there for ten weeks, whereas some of those in Cherokee have been there for a few years, the first one being placed in 2005. Twenty-five fiberglass bears were originally commissioned, although as yet only 19 have been released. It's certain that the bears stand a far better chance of survival here in any case: Cherokee is completely dry, but Hull, er, isn't.

The 'Painted Bear Trail' numbers the bears in alphabetical order, a system I follow. The information following the name of the bear denotes its location in Cherokee.

#1. Bear on the Little Tennessee River, Native American Crafts.

#2. Big Cove Bear, Smoky Mountain Plaza.

#3. Cherokee Sunset Bear, Qualla Arts and Crafts.

#4. Children's Mixed Bear, Cherokee Youth Center.

#5. Eagle Dancer Bear, Historical Association.

#6. Fair Bear, Fair Grounds.

#7. Fish Bear, Islands Park.

#8. Flora and Fauna Bear, Saunooke Kiosk.

#9. Forefathers, BP Station.

#10. Harmony of Life, Downtown Kiosk.

#11. Legendary Sunrise, formerly in front of the Cherokee Welcome Center, has been put in storage due to road works.

#12. Patriot Bear, Memorial Park.

#13. Pottery Bear, Fairgrounds and Museum.

#14. Sequoyah SyllaBeary, Museum of the Cherokee Indian. The headgear and the pipe are of course familiar from the well known picture of Sequoyah.

#15. The Bear Chief, Food Lion, Brushy Creek.

#16. The Legends Bear, Smoky Mountain Fly Fishing.

#17. Tourist Bear, inside Saunooke Mill, now a souvenir shop.

#18. The Trail of Tears and 7 Clans Bear, Subway. Now under repair.

#19. Winter Bear, Holiday Inn.

30 August 2010

Sequoyah and the Cherokee Language, Cherokee, North Carolina: Southern Literary Tour, Part Two: #3 (Numbers 1 and 2 to Follow)

The Cherokee Sequoyah (c.1767–1843), aka George Gist, was a silversmith by trade and could neither read nor write. His achievement – the creation of a syllabary for the formerly unwritten Cherokee language – is therefore all the more remarkable for that. After some years working on his task, by about 1823 he had devised 86 characters, and shortly after this the Cherokees adopted his system, and published the Cherokee Phoenix, their first written organ of communication.
This statue stands outside the Cherokee Indian Museum in the Great Smoky Mountains, Cherokee, North Carolina.

'This statue honoring Sequoyah, the Cherokee genius who invented the Cherokee alphabet, was sculpted from a single giant Californian sequoia (redwood) log which was donated and shipped by Georgia Pacific.

This is sculptor Peter Wolf Toth's 63rd statue across the United States and Canada commemorating the contributions of Native Americans. Toth was invited to sculpt the Sequoyah statue by Chief Robert S. Youngdeer and museum director Ken Blankenship.

Dedicated 30 September 1989.' 

A street sign, in both English and Cherokee – there are many such in the town – also remembers Sequoyah, as does a painted fiberglass bear, but that comes with the other bears in another post in due course.

26 August 2010

Literary Landmarks of the Southern States: A Second Tour

The small city of Hapeville, Georgia, which is very close to Atlanta and just on the edge of Hartsfield-Jackson airport, marks the beginning of our second tour of the American South. It's a convenient place to begin such an enterprise, as the I-75 (which runs through Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky, as well as the non-Southern states Ohio and Michigan) is at the eastern extremity of the city. This marker shows a representation of a steam train and the date 1891 because the railroad depot was dedicated a year before Hapeville was chartered in 1891. Much literary stuff to follow in due course.

22 August 2010

Reynolds Price's A Great Circle trilogy: The Center of Earth (1975), The Source of Light (1981), and The Promise of Rest (1995)

Reynolds Price's trilogy, A Great Circle, occupies a very important place in Price's work. Otherwise known as 'The Mayfield Trilogy' (James A. Schiff, Understanding Reynolds Price (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1996)), these three novels chart 90 years in the history of the Mayfield family, and the first volume, The Surface of Earth, is a large novel of almost 500 pages that represents about half of the work as a whole.

In this trilogy the family exerts an extremely powerful influence - more powerful than other relationships, even marital ties. And yet, 'off-center' relationships - homosexual ones, mixed generational sexual ones, platonic ones, ostensibly casual ones, can be overwhelmingly powerful too.

In Price's trilogy, loves kills, and its repercussions are devastating.

The importance of The Surface of Earth was, Schiff points out, generally lost at a time when it stood out of sync with postmodernist works, between John Barth's Chimera (1973) and Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow (1974), and William Gaddis's JR (1976). In the New York Times Book Review, in an article entitled 'A Mastodon of a Novel, by Reynolds Price' (29 June 1975), Richard Gilman savagely attacked the book as, among a number of other things, 'a great lumbering archaic beast'.

The Surface of Earth is Price's family saga, and stretches from May 1903 to June 1944, encompassing three generations of Mayfields as it does so. The story begins when 16-year-old Eva Kendal learns that her grandmother Katherine Watson died while giving birth to her mother Charlotte, whereupon her grandfather Theo committed suicide. Eva has already decided that that same evening she will elope with her 32-year-old school teacher, Forrest Mayfield. Following this, Eva's mother Charlotte commits suicide, Eva almost dies in childbirth, and leaves her husband to return to her father with her son Rob.

Forrest Mayfield is one of the main characters in the first book of the novel (May 1903-February 1905), and his priapic son Rob is the main character in the second book, (May 1921-July 1929) which leads up to Rob's marriage to Rachel Hutchins, who dies while giving birth to their son Hutch.

'[Mayfields] don't come separate', Min much later (in The Source of Light) tells Hutch's girlfriend Ann Gatlin, which is a very perceptive comment. All her life, Min has been in love with Rob, through his marriage and after, but in Book Three (which is set in twelve days in June 1944, when Hutch is 14), Rob's attention - when not distracted by the alcoholic tendency he has inherited - is focused on his son.


The Source of Light covers a much shorter period of time - the ten months between May 1955 and March 1956 - and is mainly centered on the development of Hutch, particularly his days in Oxford, England, where his gay propensities are clearly shown, as well as his devotion to his father Rob, whose death in the South he flies home for at the expense of much of his planned Christmas tryst with Ann in Rome.

Price was a Rhodes scholar at Oxford, where he wrote his B. Litt. thesis on Milton, and it is evident that there is some degree of autobiographical detail in his descriptions of his journeys in England.

This is Joyce Carol Oates's review of The Source of Light, 'Portrait of the Artist as Son, Lover, Elegist', in The New York Times of Wednesday, August 18, 2010.
The Promise of Rest occupies an even shorter time period - the five months between April 1993 and August 1993, and is Price's AIDS novel. Here once again, it is the relationship between parent and child which is crucial, and we see Hutch bringing his son Wade, who is almost blind and dying of AIDS, back from his Upper West Side appartment to North Carolina, where he can look after him. Hutch has recently separated from his wife Ann, and there will be no suggestion of resolution of their marital problems until Wade is dead. His death is not long in chronological terms, but Price makes no bones about describing the horror of Wade's physical situation. And just as A Great Circle began with people 'killing' others through love, so Price makes the point that AIDS kills through a different kind of sexual love.

Hutch, like Price, teaches at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, and is quick to point out that love killing is nothing new: syphilis, for instance, was responsible for the deaths of a number of 19th century writers.*

It appears that the Mayfield line ends here with Wade's death, although things are not as clearcut as that. Throughout the trilogy, blacks are present (often as angels, but that's another story), but long gone is the 19th century 'niggering', or using female blacks for sexual release. Instead, there is an strong attempt on the part of the Mayfields and their friends and relations to bring black and white together as complete equals. In a sense, Wade Mayfield's enduring love for the black Wyatt Bondurant, who killed himself on learning that he had given Wade AIDS, is a symbol that union. But Wyatt was only too well aware of the difficulty of this, of the still-burning psychological legacy of slavery. When Wade dies, Wyatt's sister Ivory, who looked after the Wade in Manhattan before Hutch brought him to the South, shows Hutch a letter Wade had written him some time before. In this letter, Wade reveals his sexual relationship with Ivory, and that there is 50% chance that the eight-year-old Raven Bondurant is his grandson.

Elsewhere on this blog, I have also commented on two of Reynolds Price's Mustian novels, A Long and Happy Life and Good Hearts.

*It is perhaps surprising, though, that there is a reference to the 'famous diary' of 'Mary Chestnut' instead of 'Mary Chesnut', and a reference to Keats dying at 26, when he died at 25.

20 August 2010

Ebenezer Cobham Brewer in Edwinstowe, Nottinghamshire (revisited)

The grave of the writer Ebenezer Cobham Brewer, originator of Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, has been vandalized, and Brewer's ghost looks on in puzzlement. My original post has a few photos of the unfortunate present state of Brewer's grave. But now, it is hoped that something can be done to restore things.

Many thanks to Alan Smith of Edwinstowe for this imaginative photo.

NEW: The good news is in the link below:

Ebenezer Cobham Brewer's Grave in Edwinstowe (2012 update)

13 August 2010

Elizabeth Boatwright Coker: India Allan (1953), and a Few Digressions

India Allen, by Elizabeth Boatwright Coker (1909–93), is interesting in itself: the novel begins in antebellum South Carolina among the aristocracy, continues through the crisis of the Civil War (1861–65), and concludes during Reconstruction, when the Southern aristocracy is attempting to cope with its loss of wealth, Northern carpetbaggers, and the new status of the slaves upon whom they once depended for that wealth. This forms an important backcloth to the love story between India and Max Allen, who marry quite early in the novel. This is a love which endures, despite terrible injuries the war inflicts on Max, and in spite of his subsequent amnesia which partly causes their eight-year separation, when Max escapes to the Appalachians to trade with the mountain women.

But of additional interest to me, and I know to others, are the minor characters representing Lucy Holcombe Pickens (1832–99) and her husband Francis Wilkinson Pickens (1807–69). Lucy was well known for her beauty, and is remembered now as the only woman to appear on a CSA (Confederate States of America) banknote.

India meets Max in White Sulphur Springs (the marriage mart), Virginia, where Lucy met Francis, although most of India Allan is set in Edgefield, South Carolina, where the Pickens lived in a house with an interesting history. Bought by Francis – who had been married twice before – in 1829 and called Edgewood, the house remained in Lucy's possession until her death.*

And then in 1929, by which time Edgewood was in a state of some disrepair, Eulalie Chafee Salley (1883–1975) and her husband bought the house. Eulalie was a feminist and one of the first female real estate agents; she lived in Kalmia Hill, Aiken, and had the house moved there. In 1989, The Pickens-Salley House was moved to the University of South Carolina campus, Aiken, where it remains. This is a professionally produced, nine-minute video history of The Pickens-Salley House.

*Lucy Holcombe Pickens published the novel The Free Flag of Cuba in 1855, but that's another story.

My related post below is also worth a visit:

Lucy Holcombe Pickens and the Pickens-Salley House

12 August 2010

Identity and the American South

Roger Elmore sends me this link to a page entitled '10 Ways to Know You're a True Southerner'. For those unaware, the guy above is Robert E. Lee, and yes indeed, there's a great deal of the Old South in this list. Many thanks for this, Roger!

9 August 2010

David Foster Wallace Considered in The New York Review of Books

David Lipsky's Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace is reviewed by Wyatt Mason in the 15 July 2010 edition of The New York Review of Books, which discusses Wallace's aesthetic. It is particularly interesting on his use of the vernacular in his serious writing, as well as his attitude to realism versus avant-gardism:
Smarter Than You Think

6 August 2010

Andrew Marvell and Kingston upon Hull, East Yorkshire

'The former Hull Grammar School with an impressive statue of old boy Andrew Marvell (1621-78), the metaphysical poet, in front.

An old plaque on the north-facing wall records that William Wilberforce also attended the school, which is now The Hands on History Museum.

A closer view of the Andrew Marvell statue.

Immediately below the statue is a brief note of the man's perceived qualities: 'Andrew Marvell[.] An incorruptible patriot, a wise statesman, and a zealous and energetic representative of this his native town in Parliament from 1658 to 1678. Born 1620 [sic], died 1678.'

At the base of the statue are the first four lines of probably the most famous poem of Marvell's, which I include below in full. It was in another grammar school - High Pavement, Bestwood Estate, Nottingham, that I first encountered it. I remember it well, as I was taught by the late eccentric Bill Gray, who always made a point of wearing odd socks, insisted that the world is round, and usually smelled of nicotine and stale beer. Bill it was who taught us that this is a carpe diem poem, and his interpretation of the whole thing was very blunt: 'Gerr 'em off! Drop 'em!' Ah, the benefits of a bourgeois education.

To His Coy Mistress

Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, Lady, were no crime
We would sit down and think which way
To walk and pass our long love's day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges' side
Shouldst rubies find: I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the Flood,
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires, and more slow;
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast,
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart.
For, Lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.

But at my back I always hear
Time's wingèd chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found,
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song: then worms shall try
That long preserved virginity,
And your quaint honour turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust:
The grave's a fine and private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace.

Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may,
And now, like amorous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour
Than languish in his slow-chapt power.
Let us roll all our strength and all
Our sweetness up into one ball,
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Through the iron gates of life:
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.

Charles Dickens in Kingston upon Hull

This building in Kingston Square, Kingston upon Hull, was built in 1830 as the Assembly Rooms, designed by R. H. Sharp under the direction of Charles Mountain. It became the New Theatre in 1939.

The plaque on the theatre wall reads: 'In this building in 1859 and 1860 the novelist Charles Dickens (1812-1870) gave selected readings from many of his works.'

ADDENDUM: I notice an interesting paragraph in Claire Tomalin's Charles Dickens: A Life (London: Viking, 2011) in which she notes that in Hull Dickens went into 'Dixon's shop in Whitefrairgate' and, along with giving an assistant a free ticket to a local reading by him, bought six pairs of women's silk stockings (almost certainly for Ellen Ternan).

5 August 2010

Frances Newman (1883-1928) - Southern Writer of Brilliance

Frances Newman (1883-1928) was born in Atlanta, GA, and is hardly remembered now, although she wrote two amazing novels: The Hard-Boiled Virgin (1926), and Dead Lovers Are Faithful Lovers (1928).

The Hard-Boiled Virgin is divided into 50 or 60 sections with only one paragraph in each, and the very long, circuitous sentences and frequent double negatives make this no easy read, I'm delighted to say. This is a by no means atypical sentence:

'She was not born a mystic, but merely human reason could hardly have been responsible for her conviction that her troublesome soul - like other people's - was the shape of a canteloupe seed and nearly the same colour, and that it was about ten inches long, and that it was made of a translucent cartilaginous substance with a small oval bone in the center.'

And how about this for an oblique description of orgasm via masturbation:

'a fountain rose and fell and dropped its electric spray through her thin brown body'.

I seem to remember Flannery O'Connor saying something about avoiding things that 'look funny on the page', but it seems to be ungooglable. O'Connor calls The Hard-Boiled Virgin 'undramatic' and hates the fact that there is no direct speech in it at all. In The Habit of Being, she writes Betty Hester (known as 'A' in the book): '[Newman] must have been a very intelligent miserable woman - but no fiction writer.'

I strongly disagree with the last part of this, although I can understand the reaction. Her second novel, Dead Lovers Are Faithful Lovers, is perhaps a little more accessible, but only a little: there are paragraphs in this, the sentences tend to be shorter, and there are even a few instances of direct speech, although never as separate paragraphs!

But it's still very oblique, as if resisting saying anything concrete. People don't just says things, their mouths say things, or they hear their mouths saying things, or they hear the voices of the thing they call themselves saying things, etc: layer upon layer of writing evades saying anything directly. And yet both books contain strong social criticisms, and the first sentence of Dead Lovers Are Faithful Lovers is like a feminist attack on convention, deliberately stating that the protagonist's name (and by implication identity) has been subsumed into that of her new husband:

'On the fifteenth morning after the bishop of Virginia and the rector of St Paul's Church had given her a legal right to open her eyes and see her very light brown hair lying against Charlton Cunningham's very dark brown hair, Charlton Cunningham's wife opened her eyes on his warm violet silk sleeve.'

Even with their oblique references to birth control, menstruation, and sex, her books shocked many: the New Woman was attacking the stronghold that the Southern lady had defended for so long.

At times though, I confess that I wonder if I'm reading the mind of a schizophrenic, such is the dislocation. But far more often, I feel this is the work of a brilliant writer, someone deliberately writing against the artificiality of representations of reality that we find in so many other writers. Newman is struggling to express how her characters feel to be living, how they actually think. The comparisons with Virginia Woolf are inevitable, but although she's in the same ballpark, the game Newman plays is unique.

This link contains brief information on Frances Newman.

But for much more in-depth criticism, this is a fascinating piece on her from The Southern Belle in the American Novel, by Kathryn Lee Seidel.

1 August 2010

Larkin with Toads in Kingston upon Hull: The City Remembers Its Famous Resident 25 Years after His Death

The poet Philip Larkin is being remembered 25 years after his death, in 1985, in Hull - where he spent many years as a librarian at the university - by the introduction of 40 fibreglass models of much larger-than-life toads in and around the city. Each toad is about a metre tall, comes from an original model by Chris Wilkinson, and has been decorated by artists and community groups. Various businesses and members of the public have sponsored the works, and practical support had been given by Artlink. The original intention was to leave the toads there for only ten weeks, although such has been the enthusiastic response to them that they may stay longer.

The toads remind us of Larkin's metaphor for work in his well known poems 'Toads' and 'Toads Revisited', and were initially greeted with scorn by some local residents. I was first acquainted with the toads in this week's TLS, which mentions the problems with Punkphibian, which was scalped twice in two days. Below, I list, with photos, the 40 toad sites I visited this weekend, although I only actually - for reasons mentioned - saw 37 of the toads.

The leaflet 'Larkin with Toads' lists the toads in a rather vague numerical order, beginning with the 27 (or 26) toads in the city center, and continuing with the further flung 13 (or 14) 'Citywide Toads' that stretch as far as Melton Business Park and Beverley. I retain the original numbers.

1. Maritime Toad was originally situated on the third floor of The Deep, Hull's impressive aquarium, although it is now on the ground floor by the admissions desk, presumably as a result of its overwhelming popularity.

2. Typographical Toad is diagonally opposite The Deep at the end of the footbridge across the River Hull.

3. Squatwit (presumably named after Larkin's ambivalent toad squatting on his life) is nearby on Nelson Street.

4. Fish & Chips Toad is at the junction of Humber Docks Street with Wellington Street West.

5. Archi-toad is by Hull Marina over a footbridge slightly to the south of the Holiday Inn.

6. Not to be confused with Tiger Toad, Tigger the Toad is on prominent view on the A63 (Castle Street) by Humber Dock Street.

7. Sponsored by ARC, Hull's regional architectural centre, the impressive Reflective Colours toad stands by the entrance to ARC on the corner of Queen Street and Castle Street.

8. Neat Toad is in Trinity Square in front of the old grammar school the metaphysical poet Andrew Marvell attended, which is now a museum.

9. Hull Fair Toad sits in front of Princes Quay Shopping Centre on Princes Dock Side.

10. The Larkin Toad is one of the three toads inside shopping centers, this one being in Princes Quay at the foot of the stairs. I preferred the full frontal view for the expression on this representaton of the poet.

Stop press: for an update on Larkin Toad's whereabouts now, see this.

11. Kasey Toad is an obvious victim of bullying, and it is sad that all we could see was the base where he had been while he's being mended.

12. I also liked the aggressive, and slightly comical, full frontal of Tiger Toad in Queen Victoria Square in front of the Maritime Museum.

13. The Hidden Toad is not hidden at all, but in Victoria Square near the Paragon Street information center.

14. The Chiltern Toad is on Jameson Street, and named after the primary school responsible for the artwork.

15. Teletoad in Paragon Square.

16. Another street casualty, and another Paragon Square toad, and the younger public are led to believe Space hopper is out exploring in space.

17. St Stevens Shopping Centre is taking no chances with this toad, Eastwest, and puts protective ropes around it.

18. In Theatre Square, Ferensway, the much-abused Punkphibian is an obvious crowd-puller, and designer Liz Dees believes the strong new hairdo makes him far more difficult to be sabotaged.

I don't like the grammer.

19. Tequila Toad on Ferensway by Springbank.

20. Heat Toad is in Hull Central Library, but the staff, unlike the inconsiderate Hull Citycare people, (see below), at least leave their toad for the general public to see at times of closure.

21. Kiss Me Quick has also received the vandal deterrent of ropes, this time in the Prospect Shopping Centre.

22. Three Quarters Sky is a Touring Toad, and for a month it's presently housed in The Calvert Centre, which is a fair distance from the city center. So this Saturday, I drove there to find its gates firmly locked and not a toad in sight. Obviously, The Calvert Centre imprisons its toad so no one can see it outside office hours. Another couple drove up behind us in a second vain attempt to find the toad, but of course again had to leave disappointed. They weren't too happy with The Calvert Centre, and nor are we, as this goes against the grain of the 'Larkin with Toads' stated intention to make this a 'mass participation art event'. Ha, but The Calvert Centre wouldn't let us participate!

23. Hull Folk in Kingston Square in front of the Hull New Theatre.

24. Toad in the Hull is a rather lame pun perhaps, but a nevertheless impressive work in front of the Hull History Centre on Worship Street.

25. A delightful Lobelia Toad on the east side of Queen's Gardens.

26. And at the west side of the gardens, the Weather Rain or Shine.

27. Just a few feet from Weather Rain or Shine, one of my favorite toads: Harlequin, Mischievous Man of Mystery.

And after Harlequin, the other toads now leave the center and take up various positions around the city.

28. 10-5 Toad is just outside the entrance to Morrisons on Holderness Road, and quite an attraction with the local teenagers climbing all over it.

29. Not far from 10-5 Toad, in East Park Animal Education Centre, squats Cityscape. The education centre wasn't open at the time of my visit, but - unlike at The Calvert Centre - it was perfectly possible for me to see the toad and take a photo of it through the fence. No arguments here.

30. Also in east Hull, at the entrance to St Ambrose Court on the Bransholme estate, is the delightfully named Labyrinth on My Back.

31. Four toads are in close proximity to each other around the Anlaby Road area, this Topographical Toad being on Woodcock Street.

32. A few hundred yards away, on Hawthorne Avenue, is The Newington Toad, named after its creators from Newington Primary School.

33. The St George's Toad on St George's Road.

34. The Carnegie Toad faces the Carnegie Heritage Centre in West Park. I rather like the 'Read it Read it' pun on the sound toads make.

35. Hull Toad Poem on Princes Avenue.

36. My favorite of them all, Twinkle Toad on the Artlink Balcony on Princes Avenue. Artlink cheerfully lets the public enter to photograph the toad, which actually does sparkle electrically. Here again, Hull Citycare take note, it doesn't matter too much if the place is open or not, as the toad is clearly visible from the road.

37. Floral is in a lovely setting in Pearson Park, just a very short distance from where Larkin used to live on the road of the same name - Pearson Park.

38. Global Pop Toad is multicolored, and the toad that 'Larkin with Toads' features on its cover. It is in Cottingham Road, just inside the grounds of the University of Hull.

39. Magenta Toad is on Gibson Lane, Melton Business Park, as opposed to Melton village, from which we were re-directed by a lovely woman walking a dog. This is the most distant toad from the center of Hull, but surely one of the most arresting?

40. In the town of Beverley about seven miles from Hull is the final monster - Tannery Toad.

Really, though, instead of toadspotting, wouldn't I be better employed reading Larkin's books? No, of course not: Larkin said '[b]ooks are a load of crap.' As Larkin wasn't, er, averse to the French language, did he think that writers are just a load of crapauds?
How do the United States compare? Try Cherokee, North Carolina, and Aiken, South Carolina.

ADDENDUM: Below is a link to a 16-minute professional video clip about the Larkin toads project, plus my other links to Larkin.
Larkin with Toads

Philip Larkin and Coventry, Warwickshire
Philip Larkin in Newland Park, Hull
Philip Larkin in Cottingham Cemetery