The Great Level Summary Û 2

Stella Tillyard ¸ 2 Free download

The Great Level

Confront all that was lost there The Great Level is a dramatic and elemental story about two people whose differences draw them together then drive them apart Jan and Eliza’s journeys like the century they inhabit are filled with conflict hard graft and adventure – and see them searching for their own piece of solid groun Jan Brunt arrives in Norfolk to drain The Fens and increase the amount of arable land funded by Norfolk's famous son Oliver Cromwell In Norfolk he meets and starts a relationship with Eliza who later tells her story and becomes a three dimensional character on a page The story eventually moves to New Amsterdam where we find Jan a bit of a recluse still earning his way as an engineer I was fascinated by the story of draining The Fens as Norfolk is just north of Suffolk where I live The engineering and work involved in bending nature to human endeavour has always fascinated me and I wanted to find out about how you stop water from spreading in a low lying piece of land Ideally I would have loved a couple of maps one of Norfolk and one of New Amsterdam showing the difference between the modern day maps we are familiar with Those short comings aside this was a great book

Review The Great Level

It is here he meets Eliza whose love overturns his ordered vision and whose act of resistance forces him to see the world differently Jan flees to the New World where the spirit of avarice is raging and his skills as an engineer are prized Then one spring morning a boy delivers a note that prompts him to remember the Fens and Jan Brunt is a Dutchman who moves from the Netherlands to England to work on the drainage of the Fens around Ely Years later he's living in New Amsterdam and thinking back to his time in England in the 164os50s when the country was still in tumultuous times following the civil war I found this a little wordy at times and the story often moved slowly but it was beautifully written and an interesting story My only uibble is that the text was rather small and it felt a bit of a strain to read it

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‘I am an engineer and a measured man of the world I prefer to weigh everything in the balance to calculate and to plan Yet my own heart is going faster than I can now count’ In 1649 Jan Brunt a Dutchman arrives in England to work on draining and developing the Great Level an expanse of marsh in the heart of the fen country That is what I believed that time nibbles away at the future and in that moment puts the present behind its back The past retreats as each present moment joins it on and on Yet that is far too simple Inside us time sways backwards and forwards from now to then here to there and nothing of it is lost or goes away but it all hangs everywhere translucent in the air Some men turn away and walk on saying that the past contains only their former selves and ghosts of people and deeds Others like myself live every day with it One minute I am in Nieuw Amsterdam the next pulled on a string into the other time that comes with me so that here on the Heere Gracht or as I walk across the marketplace you and I talk Looking back is a game for fools and not one that I like to play It is 1664 Jan Brunt a reclusive Dutch bachelor and engineer lives in what will soon become New York When he receives a letter announcing the arrival of an old friend he looks back to the greatest professional and personal challenge of his life the first his work as an engineer on one of the greatest European development projects of the pre industrial age The Great Level a draining of five hundred suare miles of wetland in southeastern England and transformation of it into arable farmland The second the relationship he forms with a local woman while working on that vast endeavor the love of his life His story flips back and forth between these two periodsStella Tillyard image from BBC The Great Level is an historical novel of a time during an ongoing English Civil War when there was much turmoil and much change happening in the world It offers powerful portraits of significant places of the era London of the interregnum for example with surreptitious street vendors peddling images of a decapitated King Charles and a very visible military presence of the sort one might expect in an occupied country Another picture of what is now East Anglia shows its idyllic appeal as a natural place in which the residents fight no wars against the natural order that provides them their livelihoods and then later offers a dark view of the modernization the denaturing of the place with the use of hordes of slave laborers prisoners of war from England’s ongoing battles We get a look at 1664 New York well Niew Amsterdam Manatus Eylandt as the Dutch development of it grows northward when Wall Street was still a wall and the swampy edges of the island as well as many wet inland spots beckoned the real estate developers of the time and provided ample employment for an experienced Dutch engineer We witness its handover to the English who rename it for a crown favorite And we get a look at the Virginia of the time heavy with indentured labor not yet so heavy with slaves It appears that in the latter 17th century every place is in need of draining and conversion of wet land at the edges of solid land is de rigeur for the advancement of certain sorts of civilization regardless of how that land provided for the residents who are regarded as primitives whether they are English fenlanders or Native Americans Colonialism both at home and abroad reuires denigration of the displaced residents The fens image from The GuardianEliza is one such During his early paddling through the vast area to be redesigned in The Great Level Jan comes across a group of local women bathing One disrobes as he draws near unaware Virginal Janny is shocked So I see her as I have never seen a woman her whole nakedness half in my plain sight half reflected in the water And in the same instant or so it feels she lifts her head and sees me there Her furious eyes strip me of everything and make me as naked as he


About the Author: Stella Tillyard

Stella Tillyard is a British novelist and historian She was educated at Oxford and Harvard Universities and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston Her bestselling book Aristocrats was made into a miniseries for BBCMasterpiece Theatre and sold to over twenty countries Winner The Great Epub / of the Meilleur Livre Etranger the Longman History Today Prize and the Fawcett Prize Tillyard has taught at.


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