Thursday, 3 November 2016

Under the Satirist's Eye: Christopher Anstey's Poetical Portrayal of Eighteenth-Century Bath (Thursday 24 November)

A change to our previously published programme brings eighteenth-century Bath into focus for our November lecture.

The New Bath Guide, 'a series of Poetical Epistles', was first published in 1766. Its gently satirical account of the adventures of the three naive children of a Northern squire in the fashionable city of Bath brought fame to the poet Christopher Anstey.

Anstey was born into a prosperous Cambridgeshire family in 1724. After Eton College and the University of Cambridge, where his talent as a Latin poet was recognised, he settled into the life of a country squire. In the 1760s he suffered depression and ill health and was advised to take the waters at Bath. In 1770 he settled with his family at No 4 Royal Crescent, where he lived for 35 years until his death in 1805.

Of the New Bath Guide Anstey himself wrote that it included 'particular and topical Bath references to give the flavour of the place and time' but that he intended it to be a 'critique of manners and morals' with wider application. He also published An Election Ball, in Poetical Letters from Mr Inkle at Bath to his Wife at Gloucester (1776) and various other works.

Our guide to the New Bath Guide and Christopher Anstey's amused and amusing observations of life in eighteenth-century Bath will be local historian Gavin Turner.

Civic Reception and Members' Christmas Buffet

2016 marks the ninetieth anniversary of the foundation of the Bath Branch of the Historical Association. Appropriately, our members' Christmas event, on Thursday 8 December, will begin in the Mayor's Parlour in the Guildhall, where we will be welcomed by the Mayor of Bath. Following this Civic Reception a festive buffet will take place in the Brunswick Room. The cost of reception and buffet is £20 per person. Members should seek further information from or 01225 812945.

Mike Short