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The pandemic

Lockdown has made me a romantic

Historica Graphica Collection/Heritage Images/Getty Images

Thanks to lockdown, we’re on track for a new Romantic Age, says Laura Freeman in The Times. After a year stuck inside, our hobbies are looking decidedly more rural – from beekeeping to chicken-cooping, foraging to flower-pressing, wild swimming to cucumber pickling. It’s hit Gen Z as well. The “cottagecore” trend has swept TikTok – teenagers post videos of themselves knitting, baking and frolicking in fields. The hashtag #cottagecore has been viewed more than 6.3 billion times. Even baby names are earthier, as a generation of little Lunas, Daisies, Irises and Willows emerge.

Better still, lockdown has reignited our love of all things English. It’s not the first time this has happened. Before the Second World War, artists and writers saw Paris as the pinnacle of creativity, but when they were “cut off from the Continent”, their creative reference points became more local. “Horizons might have narrowed, but for Virginia Woolf and TS Eliot, Paul Nash and Edward Bawden, John Betjeman and John Piper there was infinite inspiration in England’s byways, lanes and village greens.” We’re seeing the same thing now, and the results will be wonderful. After all, England is deceptive, wrote the author JB Priestley. “The magic starts in the astonishing difference between the geographical size of England and her real size. She is just pretending to be small.” 

Read the full article here (paywall).