Basil Bunting: Briggflatts

(1338 words)
  • Glyn Pursglove (University of Wales, Swansea)

Briggflatts takes its name from a Quaker community and meeting house (dating from 1675), which Bunting first visited as early as 1912/13 as a schoolboy at Ackworth, a Quaker boarding-school in Yorkshire. The family home of a new schoolfriend, John Allen Greenbank, was at Briggflatts and Bunting was soon a visitor there, meeting Greenbank's family, including his sister Peggy. Bunting fell in love with Peggy. She and Briggflatts were to remain important presences in Bunting's mind for the rest of his life and were, in a sense, the 'occasion' of his masterpiece.

The poem is subtitled “An Autobiography” (and carries the dedication “For Peggy”); Bunting's notes comment on the subtitle: “AN AUTOBIOGRAPH…

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Pursglove, Glyn. "Briggflatts". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 March 2002
[, accessed 26 November 2015.]