Titchfield Street

 

“The parish of Titchfield, containing 4,826 acres, of which 45 are covered by water, is situated to the south-west of the county, about 2 miles from the Solent. There are 1,491 acres of arable land, 1,239 of pasture, and 811 of woodland… The River Meon forms the eastern limit of the town, and though now a small stream, was formerly a tidal harbour, for in the beginning of the seventeenth century Titchfield was a port” (Parishes).

fig127

It is interesting that the area of Titchfield even then was a place of meeting. There are multiple parallels I see between the historical functions of the Titchfield parish and the Titchfield Street De Quincey illustrates in his Confessions of an English Opium-Eater. As a port, it is a destination for travelers much the same way it was a destination for De Quincey and Ann. Ports bring in people from different parts of the world and invites and exchange of cultures like how De Quincey comes from a higher class and intermingles with Ann within the setting of Titchfield Street and the bustling city. Also, the rivers that surround the town seem to mimic the way the streets of Soho and Marlebone surround Titchfield Street and help move people along. This idea of the river as a means of motion and symbol of progression can be seen in T. S. Eliot’s poem “The Waste Land” in which he says, “Sweet Thames, run softly till I end my song. / The river bears no empty bottles, sandwich papers, / Silk handkerchiefs, cardboard boxes, cigarette ends, / Or other testimony of summer nights… / Sweet Thames, run softly till I end my song ” (176-182). There is an irresistible pushing of time and force sourced in the rivers near London. Perhaps it is a commentary on the immortality of nature, as though nature never truly stops; it simply recreates and reroutes itself.

 

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