Reading and mapping Swallows and Amazons in the digital age

From The Nexus:IRCHSS-2016

On July 24 this year, the new film adaptation of Arthur Ransome’s children’s classic Swallows and Amazons (first published in 1930, and set in summer 1929) had its world premiere at the Theatre by the Lake in Keswick, one of the more frequently-visited towns in the Lake District National Park.
The film, like the book on which it’s based, tells the story of the four Walker children – John, Susan, Titty (renamed Tatty in the film) and Roger – and their adventures on and around a Cumbrian lake. The film’s director, Philippa Lowthorpe, was drawn to the project because Ransome’s book is about ‘getting out into the world of your own imagination’. She is also ‘aware of how childhood now revolves around screens, sitting on your bottoms and being indoors. There’s very little time for adventure’.
That is the tension at the heart of this film: it is an indoor activity about the wonders of the outside world, as seen through children’s eyes. There’s an irony, then, in using a screen to represent the Walker children’s Lakeland exploits; it encourages children to stay inside to access the outside.
The same irony is not true of the book. Books can be taken outside – in fact, for the Walker children, books seem to belong outside…