In The Road to Wigan Pier, Orwell speaks about ‘a cult of Northernness’ and holds up Northerners as real-life embodiments of ‘pluck’, ‘grit’, ‘stubbornness’ and ‘warm-heartedness.’ This is the way that the North of England has been imagined by writers for decades – as an anomalous zone, both attached to its surroundings and yet peculiarly set...
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