Ia, a Love Story

The new Preacher was young, and had a smile that seemed younger still. His hair was yellow, with a ripple in it; his eyes were of a bright blue; his eyebrows and lashes quite dark. Elder Carbines took to him at once. “You’m welcome as flowers in May,” said he, and shook hands. “Ia, dust a chair for the Preacher.”
From Chapter I of Ia, a Love Story
Ia and Paul take each others' hands in the stream

Ia, a Love Story is a novella based in Penwith, the most south-westerly point in Britain. It was published in 1896 and shows Q turning away from adventure and humour to explore character and the deeper theme of a young girl who loves a man of higher social station whom she ultimately rejects because of the love she bears for her son.

In this section you can find a summary of the events found in each chapter. There is also a map showing the locations in which the story is set.

You can read more about Ia in the accompanying study, which investigates literary method and technique. The study explores how Q combined Romantic vision with a family tradition of empiricism. Although the novella is superficially based on the Hayle – St Ives area, the locations, the characters and the events are imaginative constructs. Q believed that only through the imagination can the eternal verities of human existence be understood.

The resources in this section and the study were both first published as an article ‘A Study Guide to Ia by Arthur Quiller-Couch’ by Andrew Symons in the Royal Institution of Cornwall Journal in 2008. The material is re-published here with their permission and, like the rest of this site, is intended to provide the groundwork for further study.

If you would like to read Ia for yourself, it is available online on the Internet Archive site