Next to Nature: A Lifetime in the English Countryside
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It took me a little time to get used to his writing style and it would have been helpful to have footnotes relating to some of the biblical and literary references.
The melancholy ever-rolling stream of Time through dark old rooms, the tilting photographs of past incumbents in damp vestries, the melting ice in dank shrubberies, the unwanted (or possibly longed for) companion catching one up in the foggy lane, and history seen as a medieval box of fun holy tricks to poke about in, these were among the experiences of January.
I think Ronald Blythe is a genius in a special, but perhaps overlooked, journalistic genre – the nature notes or country talk columns. Mrs Woolf, wife of the manager, is a very celebrated author and, in her own way, more important than Galsworthy. I imagined him reading them by lamplight, just as I read when I was a boy, the twin wicks faintly waving inside the Swan glass. And no wonder, when he seems such wise and genial company, one of those rare souls who understands that "it takes an age to create one's own peerless dust and muddle.
James, Holst, Coleridge are still presences, death notwithstanding, but the fields grow ever emptier of people, the villages more and more separate from their surroundings - something Blythe laments, even while being old enough to be well aware of the privations that came with agricultural life as it used to be. I loved his descriptions of the land, birds, bugs, farm animals, neighbors and friends, weather, his trips and walks, subject matter of his preaching at the various churches, state of the farms by season, church celebrations, etc. We use Google Analytics to see what pages are most visited, and where in the world visitors are visiting from. There is, for example, the quotation from "Wuthering Heights":: "Hearing a climbing rose scratch against the window like Catherine Earnshaw's escape-me-never hand" - all very clever and cultured, but such endless quotations become very annoying, destroying the flow of the narrative.an expansive exploration of how land scapes, humans, and words interact, touched with great humanity.
Slightly Foxed brings back forgotten voices through its Slightly Foxed and Plain Foxed Editions, a series of beautifully produced little pocket hardback reissues of classic memoirs, all of them absorbing and highly individual.
Slightly Foxed introduces its readers to books that are no longer new and fashionable but have lasting appeal. he lives with a deep, authentic sense of wonder * TLS * Some of the most beautiful and precise prose in modern English . He makes the authors he loves feel like friends full of wisdom and warmth, kindred spirits through their words.