Although I had read his first book, Akenfield, in 1969 when it first came out, it's only recently that I came across Ronald Blythe again. And suddenly I can't get enough of him. I've just finished the history of his own house,
Bottengoms Farm, a yeoman's farm house in Wormingford, Suffolk ~ an absolute delight. At the front is this quotation from Thomas Hardy :
"Here is the ancient floor, footworn and hollowed and thin, here was
the former door where the dead feet walked in . . . " (from The Self-Unseeing).
I guess that in a modest way this is what I am trying to do here ~ recapture all those who have lived here over
the last 260 years, those who have gone before. Well, that is how this blog started out though my own life seems to have taken over to a fair degree ! I'll try to get back on track !
First, a few
of the plaudits from the cover of this latest book :
"Ronald Blythe is a literary national treasure and has spent a rich life among the artists and writers in Suffolk."
" . . . the finest
rural historian of our time . . ." Country Life
"He deduces even the irreligious reader into an appreciation of the meshing of the temporal and the timeless . . ." The Guardian
"In Wormingford, wonderful to relate, the Kilvert / Herbert herbert line of world-struck Anglican prose is still going strong . . ." The Independent
"In its gentleness and generosity it [his work] is
the perfect antidote to the strain of London life and cools the mind after anxiety-ridden days. In this it has the same welcome effect as the glorious novels of Alexander Mc Call Smith." The Spectator
Blythe has received numerous literary awards and in 2006 he was awarded the prestigious Benson Medal by the Royal Society of Literature in reognition of a lifetime's achievement. I only wish I had started reading him years ago.