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And if nothing else, it is nice to see the word equinoctial used in a sentence. Blythe does seem like a fine writer indeed.

I tried to find Blythe's fiction in a local library--either in Memphis or N. Mississippi--when you talked about him before, but there's nothing. I'll probably try interlibrary loan after I do all the reading I need to do for my posts, which is a LOT, because I think I would really like them.


I'm extremely busy today but chiming in just to say that Blythe is indeed great, and I'm envious of paragraphs like the ones Rob quotes. Janet, if you haven't read any of the Wormingford stuff, I think I can safely promise that you'll like it.

Do you have any of it?


It doesn't matter anyway because I'm up to my neck in Dean Koontz books, and it's the goal of my life to convince Rob that they are more than just potboilers. ;-)


Hi Maclin. OT - please put me down for April 12 for a contribution to 52 Authors. I don't yet know which one I will submit first.

"What you find in Blythe is a rare combination of literary erudition, keen observational skills regarding both men and nature, and a sort of peaceful piety that borders on the devotional."

Sounds delightful!

I lived for a year in a little English village with a Norman church. Your descriptions of Blythe sound like a more literary version of the (CofE) parish newsletter there. Off to the library!

That's really what his Wormingford journal books are like. Well, for that matter, that's more or less what they are--a weekly column for the Church Times. He's got me thinking about reviving the Sunday Night Journal.

Here are a couple of interesting articles about Blythe, both from the Telegraph:

In Conversation.

At the Yeoman's House.

Glad he got you thinking about bringing back your Sunday Night Journal pieces; I miss them.

I read another article on Blythe somewhere a while ago that said a recent biography of Patricia Highsmith (the Ripley novels) revealed that he had a close friendship with her. Surprised the heck out of me. His writing is so full of light, and hers so very dark, if not downright evil.

Thank you. If I were to start it up again, it would be more of a journal, and less a series of short essays.

I only vaguely recognized Highsmith's name, but having read the Wikipedia entry, yeah, I'm surprised, too.

I think that Blythe may actually have been "involved" with Highsmith, but if I remember correctly it was quite a while back. Not sure if they remained friends subsequently. I get the impression that RB was a bit of a bohemian when he was in his 20s and 30s.

By the way there are loads of inexpensive copies of both 'Word from Wormingford' and 'Akenfield' on bookfinder.com. Many of his other books as well.

It's not at all surprising that RB would have been a bit wild in his youth. And judging by those pics of Highsmith in her younger days on the Wikipedia page, I can easily see why he could have gotten "involved." But unless he had a pretty radical turnaround at some point, seems like that would have been a peculiar relationship. Well, sounds like any relationship with her would have been peculiar.

Many happy returns to Ronald Blythe, who celebrated his 97th birthday yesterday!

On a sad note Jeffrey Bilbro reports that Louisiana novelist Ernest Gaines has died. I've read only two of his books, A Lesson Before Dying and A Gathering of Old Men, but liked both very much, especially the latter.


I saw his death mentioned here and there yesterday and couldn't quite place him. Haven't read anything by him as far as I recall, but sounds worth pursuing.

Yes, happy birthday to Blythe, and though I bought it several years ago I still haven't read Akenfield....

I see Blythe wrote A View in Winter: Reflections on Old Age 40 years ago when he was 57. I wonder if he laughs now when he looks at that book.

I also see that our library system has Akenfield, so I have put it in hold.


57?!? ha!

I'm pretty sure that that book was based on conversations Blythe had had with the elderly, not with his own experience!

Oh, ok, that makes more sense.

But then sixty was definitely considered old not so long ago.

True. That book was written in the 70's so at 57 one would have been at least approaching "old age." And if I remember correctly that book was prompted by his reflections on the aging and deaths of his friends the artist John Nash and his wife, who were considerably older than Blythe.

Victor Hugo said "Fifty is the youth of old age." Of course that was well before Blythe's time.

I just read some bits and pieces of The View in Winter at Google Books. Love this: "What does it feel like to be nearly a hundred years old?" the shepherd's widow was asked. She was stout and sane. "Well, you wake up in the morning, you say to yourself, 'What, still here!' and then you make the tea."


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