Next to Nature: A Lifetime in the English Countryside

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Next to Nature: A Lifetime in the English Countryside

Next to Nature: A Lifetime in the English Countryside

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In his 50s, Blythe wrote The View in Winter, a moving account of growing old which Collins feels is due a revival. “It’s a wonderful book, a very positive view of old age. He lives an incredibly contented life.” Collins helped his mentor “retire” in 2017 and began to manage his affairs after asking him about a pile of unpaid bills and receiving Blythe’s answer: “I’ve decided I’ve given them enough money over the years. I’m not giving them any more!” Hall, Peter (20 November 2004). "My Dirty Weekends". The Guardian. p.19 . Retrieved 11 August 2010. The eldest of six children, Blythe was born in Acton, near Lavenham, into a family of farm labourers rooted in rural Suffolk. His surname comes from the Blyth, a small Suffolk river, but his mother and her family were Londoners. His mother, Matilda (nee Elkins), a nurse, passed to him her love of books. Although Blythe left school at 14, by then he had already established a voracious reading habit – “never indoors, where one might be given something to do,” he remembered – which became his education. But the tree has a history parallel with my own in the wild garden and I sense that I am losing part of myself as the boughs fall…’ (Blythe, 2022) Blythe was a lay reader in the Church of England and a lay canon at St Edmundsbury Cathedral in Bury St Edmunds. [3] [26] He was a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature from 1970 [27] and was president of the John Clare Society from its foundation. [8] His book, At Helpston, is a series of essays on the poet John Clare. [13] Recognition [ edit ] Awards [ edit ]

Ronald Blythe at 100: ‘A watchful, curious and gratefully Ronald Blythe at 100: ‘A watchful, curious and gratefully

Blythe has long championed the poet John Clare, and there are similarities, as Olivia Laing observes, in Blythe’s “attentive and unsentimental” view of the countryside. When he writes about “gaudy” fields of borage, Blythe knows how it is harvested and where it will be sold. “A very Clare-like knowledge, this, obtained by the steady, perpetual listening that gave Akenfield its power,” Laing writes. Blythe said the idea for Akenfield (he took the name from the old English “acen” for acorn) arrived as he tramped the Suffolk fields pondering the anonymity of most farm labourers’ lives. His friend Richard Mabey remembers it being commissioned by Viking as the lead title for a short-lived series on village life around the world. After a stint living in Aldeburgh, recalled in an elegiac and characteristically discreet memoir, The Time by the Sea (2013), he moved to a cottage in Debach. In the mid-1960s, he was befriended by the American novelist Patricia Highsmith. “I admired her enormously. She was a very strange, mysterious woman. She was lesbian but at the same time she found men’s bodies beautiful,” he remembered. One evening, after a Paris literary do, they slept together; he told a friend they were both curious “to see how the other half did it”.So, a fuddy-duddy then; a man embedded in the old ways that he believes were best, uninterested in, and indeed, scathing about, life in the present. Yes? No. In 2006 Blythe was awarded a Benson Medal for lifelong achievement by the Royal Society of Literature, [28] and in 2015 he received an honorary degree from the University of Suffolk. [23] Doney, Malcolm. "Figure in a landscape" (requires subscription), Church Times, 2 November 2012. Retrieved 7 November 2012. A capacious work that contains multitudes . . . a work to amble through, seasonally, relishing the vivid dashes of colour and the precision and delicacy of the descriptions' THE SPECTATOR

Ronald Blythe - Wikipedia Ronald Blythe - Wikipedia

But, Blythe, who was awarded the CBE in 2017 for services to literature, stayed true to his original calling and his latest book, Next To Nature: A Lifetime in the English Countryside, published to mark his centenary, does tap into the visual aspect of his personality.The Guardian, "Ronald Blythe at 100: 'A watchful, curious and gratefully amazed vision of life'", 5 November 2022. Retrieved 18 November 2022.

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