The Country of White Clover.
London: Michael Joseph, 1952 (May 26). Drawings by Broom Lynne. Dedication: "To R.L.[Robert Lusty]"
With a title describing his adopted county of Kent, Bates explores some favorite topics of earlier essay collections: flowers, gardening, and country life. Like his columns collected in Country Life, he also touches on the English and Kentish character, the effects of the war and technological change, and expresses opinions about the work ethic in a welfare economy. Entertaining anecdotes about the trimming of trees on his property, the hiring of gardeners (including a reappearance of the character of Mr. Pimpkins from the 1943 O More Than Happy Countryman), and a village flower show flesh out the volume. In contrast to his other non-fiction volumes of essays on nature and rural life, the volume includes much about flowers and the changing of the seasons in France and Spain; these chapters, sometimes only tenuously related to the core topic of Kentish life, render the book more a compilation of unconnected essays than any of Bates's previous non-fictional works. Sections of some of the essays were published prior to book publication.
Richard Church lavishes praise on the book: "The author's love for Kent is profound, almost mystical. There is no contemporary writer more capable of putting such an emotion into simple, sensuous prose...So through the year and its seasons in this sea-belted county Mr. Bates lives with a full and appreciative joy and high discontent; grumbling, reveling, working and idling; then coming down to his art, to report the common adventure in terms of a prose that is as virile as the climate which engendered it."
The Spectator (July 4, 1952, p. 48, attached)
Times Literary Supplement (August 1, 1952, p. 503, Richard Church, attached)
Contains: Journey to Spring (published with title "Journey into Spring" in Woman's Journal, February 1952), The Country of White Clover, A Piece of England, Trees and Men (reprinted in The Atlantic in July 1956), Union Rustic, The Face of Summer (with a section seemingly based on a 1949 essay called "The Year's at the Spring" and also with sections published with title "Island of Flowers" in Woman's Journal, March 1952), Railway Flowers (published in 1949 in The Sunday Times and also published in part with the title "Night Light" in Woman's Journal, April 1952), The Show, All Summer in a Day, The New Hodge, Sea and September, The Turn of the Year (published in the Sunday Times in 1949). An paragraph concerning plane-trees was reprinted with the title "Hospitable Planes" in the Christian Science Monitor (September 10, 1953, p. 8).
|a74 Spectator.pdf||319.25 KB|
|a74 TLS.pdf||103.51 KB|