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The Country Diaries: A Year in the British…

The Country Diaries: A Year in the British Countryside (edição: 2009)

de Alan Taylor (Editor)

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333575,842 (4.13)3
This treasury gathers together excerpts from diaries across the generations to paint a rich and surprising picture of a landscape and a way of life we think we know so well.
Título:The Country Diaries: A Year in the British Countryside
Autores:Alan Taylor (Editor)
Informação:Canongate Books Ltd (2009), Edition: Main, 384 pages
Coleções:Non Fiction, Sua biblioteca, History

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The Country Diaries: A Year in the British Countryside de Alan Taylor


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The country diaries. A year in the British countryside is an anthology of diary writing with special focus on the British countryside. Although the idea is very appealing, the resulting book is aenemic and of little interest.

In The country diaries. A year in the British countryside, Alan Taylor, editor of the Scottish Review of Books, brings together fragments from diaries of 81 different British authors, from the early and mid-1700s till the present day. The book itself also has the structure of a diary. There are entries for every day, and every month, throughout the year. Some entries are very short, a matter of lines, while other entries take up more than a page. For some days, only one (short) entry is given, while for other days, multiple entries are given by different authors from different times in history.

In the introduction, Taylor explains why the book was written. As an editor, Alan F. Taylor has copiled at least two other anthologies of this type: The Assassin's Cloak: An Anthology of the World's Greatest Diarists and The Secret Annexe: An Anthology of the World's Greatest War Diarists. Having grown up in the countryside near Edinburgh, Mr Taylor has a strong feeling for the countyside and the assault on the countryside by project developers, urbanization, and the decline of farming as a profession, threatening the countryside as we know it are some of his concerns.

The introduction does not explain how Mr Taylor compiled the book, or what his considerations were in selecting fragments. From reading an initial 50 to 80 pages into the book, it quickly becomes clear that all major diarists known for writing about the countryside are represented, notably Dorothy Wordsworth and Gilbert White. Less well-known diarists, whose diaries were only published during the past two decades, such as Denton Welch and John Fowles are also presented. These were all writers, and they particularly wrote about the natural beauty of the British countryside. However, with a total number of 81 different diarists, and many of these having only one or two entries, one wonders what other criteria the editor had.

It is likely the editor compiled a list of key words for the countryside, and it seems his list must have included words such as animals, life and death, hunting, natural history, etc. Whether or not the word "farming" was included is not very clear. Perhaps British farmers did not write diaries, at least they seem to be underrepresented. Among the contemporary writers, Mr Taylor has selected several authors who have tried to protect the British countryside. It is obvious that some of his choices, as could also be seen from the introduction, are political rather than literary or aesthetic.

There are diarists from the last four centuries. James Woodforde (1740 - 1803) was a vicar and many of his diary entries are about burials. Siegfried Sassoon is often selected to write about hunting. Various farm animals make their appearances, sheep, horses, cows, etc. and of wilde life particularly hearing the cuckoo or chiffchaff in spring, or finding spiders in the bathroom gives the quitessential feeling of life in the countryside.

However, The country diaries. A year in the British countryside is not very enticing. Thoughts wander while reading, and the book seems to make little sense. Usually, a diary gives a sense of place or a sense of personality, or both, but this book is too fragmented. Paradoxically, the British countryside is not any particular place, and the choice of fragments by so many authors over a period of 400 years, means there is no particular period of reference. No unity of place, and no unity of time.

On the other hand, The country diaries. A year in the British countryside introduces many different authors and their diary writing to the reader. At the end of the book, the book includes a list of short biographies for each diarist, a bibliography to locate editions of their published diaries, and a register, to look up entries for each author in this volume. ( )
1 vote edwinbcn | Feb 13, 2016 |
This is the third collection of Diaries which are edited by Alan Taylor to the same format. This one deals with Country matters and as with the other two volumes is spread over the whole year but with entries from many different years. They vary from the 1700's to 2000 plus.
As well as the usual diarists such as Gilbert White,Francis Kilvert and the like,we have a large number of less well known writers who are on the whole amusing and informative by turn.
The book is rounded off with short biographies of the Diarists and with details of their Diaries for those who wish to follow through and to go deeper into the works of particular writers.
There are just too many possible sections that I could quote from,but one sentence I really would like to pass on -'All diaries are greedily sought for,let them be ever so ill and foolishly written,as coming warm from the heart ;' - John Byng wrote in 1782. Warm from the heart,what a lovely term,and so right. ( )
  devenish | Sep 3, 2010 |
19 Dec 2009 - Borders

A lovely book which I think I'd seen advertised and put on the wish list - and there it was for a small amount of money in poor old Borders, in their big sale when they closed down.

This is a charming read - basically Taylor takes a load of country diary writers from the 1600s through to the 2000s and includes one or more entries, in chronological order, for each day of the year. So we see some people battling with snow, others seeing spring, on the same day, and we also follow various diarists such as Gilbert White and Francis Kilvert, pretty well through the whole year, while others are more spread out or only appear once or twice. Some moving, some a bit yucky (Kilvert was a bit naughtier than I imagined) and some describing the countryside very lyrically - but all are of interest and I'm considering reading this again through a whole year one day. Lovely woodcuts on the cover and for each month, too, and useful biographies at the end (which I wish I'd noticed when I started the book) ( )
  LyzzyBee | Apr 26, 2010 |
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This treasury gathers together excerpts from diaries across the generations to paint a rich and surprising picture of a landscape and a way of life we think we know so well.

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Canongate Books

2 edições deste livro foram publicadas por Canongate Books.

Edições: 1847673236, 1847673260

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