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One Green Field (English Journeys) [Paperback]

Edward Thomas
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

2 April 2009 English Journeys

These poetic and highly personal pieces describe Edward Thomas's wanderings through the English countryside, taking in meadows, farms, inns, maypoles, churches and wildlife. Whether exploring the Kent weald or the heart of England, describing a crisp winter morning or a heady August day, evoking the scent of honeysuckle or the primeval atmosphere of an ancient wood, Thomas brings the countryside alive through precise observation and vivid, lyrical prose.

Generations of inhabitants have helped shape the English countryside - but it has profoundly shaped us too.It has provoked a huge variety of responses from artists, writers, musicians and people who live and work on the land - as well as those who are travelling through it. English Journeys celebrates this long tradition with a series of twenty books on all aspects of the countryside, from stargazey pie and country churches, to man's relationship with nature and songs celebrating the patterns of the countryside (as well as ghosts and love-struck soldiers).

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Product details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (2 April 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141190914
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141190914
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 389,259 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Edward Thomas (1878-1917) was an English poet, journalist and essayist. He made his living writing prose for many years, until he was encouraged to compose verse by the American poet Robert Frost. This led to a prolific outburst of extraordinary poetry, which was brought to a tragic end when Thomas was killed in the First World War.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

`It would be as easy to step into the past as into this candid field, a withdrawn world with its own sun'

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A lost landscape and a lost author 12 July 2009
By Stewart M TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
One Green Field is a finely observed account of parts of the English landscape drawn from two books, both of which were published in 1906, "The South Country" and "The Heart of England". While the general locations of the areas described are given, the details remain hidden. In some ways the landscapes described become symbols for the whole English countryside - or at least the southern parts of it. The attention to detail is remarkable - ponds do not just contain fish, but carp and tench, fields and lanes are full of not just flowers, but herb-robert and such like, birds are sedge warblers and willow wrens. This is a prose poem to the diversity of the countryside.

But already the tides of change are moving through the landscape - with fields being given over to rabbits "until Londoners can be persuaded to build on it". But some features are seen as permanent and long lasting. This in itself is the greatest irony of the book. The author was killed in WW 1, swept away with much of his generation by the first industrial war, and the landscape he clearly loved was about to be swept away as well, by the industrialisation of the countryside. If he had survived the war he would have seen his landscape begin to die.

The only issue that I have here is that the chapters in this book that were drawn from "The Southern Country" are very different in tone, structure and length from the rest of the book. This is most marked in the chapter 14 - which is the second of the two chapters from "The South Country" - which seems to stand out from the rest of the book. It is markedly longer, more convoluted and at times downright obscure, which is in contrast to the rest of the material.

This is a beautiful and lyrical account of the English landscape, and it is well worth the effort of its sometimes dense and complex structure.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Appreciated for prose as well as poetry 6 Dec 2011
This is an attractive way of showcasing some of Thomas's 'Nature writing', now a subject of much interest, meriting the name 'Eco-critical writing.'
Thomas makes you see - he can live in the moment, managing his depression and frustration, even while earning the necessary crust by 'grinding out' words, millions of words over his lifetime.
The restful passages alternate with introspection , chance encounters with solitude - the essence of Thomas before, and leading towards, his poetry.

The only reservation I have is the choice of 'The South Country' rather than 'In Pursuit of Spring.' Some of its prose is pretty impenetrable, like his 'Oxford', and could be off-putting. It's also the kind of prose he himself criticised later. I think In Pursuit of Spring, as shown in the recent novel A Conscious Englishman, would have been more readable and relevant, as so much nearer his poetry.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Timeless impressions 18 Mar 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The subject matter is of especial appeal to me and the author's observations endure in the countryside to the discerning eye. The author's writings are new to me and at times I found his prose style a little hard to enjoy, though phrases and sentences come across unexpectedly illuminated the theme and observation. The lengthier chapters were the ones I enjoyed most.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
She has enjoyed it very much. I chose it for her because it linked with her revcent reading of books by Robert MacFarlane. Thomas is also, of course, an excellent poet.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 12 Aug 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A classic. Simple as that.
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