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The Dark Lantern [Paperback]

Henry Williamson

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Book Description

20 May 2010

The Dark Lantern (1951) was the first of Henry Williamson's fifteen-volume A Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight spanning the years from the late Victorian period to the Second World War. In it we meet Richard Maddison, a countryman working in London as a City clerk, struggling to make do on a few shillings a week. He falls for Hetty Turner, youngest daughter of a prosperous merchant, but her father rates Richard an unsuitable suitor.

'There is magic in Henry Williamson's novel . . . which raises it right out of the family saga class. The magic is of the steam train age of South London which is so lovingly described.' John Betjeman, Daily Telegraph

'Williamson's style is romantic, though rarely sentimental, and his sensuous response to nature is fresh and surprising.' Anthony Burgess, Ninety-Nine Novels: The Best in English since 1939

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About the Author

Henry Williamson (1895-1977) was a prolific writer best known for Tarka the Otter which won the Hawthornden Prize in 1927. He wrote much of else of quality including The Wet Flanders Plain, The Flax of Dream tetralogy and the fifteen volume A Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight all of which are being reissued in Faber Finds.His politics were unfortunate, naively and misguidedly right-wing. In truth, he was a Romantic. The critic George Painter famously said of him, 'He stands at the end of the line of Blake, Shelley and Jefferies: he is last classic and the last romantic.'

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5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant evocation of Edwardian England 18 April 2014
By Anthony Ingram - Published on
Thankyou, Faber & Faber, for republishing all fifteen volumes of this neglected masterpiece, A Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight. Surely it must rank as highly as Powell's great A Dance To The Music of Time? Probably above it. This opening volume, just on its own, is sufficient to show Williamson's range and subtlety as a novelist. He combines profound evocation of time and place, with subtle drawing of character and strong narrative style. And not only that, but his characters, and the events, good and bad, that they find themselves in, and weave themselves, are universal. Who cannot cringe - and feel pity - for the hesitancy and distance, despite their love, between Richard and Hetty, or the goodness of Dora or Susan. If anyone has enjoyed A Dance To The Music of Time, then they should also enjoy this. If anyone wishes to be swept away in a masterful narrative spanning fifteen volumes, this also is a great find. Highly recommended.
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