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The Wood (English Journeys) [Paperback]

John Stewart Collis
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

2 April 2009 English Journeys

An academic and writer, during the Second World War John Stewart Collis was put to agricultural work. Clearing and thinning an Ash wood, he found a meditative peace and an earnest pleasure in the use of axe and bill-hook. The Wood contains his beautiful, thoughtful writing on the joys of nature and of a life of activity, how a love of the sun affects a man, and the progression of nature that sees each plant - hawthorn, honeysuckle, larch, elder - have its hour.

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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Frequently Bought Together

The Wood (English Journeys) + The Worm Forgives the Plough (Vintage Classics) + The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot
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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (2 April 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141190809
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141190808
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 17.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 391,297 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

John Stewart Collis (1900-1984) was a writer whose books included biographies of George Bernard Shaw, Tolstoy and Christopher Columbus. He is best remembered for The Worm Forgives the Plough, from which The Wood is extracted

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

`In the company of flowers we know happiness. In the company of trees we are able to think'

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Inspirational Record 21 Dec 2012
Format:Paperback
I would not normally award 5 stars to such a short memoir, coming in at just over 100 pages, but this book so inspired me with its evocative insights into a year working within a wood that I resolved to find out more about the writer, the wood, and eventually to own a piece of woodland myself. Readers familiar with Collis's writing will be aware that "The Wood" can also be found as part of "The Worm Forgives the Plough" which combines three of Collis's most well known rural recollections whose story is told elsewhere
In The Wood, Collis describes how during World War 2 he was given the task of thinning an Ash Wood on Cranborne Chase in Dorset. He describes loosely the progress of the seasons and of his work, almost always alone except for his faithful dog Bindo. In his usual style Collis medidates on a theme and digresses into placing his thoughts in a wider context, just as metaphorically he sometimes looked out from the wood's edges into the wider world of the Chase beyond.
At the conclusion of his work, the wood's owner renames it "Collis Piece" in recogition of his work, an act that moved Collis enormously. (Readers may be interested to know that having failed to locate Collis Piece on any map I researched the background and I am pleased to say that after 60 years hidden in estate records I have seen the document thanks to the estate owners and that the name Collis Piece can be attached to the wood once again. The wood itself still thrives, and I can even see the large old oak tree under which I think Collis took his ease and shelter. The Wood is still very peaceful, sitting high on a Dorset Hill, and it is still possible to look out far over fields and countryside in all directions to distant horizons, and ponder just as Collis did, resting after a morning's work. I hope this small but beautiful book remains to inspire others, and is not lost to obscurity.
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