The true university these days is a collection of books.
-Thomas Carlyle

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Rural and Pastoral Novels

I first saw this film many years ago. Made in 1987 it stars a young Colin Firth and Kenneth Branagh and is set in the English Countryside in 1919 during one balmy summer. I have seen it a few times since and I have always loved it. So much so that I have found myself recommending it twice in the last two weeks.
Then, (how is this for a coincidence), I was in Waterstones in Southport at the weekend, and they were promoting books about the British Countryside and there was the novel of the same name by J L Carr. It was the last copy left on the display so I snapped it up and can't wait to read it.
Apparently the film has been quite scarce in recent years and there is a website dedicated to reviving A Month in the Country on DVD.
Anyway, it got me thinking about how much I love stories set in the British Countryside, 'Far from the Madding Crowd' so to speak. I can be a bit of a country bumpkin and totally buy into the nostalgia of it.
Here are some of my favourites...
Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
Precious Bane by Mary Webb (my all time favourite book)
Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks
Middlemarch by George Eliot
Cousin Phyllis by Elizabeth Gaskell
and numerous Catherine Cookson's from my youth.
On my TBR pile I have...
The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
The Woodlanders by Thomas Hardy
Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell
and now A Month in the Country by J L Carr.
Do you have any favourite pastoral novels?

1 comment:

George said...

In Consequences by Penelope Lively the action and characters return frequently, over decades, to a simple but idyllic cottage in the West Country, which stays in the mind.

Outside Britain you can't beat the novels and stories of Wendell Berry, set in rural Kentucky. Brilliant and moving.


Hay on Wye

Hay on Wye