A Shadowed Man: Henry Williamson, 1895-1977

by Lois Lamplugh. Paperback, Wellspring, 1990; first edition, Foreword by Richard Williamson, illustrated.



Book condition: spine creased, as is usual, but not broken, otherwise a very nice copy of this early biography.
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Price: £10.00
Description

 

This unauthorised biography proved a useful introduction to the life of Henry Williamson in the years before the appearance, in 1995, of Anne Williamson's definitive biography, Henry Williamson: Tarka and the Last Romantic; and it remains so, despite some gaps (the First World War is scarcely covered) and inaccuracies. The publisher's blurb on the back cover of this first edition reads: 'Who was Henry Williamson? Sometimes referred to simply as the author of Tarka the Otter, he published some fifty books – not only other novels and collections of stories about animals, birds and countryside, but two long novel sequences, the four-volume The Flax of Dream and the fifteen-volume A Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight.

 

'By birth a Londoner, he loved Devon from his youth, and chose to live there from 1921 until his death in 1977, apart from an interlude just before and during the Second World War when he farmed in Norfolk.

 

'A self-styled chameleon, he was a complex character. Perpetually haunted by his experiences in the First World War, he possessed a personality distinguished by contradictions and contrasts. A joyful man, he could often be profoundly unhappy. Prone to make enemies, he could be a loyal friend. A talkative and gregarious man, he frequently sought solitude, and eventually became very lonely. A jester, sometimes a baffoon [sic], he was also an intensely serious artist.

 

'Lois Lamplugh, who grew up in Georgeham, the village in which Henry Williamson wrote not only the first half dozen of his novels and a large number of nature stories, but also the many novels of his later years, here offers a perceptive exploration of the life of this mercurial, volatile and restless writer, whose love and knowledge of the natural world, and of Devon, irradiates his work. A number of letters casting light on significant moments in his idiosyncratic personal saga are included.'