The Beautiful Years

Paperback, Zenith Books, revised edition, reprinted 1983.

Book condition: Fair.
Price: £2.00


The first volume in The Flax of Dream tetralogy.


The publisher’s blurb for the first edition (1921) states: ‘This is the first book of a very promising young writer. It is a subtle and penetrating study of childhood, the story of a wistful little boy, his timid and shrinking dealings with grown-ups, and his friendship for a little girl whom he idealises. The scene is laid in a remote part of the country away from ordinary life and influences, and the author reveals an understanding of children equal to that of Francis Thompson. Mr Williamson has a poet’s love of nature, and his descriptions of the changing seasons are curiously vivid and beautiful.’


The Beautiful Years was revised in 1929, and it is the text of this edition that has been used in all subsequent reprints. The publisher’s blurb for this edition states: ‘This is a new book, but at the same time an old one. The Beautiful Years was Mr Williamson’s first novel, as distinct from his studies of animal life. It has been out of print for some years, and, since the publication of The Pathway [in 1928], it has been revised by the author for this new edition. Mr Williamson came into his own with Tarka the Otter, which won the Hawthornden Prize for 1927, and The Pathway has established his reputation on a still wider basis. This new-old novel has therefore a peculiar interest. As a story of country life it displays the author’s powers in a field which no other contemporary writer is better equipped to describe.’


(For a further consideration of the book and the background to the writing of it, see Anne Williamson's The Beautiful Years.)