The Dream of Fair Women

Hardback, Faber, revised edition, reprint 1933.

Book condition: lacking dust wrapper, otherwise fair.
Price: £5.00


The third volume in The Flax of Dream tetralogy.


The first edition (1924) bears the sub-title, not repeated in subsequent editions, of A Tale of Youth after the Great War, and the publisher’s blurb states: ‘This is essentially a story of youth. The central character is a young, poor ex-officer who falls passionately in love with the beautiful wife of his friend. Though the theme is tragic, the book is never sombre or depressing. It is absolutely true to life, and reflects the troublous and agitated spiritual atmosphere of the post war period. Mr Williamson as he showed in his two beautiful books of nature stories and studies, Lone Swallows and The Peregrine’s Saga, is an unrivalled nature writer. The scene of the first part of the book is one of the loveliest parts of the Devon coast, and Mr Williamson describes its beauties, and many bird and animal characters with the creative precision of a poet.’


The Dream of Fair Women was rewritten in 1931, and it is the text of this edition that has been used in all subsequent reprints. The publisher’s blurb for this edition states (as is the first edition had never existed): ‘Written in the autumn of 1930, in New York City, this is a story of romantic passion, and of its inevitable consequences. Readers of the famous The Pathway have been awaiting The Dream of Fair Women for nearly three years. Mr Williamson’s talent has developed meanwhile.


‘The book is exciting and dramatic, and progresses through scene after scene – both on the beautiful coast of North Devon and at the seaside town of Folkestone – until the inevitable conclusion of the affair between William Maddison and Evelyn Fairfax, the beautiful young married woman who is attractive to many men.’


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