The Henry Williamson Society

Henry Williamson: A Portrait

Henry Williamson: A Portrait

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Product Information

by Daniel Farson. Paperback, Robinson Publishing, revised edition, 1986
Book condition: reasonable.

The publisher's blurb from the hardback edition reads: 'On 1 December 1975, Henry Williamson – author of the great nature classic, Tarka the Otter, and of two remarkable sagas ("The Flax of Dream" and "A Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight") which gained the highest critical acclaim – celebrated his eightieth birthday. In normal circumstances such an anniversary would have merited public recognition, even a public honour: Williamson received none.

'No English writer of his status has been so ignored. Why? The answer is simple: in the 1930s he was a supporter of Sir Oswald Mosley, and in the foreword to one of his books he had written, "I salute the great man across the Rhine . . ." In the public mind he was branded a Fascist and an admirer of Adolf Hitler; and he has never been forgiven.

'In this personal memoir, author and journalist Daniel Farson, who knew Williamson from childhood, looks at the man and the myth. He examines the notorious admiration for Hitler but concludes that, far from being a traitor, Henry Williamson was in his own way a patriot. It was his naive belief in "the ordinary soldier", whom he had encountered in the First World War (particularly in the Christmas Day Truce of 1914), that led him to support the Germans. Henry would have defended his native soil to the death had the enemy invaded.

'Daniel Farson looks too at Williamson's personal life, his difficult relationships with family and friends, seeing his continuous irascibility as the artist's determination to put his art before all else.

'Cantankerous, frustrated, a "collector of grievances", Williamson was undoubtedly a difficult man, above all for those who loved him. But in his work he showed a great compassion, capturing the anguish of war or of first love with rare perception and writing of the English countryside with an almost visionary tenderness.

'Drawing on his own memories and those of a wide range of Williamson's distinguished contemporaries and friends, Daniel Farson looks beyond the prejudice and controversy surrounding this lonely genius in a moving and sensitive portrayal of one of the greatest English writers of this century.'

Product CodeMW167

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