The English Village: A Literary Study, 1750-1850

The English Village: A Literary Study, 1750-1850

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The English Village: A Literary Study, 1750-1850

The English Village: A Literary Study, 1750-1850

Read FREE!

Excerpt

When all the world is in the turmoil and distress of war, it may appear a petty self-indulgence for one to go wandering about among the pleasant and retired paths of rural villages, seeking one's ease in

"country places Where the old plain men have rosy faces,"

hearing unlettered but keen and wise old peasant folk tell tales of life and of superstitious fancy, looking on at village festivals, and sharing in all the joys of Arcadia. "What has all this to do with the war?" demands the Conscientious Objector of Mr. Crothers at the close of a delightful but very peaceful essay. Mr. Crothers meets the Objector fairly, recognizing in the imperative question the challenge of a world absorbed in a single all-consuming interest.

But the English village has a very great deal to do with the war. For remote as the sleepy stillness of village life is, in ordinary times, from the hurry of active affairs, there is not one among the most distant and old-world of English villages but has been stirred out of its quiet by the great war. The villagers of England have been swept into the mid-current of national life by the events of the past four years. They have taken a splendid part in the great struggle, and their interests and concerns have in turn become in a new sense those of all England. For a century and a half certain great problems of village life have been growing in seriousness, and pressing with more and more insistence for attention and solution. It is inconceivable that after the war these problems should continue long unsolved.

Literature has given to these more serious phases of village life an attention, not equal, indeed, to that bestowed upon its idyllic aspects, but yet fairly continuous and sympathetic. English prose and poetry for the cen-

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