reading · Robert Francis Kilvert

Mid-October Reading

Robert Francis Kilvert, (..) fills his diary with enthusiastic descriptions of sunsets, views, ruined churches, flowers, animals, birds. (..) But he is at his best when describing the daily round, the common task: baptizing babies, chasing birds out of the church, planting lettuces“, writes Margaret Drabble (in A Writers’ Britain), and I’m thinking this is something I have to get my hands on as soon as possible.

Reading about the common, everyday life is distinctly interesting – it doesn’t matter if it’s an account of a contemporary, fellow human being living in a similar circumstances, or one of a person who belonged to another era and led a life on another continent; it’s always about the pleasure of discovering what ‘small things’ people find delight and fulfillment in. It’s, also, about the pleasure of appreciating a well-written anecdote, a well-expressed observation or nuance of a feeling.

I first found out about Kilvert’s diaries through Howard’s End is on the Landing:

“(..) it is so carefully composed and the descriptions of the country, the seasons, the weather, the daily round of a clergyman, are set down with an exactness and a poetic touch that are unusual in a very private diary. There is probably no better place to go, than these beautiful diaries, to discover the countryside of the Black Mountains and the life of the people there, in remote villages and farms, as it was in the nineteenth century.”

I made a note to find the book, but never got to it. Drabble’s recommendation, however, found me not only at the right time but in the right mood as well.

So, on to the Diaries! Let the Readathon begin!


9 thoughts on “Mid-October Reading

  1. Never heard of Kilvert’s Diary but added it to my wish list now, the amount of money blogging costs me is crazy but it is all in a good cause, making me fulfilled with words! It’s a good thing my friend, missed you!

    1. Hi Steve! It is good to hear from you and I am surely glad to be back.
      I hope I will establish some kind of regularity again – there are things that are taking almost all of my time now, but, soon it will all fall in its place..
      I am heading over to your blog – it’s been awhile!

      1. It will be awesome to have you back regularly but I am happy with any time we get to converse, life does tend to get in the way of conversing a bit too much I find. I looked for Kilvert’s Diary the other day but didn’t find it which is typical.

        1. I found it somewhere on the internet and I’m reading it on Kindle..
          But I just saw that there’s a Vintage classics edition with a pretty winter themed cover.. And it goes to my wish-list..

          I am not sure whether one finding a wanted book immediately is better than finding it after a while.. The first scenario has its obvious, strong points but the second one can be as rewarding. Only remember the joy of stumbling upon a book you forgot about because you thought the chances of finding it were next to zero!

          1. My mind is so dense, I worry I pass by the hundreds of books that I want without remembering, I lead a tortured life sometimes. You’re right of course, the thrill is in the chase and I have stamina!

  2. So, how did the Readathon go? :) Have never heard of Kilvert, nor his diaries too, but my interest is piqued now. “…. it’s always about the pleasure of discovering in what ‘small things’ people find delight and fulfillment. It’s, also, about the pleasure of appreciating a well written anecdote, a well expressed observation or nuance of a feeling…..” Love this, beautifully said!
    Yeah, good to have you back….. you’ve been missed. :)

    1. I haven’t really had much time to read because it was unusually busy, working Saturday. I was a bit sad about not having it all only for the reading, but, as we all know, things sometimes happen..
      I picked “Diaries” because entries are short and self-contained so one could plunge in as often as one wants (or, as often as one can).
      I am still reading it. Some entries are delightful, some not as much.. All in all, I am enjoying and I will be writing little bits about them in the days to come.
      I missed being here! And I missed visiting your blog as well. :)
      I’m still a bit busy, but I hope I will be more regular than I were these past three months.

      1. Diaries (and letters) are indeed a good choice for dipping in and out according to one’s time constraint and mood. I found a pdf version of the Diaries, so might take a peek at it one of these days too. :) Yes, it would be great to have you back here more often. Meantime, I guess I will just have to ‘entertain’ myself by rummaging through your archives here while you battle out your busy-ness (or business?) over there. ;)

        1. Uh, sometimes when I’m rummaging I get a wish to delete most because they seem so childish or empty..
          I still have a lot of work to do, but Thursday will be a day to relax – perfect for writing e-mails! :)

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