Aldington in Berkshire

Former NCLSN editor David Wilkinson published last year The Death of a Hero:
The Quest for First World War Poet Richard Aldington’s Berkshire Retreat.

Aldington biographer Vivien Whelpton wrote the following about Wilkinson’s book:

I have read your manuscript with fascination, delight and awe. I knew of its existence and was familiar with some of the material [but] most of it is a revelation. And I so admire the imagination, ingenuity and determination with which you went about your quest, as well as the warmth and sympathy with which it is written. How fortunate for Aldington scholarship that it was YOU who moved into Malthouse Cottage – and that you did so WHEN you did. . . . The most fascinating aspect of it for me is the revelation that Aldington is a novelist in the Thomas Hardy mould – particularly in ‘The Colonel’s Daughter’, ‘Women Must Work’ and some of the stories. I can’t think of any other novelist whose work is so closely modeled on people, places and events around him. How interesting to discover that even a character like ‘Coz’ is taken from life.’ . . . One of my favourite chapters is ‘The Village’. I really liked the way you used Jessie Capper’s journal to structure that chapter. I got such a strong sense of the village as it was – and of your own love of it. And the way you follow Aldington and T S Eliot’s walk in the third chapter had already given me a strong ‘visual’ sense of the place. . . . There is so much warmth and humour in your story – and some lovely anecdotes.

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One Reply to “Aldington in Berkshire”

  1. It’s wonderful to see this book in print and noticed here! Encouraged by Norman Gates, whom I first met in Princeton in the summer of 1987, I began to discuss RA in Berkshire with David in transatlantic letters (such was the way of scholars 30 years ago… though it’s difficult to imagine that 30 years have passed so quickly!) I met David on a visit to Malthouse Cottage the following year and we have been in touch ever since. I have never ceased to be grateful to him for all the meticulous detail he shared with me about Aldington’s life in Berkshire in the 1920s. It’s a joy to see all this in book form and so beautifully presented.

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