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In the Heart of the Country
Essay Collection
Page Count
Word Count
Country Life Ltd.
Publication Year
Document Types
Nature Writing
Social Commentary
Rural Living

London: Country Life Limited, 1942. Illustrated by C.F. Tunnicliffe. Bates's fifth book of non-fiction nature-writing and his second set of essays illustrated by Tunnicliffe (the first being The Seasons & The Gardener, and a subsequent one being O More than Happy Countryman) visits familiar topics, but all touched by the presence of soldiers, planes, urban evacuees and by reflections on how the war will affect the English countryside. As in previous books, Bates writes of the seasons, birds, fish, and especially flowers of his Kentish home. He ponders both the timelessness of the countryside and the inevitable changes brought by technological changes and world events. In his discussions of the effect of war raids on birds and the weights of birds, he repeats topics covered in his Country Life newspaper columns (gathered in the book Country Life); he also makes occasional allusions to his childhood, his uncle Rook, family outings (and the family name), a visiting brother-in-law, and in the essay "Victorian Garden" a reminiscence of the scene captured in his highly successful story "Alexander." The essays were included, in revised form, as part one of The Country Heart. In the Heart of the Country was reprinted in 2014 by the Unicorn Press (London). Reviews: The Spectator (May 29, 1942, p. 516, C. Henry Warren, attached) Times Literary Supplement (April 4, 1942, p. 176, Marjorie Hessell Tiltman, attached) Contains: Sudden Spring, Fisherman's Luck, Overture to Summer, Fruit Blossom Time, "Clouded August Thorn, Strange Battlefields, The Great Snow, A Summer Spring, "...Bring Forth May Flowers," Victorian Garden, Wealden Beauty, The Strangeness of Fish, The Parish Pump, Flowers and Downland. "Victorian Garden" was reprinted in Mother's Bedside Book (1961).


The below reviews and articles are available in PDF format.