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The Nature of Love: Three Short Novels
Novella Collection
Page Count
Michael Joseph
Bloomsbury Publishing Ltd
Publication Year
Document Types
available as ebook

London: Michael Joseph, 1953 (Autumn). 240 pp.,
Boston: Little, Brown and Company (An Atlantic Monthly Press Book), 1953.
Dedication "To W. Somerset Maugham."

Bates's first published collection of novellas. "The Grass God" first appeared in 1951 as a separate monograph, and "Dulcima," was later published separately as well. In The World in Ripeness, (p. 113) Bates discusses his desire to add to a distinguished history of novellas, for which "the list of brilliant exponents in the form is as rich as it is seemingly endless." Advised by his published that a collection of novellas would not sell, they discovered that "it did sell and indeed so well that I have ever since been more and more attracted to the form."

The New York Times comments that "at describing [England's] fields and flowers, its birds and beechwoods, England in shimmering spring and the heat of summer, he has, since the death of D.H. Lawrence, no living superior..." The Spectator comments "Three stories, very different in weight...but identical in texture, all of them withdrawing from feeling. The heart of them is as clammy as wax...So women are bitches, seems to be the moral...and the waxwork feeling stretches over page after page of brilliantly worked dialogue and narrative. Were Mr. Bates not such a nearly-great writer it would be irrelevant (let alone ungrateful) to say this. But unless warmth comes and acceptance comes, it is hard to see how the final flowering, of which he has given such bursting promise, can be achieved."


  • New Statesman and Nation (September 12, 1953, p. 292, Giles Romily, attached)
  • New York Times (May 23, 1954, p. BR4, James Stern, attached)
  • Saturday Review of Literature (May 15, 1954, p. 13, Oliver La Farge, attached)
  • Spectator (September 25, 1953, p. 338, John Metcalf, attached)
  • Times Literary Supplement (September 18, 1953, p. 593, Alfred Duggan, attached)
  • Illustrated London News (January 9, 1954, p. 66, K. John, attached)

Contains: "Dulcima," "The Grass God," "The Delicate Nature." ebook edition (Bloomsbury, 2016) also contains Old Lady.