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ID
c33
Title
"Why I Live in the Country."
Genre
Essay
Page Count
6
Word Count
1500
Publisher
Countryman
Publication Year
1936
Document Types
Full-text Online
Autobiographical
Nature Writing
Social Commentary

One of six contributions to the title topic (others being written by Basil de Selincourt, J.A. Spender, St. John Ervine, Sir William Beach Thomas, and E.V. Lucas). Bates's answer is two-fold, that his choice was an escape from industrial Rushden and that it was a return to rural roots on both sides of his family. He writes graphically of the "monotonous moan and whine of machinery" of the boot factory next door to his childhood home, a sound that became a symbol of the "ascendancy of ugliness over beauty," a "cry of humanity itself in servitude to the machine." He also traces a line of "solid if not sober peasantry" on his mother's side and a line of "good-for-nothing fishermen and bird-lovers and field-moochers" on his father's. "If it was the sound of the machines mournfully thundering behind the jerry-built walls which drove me from my native town, it was flowers and my inherited love of flowers which drove me for ever into the country." A photograph in the article features Bates center right, in a box, as is separately attached. In The Countryman (January 1936, xii, 2, pp. 494-9).


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