Image © estate of Arthur Ransome.
This is the latest publication of The Arthur Ransome Society (hereafter TARS), published for subscribers recently. I expect there were some extra copies printed that will eventually be available from the TARS website, but their online sales process is currently unavailable. It’s a book of essays, which automatically makes it of little interest to most readers of this blog, I think. Normally I’d be one of them, but I love the writing of Arthur Ransome. Particularly his series of novels for children beginning with Swallows and Amazons and running to 11 more similar volumes. Those books led me to seek out other work of the author, and eventually to join TARS, whose yearly literary magazine is great reading, and who periodically publish little known works of the author such as this, not to mention having all kinds of activities for members in Britain and elsewhere.
These newspaper articles are weekly essays. Ransome had recently ended a long series of essays mainly about fishing, a personal passion, which have been collected in other books. As a favor to the publisher, he agreed to do this new column where he could write on any subject he liked, which actually turned out to be harder for him, and he gave it up after about two and a half years, but the articles he did write from 1929-31 are great reading. Some touch on politics, but the ones I liked best did not. I preferred the many articles that delved into human nature in one way or another, such as why other people’s games seem so pointless to us if we don’t follow them, how one’s profession affects the way we see the world, why travel is more often fun to plan than to experience, how we often read too fast, the joys of reading aloud, why city visitors to the country see it so differently than residents, and vice versa, the dust that once cloaked the British countryside, why those who exercise and preach about it are so annoying, the pleasure of being up early, and so many more.
I guess this review is more for myself than anyone, but if you have any interest in Arthur Ransome and his writing, I highly recommend TARS.