Tuesday, February 17, 2015
New Walter de la Mare work
The latest issue of The Walter de la Mare Society Magazine (Number 16) includes several treats for enthusiasts of this most subtle and enigmatic of writers in the supernatural fiction field. Giles de la Mare introduces 'The Idealists', a previously unpublished continuation from the original manuscript of Walter de la Mare's story 'A Beginning'. He explains that the piece (about six pages long in the magazine) was probably intended to be included in the collection A Beginning and Other Stories (1955) but in the end not used. He adds that it "can more or less stand up on its own" but only makes full sense if you have read 'A Beginning'.
The piece, as so often in de la Mare, achieves a finely shaded mingling of interior and exterior landscapes, in which the narrator's keen observation of natural forces reflects also their own reveries and emotions: "Wind and rain, and my heart is lost under the low grey clouds, when the trees hang their heads and the water calls in the hollows. I grow dark and sullen and tomorrow seems but the ashes of a burned out hope...It is to you I turn as one in a far country turns towards home".
The magazine also includes three stanzas omitted at the proof stage from de la Mare's celebrated poem 'The Traveller' (1945), and a letter from T.S. Eliot about the poem, a transcript of a spoken introduction de la Mare made to a set of 78rpm records, Some Recent English Poetry (1946), and a previously unpublished letter by de la Mare.
In addition to this rare and original material by de la Mare, the 48pp magazine includes studies of his work: a survey of 'The Concept of Time in Walter de la Mare's Work' by Giles de la Mare; and a companion essay by Joe Griffiths on 'Time's Winged Chariot'; 'Alice on Wheels' by Richard Lowndes, which looks at de la Mare's links with Lewis Carroll; and my own essay 'Whisperings and Mumblings', an exploration of 'Seaton's Aunt'.