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Kilvert's Diary, 1870-79 (Penguin)

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So there are a lot of impassioned descriptions of pretty women where the poor guy’s longing is embarrassingly obvious. There is so much in this book that is wonderful - the lovely descriptions of nature, sunrises and sunsets, the quirky characters Kilvert meets on his daily rounds of the parish, the insights into everyday life in the 1870s.

train but while Henry Dew and I were running along the line to the station we heard the train coming behind us and it glided past close blazing with lamps into the station where it stopped half a minute and was off again to Hay in spite of Henry Dew’s running and hooting.The account of a mass brawl between men of neighbouring communities is unusually vivid, though reported second hand. It's the weird thing where sexual attraction gets mostly sublimated into waxing lyrical about rosy cheeks and angels, which, because there's nothing in it that's specific to the qualities of adult women, gets lavished on little girls too, even though to our eyes it seems so clearly sexual. The mice scurry rattling along the wainscot and Toby darts off in great excitement to listen and watch for them.

This led to Kilvert's Diary being dramatised (eighteen 15-minute episodes) on British television between 1977 and 1978, with Timothy Davies in the title role.Out of print since 1970, the three-volume indexed edition was reprinted in 2006 by O'Donoghue Books. In the newspapers this morning we saw the account of the Royal yacht the Alberta with the Queen on board going from Osborne to Portsmouth running down, cutting in two and sinking Mr. Kilvert was born on 3 December 1840 at The Rectory, Hardenhuish Lane, near Chippenham, Wiltshire, to the Rev. Kilvet's diary paints an excellent picture of Victorian country life; as a clergyman, he interacted with pretty much all classes, and he was sympathetic to the problems of the poor (which is not exactly a given with the Church of England in the 19th Century).

Romance and sexual attraction is where Kilvert is most Victorian, though there is a bit about his reaction to the Prince of Wales's illness which is pretty foreign. The first entry in the published version starts on 18 January, so we do not know if he gave a reason for starting to keep a diary on that particular date. Robert Francis Kilvert always known as Francis, or Frank, was an English clergyman remembered for his diaries reflecting rural life in the 1870s, which were published over fifty years after his death. The coffin went out immediately and the pall bearers filed out in pairs after it, taking their places and holding each his pall tassel on either side.There was a delicious feeling of freedom in stripping in the open air and running down naked to the sea where the waves were curling white with foam and the red morning sunshine glowing upon the naked limbs of the bathers". An amateur, sub-Wordsworthian poet, he’s always going into raptures over the landscapes he crosses on his long walks around the countryside. When it was safely deposited we all retired to seats right and left and a verger or beadle, in a black gown and holding a mace, took up his position at the head of the coffin, standing.

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