Jonathan Cape. Set of three heavy hardback volumes with clipped dust jackets in overall very good condition - some light marking/ fading to jackets including some very light wear to top and bottom edge of spine on Volume Three otherwise books are all fine. Please note that as the weight of the three volumes exceeds 2kg we have had to increase the price by £10 to cover postage costs.
RF Kilvert (1840-1879) was curate at the village of Clyro near Hay on Wye, and later at Langley Burrell near Chippenham. His incomplete diaries provide an interesting record of life at that time. Kilvert wrote some poetry, which was not very successful, but he writes well, and has the skill of conjuring up vivid images and atmospheres with just a few words. Kilvert's life was privileged - a fact that he acknowledges. His leisurely job consists of taking a few services, visiting the poor, having tea with the gentry and taking long country walks.
As with many diaries, it takes a while at first to get acquainted with the large cast of characters, such as the 'Old Soldier' John Morgan, in his 80's, with his stories of the Napoleonic wars, and an eccentric hermit known as 'The Solitary', but one of the diary's strengths is its portrayal of the varied and colourful characters. Another strength is the evocative descriptions of the countryside and minor details of nature such as the frost on the trees or a bumble bee crawling across the communion cloth.
One aspect that is quite shocking is what the introduction naively describes as his 'susceptibility to the beauty of young women and girls'. Remarks about women are a feature of male diarists from Pepys to Alan Clark, but Kilvert's obvious and apparently unashamed fascination with little girls is in places quite disturbing. It is hardly surprising that some of the diary was destroyed by his widow after his death.