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In March 1913, as the storm clouds of the Great War gathered, Edward Thomas took a bicycle ride from Clapham to the Quantock Hills in Somerset. The great poet recorded his journey with photographs and in notebooks, later publishing In Pursuit of Spring, a book now considered his best work of prose.
Edward Thomas is not known for his photography but these prints, hidden deep in the archives for many years, record meticulously what he saw – through Guildford, Winchester, Salisbury, across the Plain, to the Bristol Channel – combine with the poet's thoughts and feelings into a brooding elegy for a world now lost. Little Toller is delighted to have discovered these photographs and to be able to publish them for the first time.
Introduced by Alexandra Harris, the acclaimed author of Weatherland and Romantic Moderns, Little Toller's new edition of In Pursuit of Spring is published on March 3rd, Edward Thomas' birthday, and include over fifty photographs taken by the poet en route.
In 2014, to commemorate the centenary of In Pursuit of Spring, BBC Radio 4 broadcast a series in which the presenter Matthew Oates followed Thomas' steps. This edition with the author's photographs will be widely reviewed and undoubtedly find a whole new audience for Edward Thomas.
Read the story of the lost photographs on the BBC website.
Edward Thomas (1878-1917) was an important poet, essayist and novelist. Possibly best known for his poem Adlestrop, he is now regarded as a pre-eminent figure in rural and landscape writing. He was killed at the Battle of Arras, where he is buried. Little Toller has also publishef The South Country.
Alexandra Harris is the author of Weatherland, Modernism on Sea, Virginia Woolf and Romantic Moderns, which won the Guardian First Book Award. She recently presented a Radio 4 series on Virginia Woolf’s walks. She lectures at Liverpool University.