Down the River by H. E. Bates is his wonderfully evocative eulogy to rivers; their landscapes, rural and urban, their wildlife, culture and human history . . .
Rivers are great workings of nature, time and geology. They have long been at the very centre of human culture, sustaining us with water, food, power and stories. Our thoughts flow like a river. A river’s journey, from source to sea, is a metaphor for life.
H. E. Bates’ own journey began on the banks and in the waters of two contrasting Midland rivers – the Nene’s jumbled course speaks of human industry, while the Ouse is rich in wildlife and wild flowers. The two rivers and their people, no matter how different, filled Bates’ imagination with the wonderful stories and characters that make his writing so rich and enjoyable.
Down the River is nature classic and this Little Toller edition is introduced by Charles Rangeley-Wilson and is illustrated with wood engravings by Agnes Miller Parker.
‘The river, memory and the impulse to write, the sounds and rhythms of words and water, these things merge time and again across the centuries to become the poetry and prose of rivers.’ Charles Rangeley-Wilson