Eleanor Farjeon was a novelist and children’s author. This is one of the long letters that she frequently wrote to her friend Maitland Radford whilst he was in France during the First World War. In the letters she keeps Radford up to date with the activities of their friends and acquaintances, including Lascelles Abercrombie, Rupert Brooke and Wilfrid Wilson Gibson. In this letter she tells Radford about meeting Robert Frost and his family for the first time, as well as deploring the flood of war poetry that has appeared since fighting broke out. Farjeon was also a close friend of Edward Thomas and his wife and she makes frequent mentions of them throughout her correspondence. She highlights the anxiety faced by Thomas and several other men in their artistic circle over whether to join the army.
Farjeon also expresses her need to be useful and, in 1914, she joined the Women’s Emergency Corps. However, here she worries about whether she is taking paid work away from other women by undertaking the work in a voluntary capacity.
c/o Mrs. Farmer,
Nr. Ledbury, Herefordshire.
Saturday, August 29th 1914.
My dear Maitland,
The address is not for use, only for ornament, to give you a general picture of where I’m at, though I sha’n’t be here when you get this. I do not know yet what Ledington is – it isn’t a town or a hamlet, or anything but plum = orchard on plum = orchard, apple = orchard on apple = orchard, piggeries, henneries, hayfields, blackberry = hedges, & deep green lanes. Mr. & Mrs. Farmer are farmers in fact as well as name, & have the plum = & = apple orchards of the neighbourhood, and all day long (this being the gathering season) I eat peach plums & Jeffersons plums, & a large & lovely plum called Bunting Ellen Aveine (I am risking the spelling of her surname). I cannot discover whether Bunting is part of her name, a sort of family prefix, or a participle. If a participle I hope she likes being bunted; she deserves the best of Fate. Five minutes away, across
- Full title:
- Letter from Eleanor Farjeon to Maitland Radford
- 29 August, 1914
- Letter / Manuscript
- Held by:
- British Library
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- Article by:
- Modris Eksteins
- Representation and memory
Focusing on works of fiction produced during the 1920s-30s, Professor Emeritus Modris Eksteins explores the role of literature as a means to confront and overcome the devastation of World War One.