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In Youth is Pleasure - Livres du Mois

The theme of August's Livres du Mois is In Youth is Pleasure. Inspired by the book written by Denton Welch, I have compiled a selection of books that explore the small pleasurable things that are often seen only through the eyes of youth and the sensations that we may often forget with age to indulge in, the languid summers of running our hands over grass and listening to the wind through the trees.


In Youth is Pleasure


Denton Welch

In Youth is Pleasure is the second published novel by the English writer and painter Denton Welch. It was first published in February 1945 and was also the last novel to be issued in his lifetime.

"The title comes from a poem by the sixteenth century English poet Robert Wever. As originally published, the dustjacket, endpapers and frontispiece were designed by Welch. The frontispiece bears a dedication to his late mother.

In Youth is Pleasure differs from Welch's other novels, and indeed most of his short stories, in that it is written in the third person. Set "several years" before World War II, it tells the story of a fifteen-year-old boy, Orvil Pym, who spends a summer holiday at a country hotel outside London with his widowed father and two older brothers. As with virtually everything Welch wrote, it is strongly autobiographical, leading several commentators to simply observe that Orvil is Denton Welch. As if to emphasise this, the places featured in the novel (the hotel, the grotto) are real.

The novel is episodic in nature without any central plot. In many ways, Orvil himself is the 'plot', as the narrative revolves around his experiences, his reactions to them, and reveries about them."


David Blaize


E. F. Benson

"David Blaize is a novel of school life by English author Edward Frederic Benson. The first edition was published in 1916.

Set in England before World War I, E. F. Benson's delightfully nostalgic classic of public school life is in the tradition of P. G. Wodehouse's Tales of St Austin's.

Memorably evoking the joys and torments of boyhood, from midnight feasts and glorious days on the cricket field to waxy masters and embarrassing parental visits, Benson follows the young charismatic David Blaize from prep school to Marchester College - a thinly disguised portrait of the authors own beloved Marlborough.

Affectionate, richly comic, and laced with E. F. Benson's inimitable wit, David Blaize is a marvellous entertainment from one of the century's greatest humorous writers."


The Go-Between


L. P. Hartley

The Go-Between is a novel by L. P. Hartley published in 1953. His best-known work, it has been adapted several times for stage and screen.

Summering with a fellow schoolboy on a great English estate, Leo, the hero of L.P. Hartley's finest novel, encounters a world of unimagined luxury. But when his friend's beautiful older sister enlists him as the unwitting messenger in her illicit love affair, the aftershocks will be felt for years.


The Old Century


Siegfried Sassoon

The distinguished poet depicts his childhood in a country house in Kent and his experiences at Cambridge University.

"In this reflective and captivating book the author of the Sherston memoirs tells the true story - a substantially different story from that of his famous fox-hunting man - of his first twenty-one years. So vivid and authentic are the scenes, people and experiences recalled by Mr. Sassoon that the reader has at times to pull himself up sharply in order to realise that the world described by the author is irrecoverably lost. All the people are more interesting than the characters in most novels."


A Month in the Country


J. L. Carr

"Set in rural Yorkshire during the summer of 1920, the story follows a destitute World War I veteran Tom Birkin employed to carry out restoration work on a Medieval mural discovered in a rural church while coming to terms with the after-effects of the war."

"A quiet yet deeply moving story about the calming effects of a peaceful environment and the power of art to heal ones suffering." In 1987 the book was made into a film staring Colin Firth as Tom Birkin and Kenneth Branagh as Tom's fellow war veteran working in a meadow nearby, the archaeologist James Moon.


I hope you have found something new to read but if not you may find something more to your tastes in the Compendium's Library.


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