Illustrated by Petra Börner
A unique collection of poetry and prose, beautifully bound and illustrated with newly commissioned artwork. Published in series with Winter: A Folio Anthology.
Published in series with Winter: A Folio Anthology and Autumn: A Folio Anthology (now out-of-print)
Fleeting but full of emerging life, spring brings the promise of sunny days and the sweeping away of winter blues. More delicate than summer and yet equally intense, it has moved many writers to words of praise. This generously illustrated collection of poetry and prose is by turns affectionate, humorous and elegiac, with work by George Orwell, Rachel Carson, Captain Scott and more.
In a passage from The Wind in the Willows, Mole spring-cleans his house before scrambling above ground to roll in 'the warm grass of a great meadow'. Anton Chekhov is in awe of the River Goltva's 'rampant spring waters' and a world 'lit by stars, bestrewing every corner of the sky'. Coleridge writes of birds rejoicing, their song no longer subdued by winter, while his friend Wordsworth meditates on the passage of time in his famous 'Ode: Intimations of Immortality'.
These extracts and many more are decorated with gorgeous colour illustrations by Petra Börner, the Swedish-born artist whose work appears across our seasonal anthologies. As well as two lush colour spreads, there are charming tailpieces depicting flora and fauna. Börner also created the book’s elegant binding design.
Writer and broadcaster Paul Evans provides a thoughtful preface. He remembers marvelling at a manuscript of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, illuminated with stems and leaves. Nature’s power to inspire is all the more poignant, he says, when we note that a manmade ‘facsimile’ threatens increasingly to take its place. These timeless extracts, celebrating the earth’s natural rhythms, are ‘literary narcotic jolts of Spring to last us until the next’.
'Spring. The garden. Peach-trees
A path between them where a girl,
As through a flower-bed,
Wades in the lane’s reflection
Of the flowers overhead.'
Otomo no Yakamochi (718–85), translated by Graeme Wilson
'What can beat bricks warming up to the sun? The return of awnings. The removal of blankets from horses' backs. Tar softens under the heel and the darkness under bridges changes from gloom to cooling shade. After a light rain, when the leaves have come, tree limbs are like wet fingers playing in woolly green hair. Motor cars become black jet boxes gliding behind hoodlights weakened by mist. On sidewalks turned to satin figures move shoulder first, the crowns of their heads angled shields against the light buckshot that the raindrops are.'
Toni Morrison, from Jazz
Sue Bradbury became Editorial Director of The Folio Society in 1984, a position she held for twenty-five years. Her own publications include a translation of Three Tragedies by Federico García Lorca, Midnight Madonna (1995), a novel set in the Spanish Civil War, the biography Joanna, George and Henry: A Pre-Raphaelite Tale of Art, Love and Friendship (2012), and she also collaborated with Robert Fox on his magisterial four-volume Eyewitness to History for The Folio Society. She was awarded the OBE in 2010 for services to the publishing industry.
Paul Evans is a writer, broadcaster, senior lecturer in creative writing at Manchester Metropolitan University and award-winning playwright, be known for his ‘Country Diary’ in The Guardian newspaper and various natural history programmes and drama-documentaries for BBC Radio 4. He is the author of Herbaceous (2014) and Field Notes from the Edge: Journeys through Britain’s Secret Wilderness (2016), and lives in Much Wenlock, Shropshire, where he was born.
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