Ronald Blythe
Ronald Blythe is an English writer and editor, best known in his native England for his Akenfield: Portrait of an English Village (1969), a portrait of agricultural life in Suffolk
Suffolk is a non-metropolitan county of historic origin in East Anglia, England. It has borders with Norfolk to the north, Cambridgeshire to the west and Essex to the south. The North Sea lies to the east...

 from the turn of the century
Fin de siècle
Fin de siècle is French for "end of the century". The term sometimes encompasses both the closing and onset of an era, as it was felt to be a period of degeneration, but at the same time a period of hope for a new beginning...

 to the 1960s. As editor of Penguin Classics for more than 20 years, Blythe has edited modern editions of works by writers such as Thomas Hardy
Thomas Hardy
Thomas Hardy, OM was an English novelist and poet. While his works typically belong to the Naturalism movement, several poems display elements of the previous Romantic and Enlightenment periods of literature, such as his fascination with the supernatural.While he regarded himself primarily as a...

, Henry James
Henry James
Henry James, OM was an American-born writer, regarded as one of the key figures of 19th-century literary realism. He was the son of Henry James, Sr., a clergyman, and the brother of philosopher and psychologist William James and diarist Alice James....

 and William Hazlitt
William Hazlitt
William Hazlitt was an English writer, remembered for his humanistic essays and literary criticism, and as a grammarian and philosopher. He is now considered one of the great critics and essayists of the English language, placed in the company of Samuel Johnson and George Orwell. Yet his work is...

. He has also prepared a number of compilation
An anthology is a collection of literary works chosen by the compiler. It may be a collection of poems, short stories, plays, songs, or excerpts...

s, including The Pleasure of Diaries (1989) and Private Words: Letters and Diaries from the Second World War (1993).

Blythe was awarded a Benson Medal
Benson Medal
The Benson Medal is a medal awarded by the Royal Society of Literature in the UK.It was founded in 1916 by A. C. Benson who was a Fellow of the Society, to honour those who produce "meritorious works in poetry, fiction, history and belles-lettres."...

 in 2006
2006 in literature
The year 2006 in literature involved some significant events and new books.-Literature:*Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - Half of a Yellow Sun*Chris Adrian - The Children's Hospital *Martin Amis - House of Meetings...


Personal life

Blythe was born in Suffolk, England and educated in Sudbury, Suffolk
Sudbury, Suffolk
Sudbury is a small, ancient market town in the county of Suffolk, England, on the River Stour, from Colchester and from London.-Early history:...

. He was a reference librarian in Colchester
Colchester is an historic town and the largest settlement within the borough of Colchester in Essex, England.At the time of the census in 2001, it had a population of 104,390. However, the population is rapidly increasing, and has been named as one of Britain's fastest growing towns. As the...

 for ten years, where he founded the Colchester Literary Society. While a young man, he worked for Benjamin Britten
Benjamin Britten
Edward Benjamin Britten, Baron Britten, OM CH was an English composer, conductor, and pianist. He showed talent from an early age, and first came to public attention with the a cappella choral work A Boy Was Born in 1934. With the premiere of his opera Peter Grimes in 1945, he leapt to...

 at the Aldeburgh Festival
Aldeburgh Festival
The Aldeburgh Festival is an English arts festival devoted mainly to classical music. It takes place each June in the Aldeburgh area of Suffolk, centred on the main concert hall at Snape Maltings...


Blythe has lived in East Anglia
East Anglia
East Anglia is a traditional name for a region of eastern England, named after an ancient Anglo-Saxon kingdom, the Kingdom of the East Angles. The Angles took their name from their homeland Angeln, in northern Germany. East Anglia initially consisted of Norfolk and Suffolk, but upon the marriage of...

 since 1955 when he became a writer full time.
He is an Anglican and contributes regular articles to the Church Times
Church Times
The Church Times is an independent Anglican weekly newspaper. It is published in the United Kingdom on Fridays.The Church Times was founded in 1863 to campaign for Anglo-Catholic principles and has always been independent of the Church of England hierarchy. It was a family concern The Church Times...


List of publications (partial)

Much of Blythe's work focuses on the subject of rural England.

Works as an author

  • A Treasonable Growth (1960)
  • The Age of Illusion (1964)
  • Akenfield: Portrait of an English Village (1969)
  • A View in Winter: Reflections on Old Age (1979)
  • From the Headlands (1982)
  • Divine Landscapes (1986)
  • Word from Wormingford (1998)
  • Talking About John Clare (1999)
  • Out of the Valley (2000)

Contributions as an editor

  • Writing in a War (1982, originally published as Components of the Scene in 1966)
  • The Penguin Book of Diaries (1989. also published as The Pleasures of Diaries and Each Returning Day)
  • Private Words: Letters and Diaries from the Second World War (1991)
  • Thomas Hardy, Far From the Madding Crowd
  • Henry James, The Awkward Age
  • William Hazlitt, Selected Writings
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