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February 08 , 2010

Without Knowing Mr Walkley


"Nowadays, one meets fewer 'Characters' than of old, and life seems to be far more uniform. Everyone knew some oddities in their childhood, curious people who looked and behaved quite unlike others, but such pronounced individuality is rare to-day."

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In the mesmerising autobiography, Without Knowing Mr Walkley, acclaimed novelist Edith Olivier describes her remarkable life, which spanned the last decades of the nineteenth century, two world wars, and the birth of modern Britain.

The daughter of a stern, traditional and fiercely charismatic Victorian rector, her journey begins with a childhood rooted in the timeless traditions of the Wiltshire countryside. From the start, Olivier's account is a treasure trove of historical knick-knacks and engaging anecdotes: from her studies at Oxford University in 1895 to her friendships with famous First World War poets, energetic efforts on behalf of the Women's Land Army and supernatural experiences on the Salisbury plains.

Edith Olivier's wry and witty narrative vividly conjures the oddball characters, smells, sounds and sights of a bygone era.

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