The Short Stories of R. D. Blackmore (MP3)
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The short story is often viewed as an inferior relation to the Novel. But it is an art in itself. To take a story and distil its essence into fewer pages while keeping character and plot rounded and driven is not an easy task. Many try and many fail. Blackmore was one to succeed as this audio book ably demonstrates. Richard Doddridge Blackmore was born on 7 June 1825 at Longworth in Berkshire (now part of Oxfordshire), where his father, John Blackmore, was Curate-in-charge of the parish. His mother died a few months after his birth the victim of an outbreak of typhus. With this loss, the family moved to Bushey, Hertfordshire, then on to their native Devon. With much of his childhood spent in the lush and pastoral "Doone Country" of Exmoor, and along the Badgworthy Water, Blackmore came to love the very countryside he immortalised in Lorna Doone. In November 1853 he married his wife Lucy. And the following year, 1854, his literary career began with a collection of Poems and for the next 15 years he would write in the winters and garden in the summers. In 1860 with inherited money he built a house in Teddington just outside of London and established a market garden for the cultivation of fruit. He loved horticulture but having little business experience could never really exploit it. In these short stories collected here, much of that countryside comes through to counterpoint the strong characters he creates. RD Blackmore died at Teddington on 20 January 1900 after a long and painful illness, and was buried next to his wife in Teddington cemetery.