Books: Roots

CHARACTERS AND THEIR LANDSCAPES by Ronald Blythe; Harcourt Brace Jovanovich; 208 pages; $14.95

"Does landscape enter the bloodstream with the milk?" The poser of this oddly shaped question, Ronald Blythe, is author of a classic documentary on English village life (Akenfield), and he permits no doubt about the answer. In this celebration of social roots, Blythe contrasts what he sees as the skittering superficiality of jet-age tourists with the intense thereness of stay-putters like the 19th century poet John Clare, who went mad when he had to leave the village where...

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