By Henry Williamson
A Fox below My Cloak (1954) used to be the 5th access in Henry Williamson's fifteen-volume A Chronicle of historic Sunlight spanning the years from the past due Victorian interval to the second one international battle. It follows Phillip Maddison into the nice conflict, surviving within the face of terror, from the recognized Christmas Truce of 1914 to the gasoline assaults of the conflict of bathrooms the next yr. whereas domestic in England on unwell go away Phillip obtains his fee right into a stylish regiment within which his social inadequacies make him the butt of his fellow officers' scorn. but, by myself between them, Phillip has tasted the awful fact of existence, and dying, at the Western Front.
'Williamson's sort is romantic, although hardly sentimental, and his sensuous reaction to nature is clean and surprising.' Anthony Burgess, Ninety-Nine Novels: the easiest in English considering 1939
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Extra info for A Fox Under My Cloak (A Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight, Book 5)
The arrival of the three men finds Herland quietly prosperous, well organised and abundantly fruitful, with the women ‘tall, strong, healthy and beautiful’. 66 In response to questioning, the women reveal that their land was originally populated by both sexes and was much larger, extending from the plateau where they now dwell to the sea. But a series of wars had greatly reduced the male population, to the extent that, when a volcanic eruption effectively blocked the pass from the mountains, the only inhabitants of the plateau had been women and slaves, while the fighting force, comprising all the remaining young men, had been left stranded on the other side of the pass.
Furthermore, although Howarth does not explore the point, I would suggest that Newbolt Man’s ‘fear and self-distrust’ arises from precisely the same rejection of socialisation. If Newbolt Man is the archetypal hero, trammelled by conventions and social taboos, then the American hero is his counterpart in the wilderness, struggling to forge his identity and produce a similarly triumphant narrative. In proposing a country of only women, Gilman suggests the promise of the wilderness: the deeply romantic one that in this new land, untrammeled by history and social accident, a person will be able to achieve complete self-definition.
This, and the absence of cultural artefacts associated with courtship, places the men at a disadvantage from which Jennings is forced to re-evaluate his views on the status of women and the status of the men as potential suitors: You see, if a man loves a girl who is in the first place young and inexperienced; who in the second place is educated with a background of caveman tradition, a middle-ground of poetry and romance, and a foreground of unspoken hope and interest all centering upon the one Event; and who has, furthermore, absolutely no other hope or interest worthy of the name – why, it is a comparatively easy matter to sweep her off her feet with a dashing attack.