Radnorshire, a county rural and remote. The lives of its sparse population continue to be shaped by the wild landscape of valleys and mountains in ways that for Britain now lie in the past. Yet down the centuries Radnorshire has fascinated and inspired, as a place of contemplation, exploration, creation and retreat. In At the Bright Hem of God Peter J. Conradi examines both his own relationship with the place and responses to it by writers from Gerald of Wales,who passed through in 1176, to the present day. On the way he takes in fifteenth century court poets; the metaphysicals Herbert, Vaughan and Traherne; the Romantic poets and Rousseau (who almost lived there and whose ideas did); diarist Francis Kilvert and his editor William Plomer; artist Eric Gill and poet David Jones; Bruce Chatwin, whose On the Black Hill is the most famous Radnorshire novel; and poets R.S.Thomas, Roland Mathias and Ruth Bidgood, the county's current remembrancer. The result is an astonishing account,a trip across landscapes and borders - physical, emotional and intellectual - the culmination of over forty years of visiting and living there. Conradi's perceptive narrative is complemented by superb ink drawings by the Radnorshire artist Simon Dorrell to produce a beautiful book, a love letter to a place still hidden from most of the country.
Peter J. Conradi is an author and journalist, born into an Anglo-Jewish family. He is most widely known as the biographer of Iris Murdoch, and has also published books on Angus Wilson and John Fowles. Outside literature he has published Going Buddhist, a moving and clear-sighted contemplation on Buddhism. He is Professor Emeritus in English of Kingston University.