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This article is taken from PN Review 113, Volume 23 Number 3, January - February 1997.

More than a Brother: Edmund Blunden and Hector Buck J.E. Morpurgo

There have seldom been available for publication in book form both sides in a correspondence, and in all the rich bibliography of published letters there are few (if any) other examples of an exchange of correspondence which continued for as long as did this between Edmund Blunden and Hector Buck which lasted for half a century (and which is now collected, edited and issued as part of the celebrations of the Blunden Centenary).

Blunden and Buck were the closest of friends for more than 60 years yet, even to the most intimate observer, they seemed incompatible. Blunden was born in London, but when he was three years old his family moved to Yalding in Kent and ever after, as still when he was living and working in some of the world's greatest cities, he remained quintessentially a countryman, his poetry and his prose pastoral. Buck was also born a Londoner but, though he passed much of his adolescence and adult life in the Sussex Weald, the rural scene roused in him no enthusiasm, nor yet even curiosity. Blunden spent two long spells in Japan and another even longer in Hong Kong. Buck suspected all foreigners and shunned foreign parts. Blunden's war poetry brought him early to fame and for the rest of his life he remained eminent among the writers of the English speaking world. Through most of his career Buck was a schoolmaster and little known outside the constituency of the school in which he taught. ...

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