Here at Flavorwire, we’re always on the lookout for a great new read — even if it’s not at all new, but only new to us. To that end, we asked the folks over at Slightly Foxed, a quarterly journal we love for its great writing, fine leather chair feel (it’s not called “the real reader’s quarterly” for nothing), and tendency to open our eyes to books we’d missed, to put together a list of unfairly neglected literary works that deserve a little more love. They write, “Some of our ten are obscure, others popular in their day but now forgotten, others once forgotten but now not so, and others almost lost but we think that they are all worth discovering – or rediscovering — for one reason or another.” After the jump, check out the list, and pitch in with your own suggestions for forgotten-but-excellent reads in the comments.
Karel Čapek, Letters from England
The eminent Czech writer (and poet, playwright, theatre producer, among other hats) Karel Čapek came to England for the first and last time in May 1924, and stayed for two months. Letters from England was written on the hoof, which partly accounts for its freshness. On the surface, Capek’s take on England is unguarded, guileless and full of laugh-out-loud surrealism and charm; but the surrealism has a plangent, existential undertow. What he admires most about England is “English turf,” and particularly the fact that people are free to walk across it. As he writes in Letters from England:
Perhaps that’s also why England has had so few revolutions in history: because Britons could always satisfy their instinct for freedom by a mere striding over meadows. Nor do I consider it impossible that Britain began to rule the waves because she saw something in them like a great lawn over which it was permitted to proceed wherever one pleased.