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The Woman Who Had Imagination, H.E. Bates's fourth volume of stories, first published in 1934 (Jonathan Cape), is a fascinating collection of contrasts. The stories combine elements of realism and poetry, beauty and ugliness, tenderness and irony. Graham Greene, writing in the Spectator, lauded the collection as 'the first volume of Mr. Bates's maturity' and Bates as 'an artist of magnificent originality with a vitality quite unsuspected hitherto'.This is brilliantly demonstrated in the title story, 'The Woman Who Had Imagination', the heart-rending story of an Italian woman, revealed through the casual meetings and conversations that take place on a day's outing of a country choir. The contrast between 'The Waterfall', with its melancholy and grace, and the disturbing tensions in 'The Brothers', emphasises Bates's mastery of both the delicate and the disquieting. It is also in this collection that we are introduced to the much-loved comic narrator, Uncle Silas, in 'The Lily', 'The Wedding' and 'Death of Uncle Silas.'In addition to the original collection this edition includes two extra stories. 'The Country Doctor' concerns a woman's grief on the death of her dearest friend. It was first published in the Fortnightly Review in 1931 with the title 'The Country Sale', and later in the limited edition The Story Without an End and The Country Doctor (White Owl Press, 1932), and has not been reprinted since. 'The Parrot' chronicles a man, a marriage and the eponymous parrot, and has only previously been published in 1928 in T.P.'s Weekly, founded by the radical MP, T.P. O'Connor.