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Stickley, Gustav, 1858-1942. / Craftsman homes
(1909)

"The simplification of life:" a chapter from Edward Carpenter's book called "England's ideal",   pp. 1-5


Page 2

               THE SIMPLIFICATION OF LIFE
down) to the life of the simple, common people, earning his living and that
of his
family as a cobbler (and a good one, too) and living in a peaceful fashion
in a
home planned and largely constructed by himself.     His life and his work
are
with the people.  He knows their point of view, he writes for them, lectures
for
them, and though a leader in modern thought in England and a man of genius,
he is one with his daily associates in purpose and general scheme of existence.
In all his present writings the common man and his relation to civilization,
is
Mr. Carpenter¹s theme, and he deals with the great problems of sociology
in plain
practical terms and with a straightforward thought born of that surest knowledge
possible, experience.
  From the beginning of the endeavor of THE CRAFTSMAN to aid in the in-
terests of better art, better work and a better and more reasonable way of
living, the work of Edward Carpenter has been an inspiration and an ideal,
born
out of that sympathy of purpose which makes men of whatever nation brothers
and comrades.    We have from time to time in the magazine quoted from Mr.
Carpenter¹s books at length, feelino~ that he was expressing our own
ideal as no
words of ours could, and particular~iy have we felt a oneness of purpose
with him
in his book called ³England¹s Ideal,² in which he publishes
a chapter on the
³Simplification of Life,¹ which with its honesty, sincerity, its
high courage and
rare judgment should make clear the pathway for all of those among us who
are honestly interested in readjusting life on a plane of greater usefu [ness
and
higher beauty.   In this essay which we purpose here to quote at length,
Mr.
Carpenter begins by speaking of his own method of readjusting his life as
follows:
³T F YOU do not want to be a vampire and a parasite upon others, the
great
    question of practical life which everyone has to face, is how to carry
it on
    with as little labor and effort as may be.  No one wants to labor needlessly,
and if you have to earn everything you spend, economy becomes a very personal
question<not necessarily in the pinching sense, but merely as adaptation
of
means to the end.  When I came some years ago to live with cottagers (earning
say £50 to £60 a year) and share their life, I was surprised
to find how little
both in labor and expense their food cost them, who were doing far more work
than I was, or indeed the generality of the people among whom I had been
living.
This led me to see that the somewhat luxurious mode of living I had been
accus-
tomed to was a mere waste, as far as adaptation to any useful end was concerned;
and afterward I had decided that it had been a positive hindrance, for when
I
became habituated to a more simple life and diet, I found that a marked im-
provement took place in my powers both of mind and body.
  ³The difference arising from having a small piece of garden is very
great.
and makes one feel how important it is that every cottage should have a plot
of
ground attached.  A rood of land (quarter acre) is sufficient to grow all
potatoes
and other vegetables and some fruit for the year¹s use, say for a family
of five.
Half an acre would be an ample allowance.       Such a piece of land may
easily
be cultivated by anyone in the odd hours of regular work, and the saving
is natur-
ally large from not having to go to the shop for everything of this nature
that is
needed.
  ³Of course, the current mode of life is so greatly wasteful, and we
have come


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