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Bevis: The Story of a Boy (Wordsworth Children's Classics) Paperback – Jul 1995

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Paperback, Jul 1995
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Product details

  • Paperback: 430 pages
  • Publisher: Wordsworth Editions Ltd; New edition edition (July 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1853261637
  • ISBN-13: 978-1853261633
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 834,553 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

John Richard Jefferies (6 November 1848 – 14 August 1887) was an English nature writer, noted for his depiction of English rural life in essays, books of natural history, and novels. His childhood on a small Wiltshire farm had a great influence on him and provides the background to all his major works of fiction. For all that, these show a remarkable diversity, including Bevis (1882), a classic children's book, and After London (1885), an early work of science fiction. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Henk Beentje TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 13 Mar. 2008
Format: Paperback
Don't be fooled by the twee cover! This is an excellent book, and while it dates back to 1882, that is quite in its favour. The class structure may grate a bit, but what the book really is about is mucking about as a kid, in a timeless way. Well, not quite timeless... you have to cope with one of the main characters calling his father 'the jolly Old Moke', but apart from that the language is quite modern. But for fun the lads play bezique, and when they build their own gun, they build a matchlock! Otherwise this is very much in the Swallows and Amazons vein, except that the few girls play a very minor role. But the descriptions... they can be wonderfully poetic, lyrical, dreamy... when poling the raft over a misty lake, or gazing up at the stars at night... Jefferies is a very good writer. And the practical bits? Well, if you wanted to build a matchlock, or a good raft, or if you wanted to learn how to heft a shotgun, this is it; hidden among the mucking about there is good advice. And among all the boys' own stuff it is also made clear that the lower classes (to which our two heroes, Bevis and Mark, emphatically do not belong) can have seriously tough lives.
I love this book. There is a version illustrated by E.H. Shepard (of Pooh fame) and that one comes very highly recommended. At almost 500 pages (mind you, the original version came out in three volumes!) this is a solid piece of work, and I think the author didn't want to end it; the last 30 pages are, for me, a bit of a fizz-out. For me those boys, who are part of me now, and in who part of me is, are still exploring New Formosa and Serendib, in the time when you could see the Aurora Borealis from southern England. Great stuff!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Secret Spi on 14 Oct. 2009
Format: Paperback
Decades before the Boy Scout movement was founded and a half-century before "Swallows and Amazons" was penned, Richard Jefferies wrote "Bevis". The story doesn't really have a beginning, middle and end: it is more like three linked stories. In the first of these, Bevis (a boy of thirteen or fourteen, I would guess) and his friend Mark discover and explore the "New Sea" and its surroundings. In the next chapters, two gangs of boys reenact the Battle of Pharsalia with Bevis as Caesar. The final part of the book is about the adventures that Bevis and Mark have when they sail away to live on "New Formosa", as they have named the island in the middle of the lake.

Richard Jefferies had a beautiful way of writing and looking at nature and long passages of the book are dedicated to descriptions of the lake, the sky and the flora and fauna. I enjoyed these but expect that they could be a bit much for young readers today. In addition, the book is very much a product of its time and modern sensibilities may well be offended by the slaughter of wildlife, the hard time that the domestic animals have (the donkey and spaniel, Pan, get more than enough kicks and blows), the treatment of the poor local girl, Loo, as well as the occasional references to "slaves."

And yet, the book has a magic and joy that transcends these issues for me. The sheer exuberance, ingenuity, imagination and inventiveness of the two boys, coupled with their belief in themselves is wonderful to read. The banter between the two of them is fun and feels fresh after one hundred plus years.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Keith Gubbin on 14 Nov. 2006
Format: Paperback
I first read this book while a pre- teen at a heavenly prep school in rural Sussex in the early seventies. I ranked it with Brendon Chase, The Islanders and the Arthur Ransome books as my favourites at the time. It is refreshing to see nephews, nieces and God- children, now the age I was then, reading these wonderful books about this country's unique and spell- binding countryside.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By James Penrith on 19 Nov. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Every young boy should be introduced to Bevis by his father or a thoughtful uncle. An evergreen story of boyhood.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1882's Harry Potter 14 July 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
Shortly before Richard Jefferies first became ill he wrote two children's books, Wood Magic and Bevis, published in 1881 and 1882. The latter has been widely regarded as a classic boys' book and, based on Jefferies' own childhood at Coate, it follows the adventures of two boys, Bevis and Mark. They first 'discover' a large lake close to their home which they imagine to be a vast inland sea surrounded by a jungle inhabited by savages and wild beasts. After re-fighting the Battle of Pharsalia (between Julius Caesar and Pompey) with their friends, Bevis and Mark build a raft and cross to an island in the lake. Equipped with a few provisions and their own home-made shotgun, they live among nature for several days, learning the arts of survival and much about themselves in the process. Bevis is a celebration of the vigour and freedom of a childhood spent in the countryside, 'where there was magic in everything, blades of grass and stars, the sun and the stones upon the ground'.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Amazing book! 6 Feb. 2006
By B. Lesher - Published on
Format: Paperback
Very good book; one of my favorites. The author goes into great detail on all sorts of interesting subjects as the boys discover their secrets for themselves through trial and error: building a sailboat and learning to tack, building a working matchlock musket, an accurate sundial using the positions of the stars and the sun, etc. At the same time, it is definitely not lacking in action. The boys live in the wild for eleven days on their own, they recreate one of Caesar's battles which has an unexpected ending, and get into all sorts of trouble as a result. I would recommend this book to anyone who wishes they could go back their youth.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Touched 5 Oct. 2000
By - Published on
Format: Paperback
My Old french teacher gave me this book to read when i was about 14. He was of the opinion that reading helped improve concentration - he was right. The book, i do not think, would appeal to the average reader today, it is very long and heavey going - but not taking anything away from the writer - it is exquisitly written. However, there is a part in the book, i think it is a father telling a son a story, or something like that and it will go with me to my grave. It's about an adventurer who, once he has summeted one mountain, moves on to the next and when he has traversed one desert looks for another, and so on. He is never content unless he is moving, seeing new things and having new exoeriences, but then he runs out of mountains to climb and forrests to explore. I will not give anymore away except to say that i would read the book again - just for that one little story.
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