Wild Life in a Southern County (Nature Classics Library) Paperback – 25 May 2011
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About the Author
Richard Jefferies (1848-1887) gained his first writing experience composing descriptive sketches for the North Wilts Advertiser. He published his first book The Goddards of North Wiltshire in 1863 and went on to publish numerous novels and factual works as well as continuing to contribute to papers such as the Pall Mall Gazette. His most popular books were those about rural life. Despite a serious illness in 1881 and a debilitating wasting disease which forced him to dictate his work to his wife, Jeffries continued to write until his death in 1887. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
The book itself is a glimpse of country life in the latter part of the nineteenth century. It's nature writing of course, but because it's now nearly 150 years old, it's also a historical document. It describes an area of countryside around Swindon starting on the ramparts of an ancient hill fort dropping down towards a farm and village, through woodland to a stream and a lake. The sections in the village about the people and their work are particularly evocative, connecting the reader with a world long gone.
The thing that struck me most was the sheer quantity and variety of the wildlife (particularly birdlife) that Richard Jefferies describes. He knows he is documenting a changing world - he speaks of hedges and other habitats being destroyed for agriculture and of species that have become rarer within his own lifetime. His knowledge of the habits of some of the creatures can only come from many hours of long and detailed study. To the modern nature lover though it is shocking how nonchalantly he then speaks of picking up his gun and shooting for sport. How anyone could shoot a kingfisher I will never know.
It's an interesting and informative and beautifully written. My only (very slight) criticism is that for a relatively short book, it did seem to go on a bit. Recommended for anyone interested in nature and/or history.
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