Richard Jefferies

(1848—1887) writer and mystic

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writer and naturalist, the son of a Wiltshire farmer. He first attracted attention with The Gamekeeper at Home: Sketches of Natural History and Rural Life (1878). This, together with Hodge and his Masters (1880), appears to have influenced Hardy's article of 1883, ‘The Dorsetshire Labourer’. Jefferies relied greatly on ‘field notebooks’, where he entered his meticulous observations on the life of the countryside. His other works include Wild Life in a Southern County (1879); The Amateur Poacher (1879); Wood Magic (1881), in which a solitary boy lives in a magical world of speaking wild animals; Bevis, The Story of a Boy (1882), an evocation (for both adults and children) of his country childhood. The book for which he is probably best known, The Story of My Heart (1883), tracing the growth of his unorthodox beliefs, caused some scandal; After London (1885) is a savage vision of the future, in which London is a poisonous swamp inhabited by cruel dwarfs; The Open Air (1885) is a collection of essays. Amaryllis at the Fair (1887) contains in Iden an impressive portrait of Jefferies's father.

Subjects: Literature.

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Works by Richard Jefferies

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