Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Richard Jefferies Society publish three important books relating to the Victorian nature writer, Richard Jefferies.

Richard Jefferies' first job was as a reporter for the North Wilts Herald, although he believed that he might achieve fame as a novelist. Shortly after marrying Jessie Baden from Day House Farm the second of his novels entitled ‘Restless Human Hearts’(1) was published in 1875. At the time, the reviews killed the book. The plot was described as grossly immoral and an offence against decency. One reviewer advised that the book should be kept under lock and key. The novel was never re-issued and any existing copies sell for around £200. Whilst the Richard Jefferies Society might find fault with the novel that would have benefited from good editing, they believe that the neglected book is worth a second chance and they have published it for the first time in over 130 years with an introduction by Andrew Rossabi, a past President of the Society.

The second book published is an index of Richard Jefferies’ works (2). No-one has ever attempted to compile an index of a collection of books before, which, in itself is a major achievement. It is an index of themes, thoughts and observations: partly a word-index (e.g. names of species) and partly a subject-index (e.g. Nature and Man, Farming, Religion) - the emphasis is on the non-fictional writings.

The final book is a biography of Richard Jefferies entitled ‘The Interpreter’ (3) which documents his life from birth to death.

The books are on sale at the Richard Jefferies Museum at Coate, open on the second Wednesday of the month from 10am to 4pm and the first and third Sundays from 2-5pm until the end of September. Orders can be made through Amazon or by contacting the Richard Jefferies Society direct.

(1) ‘Restless Human Hearts’ by Richard Jefferies, Petton Books 2008, ISBN: 978-0-9522813-3-7, 480 pages. Softback: £8, Hardback: £20 plus £2 postage.

(2) ‘Richard Jefferies: an Index’ by Hugoe Matthews and Phyllis Treitel, Petton Books 2008, 260 pages, ISBN: 978-0-9522813-2-0. Hardback only: £15 plus £2 postage.

(3) ‘The Interpreter: a biography of Richard Jefferies’ by Audrey Smith, Blue Gate Books 2008, 192 pages with black and white illustrations, ISBN: 978-0-9555874-3-6. Softback only: £5 plus £1 postage.