After London, or Wild England by Richard Jefferies
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I just started. The text is small in my copy, and is slow going. Good job on being already halfway through. Also, I just sent you a letter. You should be getting it soon in the mail. Thanks for the typewriter letter.
I think these first few chapters are quite good and remind me of some of Walt Whitman's vignettes on various natural elements. I particularly like the effort Jefferies goes into when describing the steps from the corn and other grain surpluses to the increase of mice. It seems that Dick here was touching on some ecological themes that I really didn't expect to ever read from a Victorian author. I am intrigued about the Gypsies and Bushmen. Also the timeline of the narrator's point of view. How does he know how the grass takes back the road? Was he there? Why is then so clueless about the ancients? More on this later.
There are definitely some liberties taken when it comes to the knowledge possessed by his narrator, who I take to be a later day historian. But in the end I forgave him of it because I think it was necessary for him to get his points across. Besides, I think for Jefferies the point wasn't necessarily to produce flawless literature, so much as use the book as a vessel to deliver a reproachful assessment of his society's ecological depredations. I think he was particularly not fond of cities.
I wonder what he would think of modern Britain now that the Industrial Revolution that was only then just beginning has run its full course?
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