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Later Fiction

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Greene Ferne Farm

 

Richard Jefferies based many of his scenes on the people and places that he knew around his birthplace and home at Coate in north Wiltshire.

 

Richard wrote to a publisher about an early version of Greene Ferne Farm as follows:


If the plot be subtracted I think I may say that nine tenths of my novel is the results of experience. Even the drunkard – Augustus Basset – is a sketch from life, and the original (now poor fellow deceased) was a member of a ‘county’ family which fell by degrees to the unhappy state described. The country folk are all also from life, the farmers, labourers etc. and if you wished I could even mention names in some cases: of course in confidence. The scenery is that of the Wiltshire Downs – from Ashdown (in Berks) to Salisbury Plain; they are my native hills and I know them well. The ancient dolmen which plays a part in the story actually exists. The second volume especially is drawn from nature: I have myself spent more than one summer night on the Downs, you would scarcely believe how beautiful the morning is just before the sun rises. I have tried to describe it: but the colours are not to be put on paper. I would rather like to take your attention to the second volume. The old farmer and miller Andrew Fisher was also a living character – he is not forgotten even now, and his house was ransacked when he died. Of course I have disguised the characters sufficiently that they should not be recog­nized too easily: but the substance is accurately portrayed.

 

This new edition of the novel includes an introduction by George Miller taken from Richard Jefferies: A Bibliographical Study by George Miller & Hugoe Matthews (Aldershot: Scolar Books, 1993).


The cover image is of Chiseldon Church taken from an oil painting by Kate Tryon circa 1910, Richard Jefferies Museum, Coate. This is the church depicted in Greene Ferne Farm.


       Greene Ferne Farm


      Petton Books


      ISBN:978-0-9522813-6-8


      Price (soft-back) £5.00 plus £1 postage UK


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Amaryllis at the Fair

A new edition of Amaryllis at the Fair, with an introduction by Carolyn Clarke, was published on 6 November 2009.
Amaryllis at the Fair was first published in 1887 – the year of the author’s premature death from tuberculosis.

There is a strong auto-biographical element portrayed in the scenes of country life set at Jefferies’ birth-place and home at Coate – a small dairy farm in north Wiltshire. The characters in the book are, in part, portraits of himself, his family or acquaintances.
                              
The story begins with young  Amaryllis excited at finding the first daffodil in bloom in the garden of Coombe Oaks farm. She interrupts her father, busy planting his favourite potatoes –“forty-folds” – to admire the flower. She enthuses: 
                                 “Only think, to open in all this wind, and so cold—isn’t it beautiful? It’s much more beautiful than the flowers that come in the summer.”         
      
Front cover image from an illustration by F D Bedford, (London: Duckworth & Co., 1906.)
                            
Amaryllis at the Fair
Published by Petton Books
ISBN:  978-0-9522813-9-9
Softback
Price £6.00.  Second class postage UK £1.04

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The Dewy Morn

A new edition of The Dewy Morn, with an introduction by Rebecca Welshman, was published on 6 November 2009.   

The Dewy Morn was first published in 1884. It is a love story set in the foothills of the Marlborough Downs in north Wiltshire where Jefferies was born and raised.

 

The plot centres on the beautiful Felise Goring who hankers after farmer and landowner Martial Barnard. But Barnard cannot permit himself to return her love. The villain of the story is Robert Godwin, the Squire’s steward. Godwin is heartless in the way he treats agricultural workers who have served the Squire well for generations. The steward also harbours a secret about Felise that sends him insane. Jefferies writes about the condition of the rural poor with authority and feeling whilst his passion for nature is ever present in his descriptive passages. 

 

Scarce had the sun dried up the dewy morn,

And scarce the herd gone to the hedge for shade,

When Cytherea, all in love forlorn,

A longing tarriance of Adonis made

                                                          Shakespeare

          

                   The Dewy Morn

                Published by Petton Books in softback

              ISBN:  978-0-9522813-8-2 

                 UK Price: £7.00

                 2nd class postage UK: £1.04

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