Richard Jefferies (1848-1887) was the son of a Wiltshire farmer. He never worked the land but made his living from writing, trekking across the countryside with his notebook. He spent much of his life struggling against poverty and tuberculosis, which would eventually kill him at the age of thirty-nine. As well as being in many ways the father of English nature writing, Jefferies also wrote the classic children's book Bevis and the apocalyptic science-fiction novel After London.
Richard Mabey's introduction to his selection of Jefferies' work discusses the author's life, his views on the paradoxes of rural life and his place in the tradition of nature writers.
—THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE
"…an oustanding new book…a first–rate tribute to an author who now has been rescued from obscurity."
—THE UTAH REVIEW
"…a small volume that packs a punch."
—THE DURANGO HERALD
"The couple converses with Jefferies in the book as if with a new friend…Jefferies' prescient call for solitude in nature has proven itself worth fresh consideration."
—ALBUQUERQUE WEEKLY ALIBI
"What makes The Story of My Heart such an enjoyable find is the context that Terry and Brooke provide with their own commentary."
—JACKSON HOLE NEWS & GUIDE
"The Williamses anchor Jefferies' profound inquiry to our churning world and illuminate their own passionate quests for truth and understanding."
—BOOKLIST, starred review
"Brooke and Terry give a sense of cohesion to Jefferies's writing, and leave readers with much to ponder about our own chaotic, fast–paced, work–obsessed world."
While browsing a Stonington, Maine, bookstore, Brooke Williams and Terry Tempest Williams discovered a rare copy of an exquisite autobiography by nineteenth-century British nature writer Richard Jefferies, who develops his understanding of a "soul-life" while wandering the wild countryside of Wiltshire, England. Brooke and Terry, like John Fowles, Henry Miller, and Rachel Carson before, were inspired by the prescient words of this visionary writer, who describes ineffable feelings of being at one with nature. In an introduction and essays set alongside Jefferies' writing, the Williams share their personal pilgrimage to Wiltshire to understand this man of "cosmic consciousness" and how their exploration of Jefferies deepened their own relationship while illuminating dilemmas of modernity, the intrinsic need for wildness, and what it means to be human in the twenty-first century.
Terry Tempest Williams is the author of fourteen books including Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place and When Women Were Birds. Recipient of numerous fellowships and awards, she teaches at Dartmouth and the University of Utah where she is the Annie Clark Tanner scholar in the environmental humanities graduate program. Her work has been anthologized and translated worldwide.
Brooke Williams has spent thirty years advocating for wildness, most recently with the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and as executive director of the Murie Center in Moose, Wyoming. He is the author of four books including Halflives: Reconciling Work and Wildness, and dozens of articles. Brooke and Terry have been married since 1975. They live with their dogs in Jackson, Wyoming, and Castle Valley, Utah.
Praise for Terry Tempest Williams’ When Women Were Birds
"Williams displays a Whitmanesque embrace of the world and its contradictions…As the pages accumulate, her voice grows in majesty and power until it become a full-fledged aria." —San Francisco Chronicle
Praise for Brooke Williams’ Halflives: Reconciling Work and Wildness
“…a compact yet breathtaking treatise.” —Publishers Weekly