The Pageant of Summer

Thomas B. Mosher
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Publisher
Thomas B. Mosher
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Published on
Dec 31, 1904
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Pages
49
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Best For
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Language
English
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Content Protection
This content is DRM free.
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"[Terry and Brooke]'s quest to understand Jefferies' ideas of a 'soul-life' has brought the British writer's ideas alive…"
—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."
—PUBLISHERS WEEKLY


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
The Collins Nature Library is a new series of classic British nature writing – reissues of long-lost seminal works. The titles have been chosen by one of Britain’s best known and highly acclaimed nature writers, Robert Macfarlane, who has also written new introductions that put these classics into a modern context.

Nature Near London is a collection of observational pieces from locations near London at the end of the 19th Century. The depth of knowledge and of familiarity with particular places and particular species gives the impression that each small piece is the product of many years of observation.

His style of observation is a work in miniature – cataloguing the most minute details; the dancing of a flower in the wind or the darting of a cautious trout. The chapters centre on a special place, a certain species, geographical feature or habitat – everything from orchards and copses to rivers and streams.

Jefferies always explains the typical behaviour of whatever he is describing, and often contrasts what he sees with what one would expect to see in another part of the country, or in a different season. His knowledge of flowers is wide-ranging, and his ability to describe one particular patch of a field in such a specific way brings tremendous variety to the chapters that make up the book.

The final chapters are a departure – both from the character of the rest of the book, and from London itself, as Jefferies boards the train to Brighton. Suddenly he is describing people and their relationship to nature, as much as nature itself. The scope widens, less a work in miniature, more surging towards a triumphant end as Jefferies becomes ever more philosophical.

100 years on, the book becomes even more relevant than when it was published – as a reminder of the dangers of unrelenting urbanisation, but also the context of the trend that aims to recreate nature where we need it most – around our cities. Nature near London is a portrait of what we’ve lost, and a reminder of nature’s positive and calming influence. Going along with Jefferies is like taking an afternoon stroll out of the city, without having to leave your armchair.

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