After London - Or, Wild England
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Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — After London by Richard Jefferies. The meadows were green, and so was the rising wheat which had been sown, but which neither had nor would receive any further care. Such arable fields as had not been sown, but where the last stubble had been ploughed up, were overrun with couch-grass, and where the short stubble had not been ploughed, the weeds hid it.
After some sudden and unspecified catastrophe has depopulated England, the countryside reverts to nature, and the few survivors to a quasi-medieval way of life. The first part, The Relapse into Barbarism , is the account by some later historian of the fall of civilisation and its consequences, with a loving description of nature reclaiming England. The second part, Wild England , is an adventure set many years later in the wild landscape and society.
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The book is not without its flaws but is redeemed by the quality of the writing, particularly the unnervingly prophetic descriptions of the post-apocalyptic city and countryside. Summary by Ruth Golding and Wikipedia Get A Copy.
Paperback , pages. Published October 11th by BiblioLife first published More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about After London , please sign up.
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Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Dec 20, Terry rated it it was ok Shelves: fantasy , post-apocalypse , sci-fi , audio-books. Unlike the norm with post-apocalyptic fiction the world is not dominated by a radioactive wasteland, or rife with twisted mutants or lumbering zombies, and while life may be hard when compared to our own it often 2 - 2.
Unlike the norm with post-apocalyptic fiction the world is not dominated by a radioactive wasteland, or rife with twisted mutants or lumbering zombies, and while life may be hard when compared to our own it often does not display the level of nasty and brutish shortness more common in other examples of the genre at large. To be sure our advanced society has fallen and life has reverted to a much simpler mode usually, as is the case in this volume, one approximating the Middle Ages , but this reversion to simplicity is often seen as an improvement, or at least is not denigrated as a curse.
The book itself is divided into two main sections. Once the second part of the story comes to what might be considered the epicentre of the fall, the site of the lost city of London itself, I think the post-apocalyptic element of the story becomes important for what Jefferies wanted to accomplish and shows itself to be more than simply a veneer. This is a world where man is at odds with both nature and his fellow man, though as always it is in the latter conflict where the greatest evil lies.
Our protagonist Felix is a scion of the noble house of Aquila which has fallen on hard times and is out of favour with the court. Restless with the apparent lack of opportunity to improve his prospects due to the oppressive constraints placed on him by his rigid society, Felix decides to leave his home and make a voyage upon the great inland lake that now dominates the centre of England in the hopes of finding his fortune and winning the hand of his great love Aurora.
So far so medieval romance, especially as his first adventure puts him in the army camp of a venal prince besieging a nearby town. Stumbling upon the site of fallen London Felix finds a landscape that is no longer the lush riot of nature that has dominated the world thus far and we see something that reminded me of nothing so much as a post-nuclear wasteland. The earth itself is dead, some portions hard as iron, others crumbling as though made of rotten wood.
After London: or, Wild England
Emanations from the ground produce a toxic miasma the hangs over everything and we even see human remains whose depiction astonishingly reminded me of the after-images of a nuclear blast. Felix manages to escape from this poisonous wasteland and eventually stumbles upon a society of primitive shepherds to whom his somewhat more advanced knowledge, and especially his ability to ward off their gipsy enemies with the long bow a weapon unknown to them , win him a place of leadership amongst them that may bring about the realization of all of his hopes and dreams.
Ultimately it was a pleasant enough story, though somewhat frustrating and even haphazard in the inconsistencies that appear to exist between the set-up and ultimate execution. This is rather the most interesting thing about it, as although some of the details are striking, the plot is very formulaic. The book begins with a lyrical evocation of England after a mysterious, ill-understood environmental disaster. Said disaster could very well be retconned as climate change upheaval, as it results in a changed sea level and a new, massive inland lake.
After this disaster, the population is greatly reduced, for the very prosaic reason that everyone with enough wealth to leave has departed. This results in the return of a prelapsarian natural environment, largely consisting of forest. I very much enjoyed the account of the progress of brambles across the roads and saplings across the fields, the return of dogs, cows, and pigs to a predomestic state. Subsequently the book follows the aptly-named Felix, a very highly strung young man who leaves his home and much more pragmatic sweetheart Aurora , setting out in a canoe to have adventures.
For the time in which it was written, the book is deeply reactionary.
Not only does it glorify an environment unspoiled by man, with lavish descriptions of the wildlife therein, but it vilifies the remains of civilisation. The London of the title is a poisonous wasteland, an area of pollution and death. Nothing lives there and people foolish enough to venture in are lucky to escape alive, as industrialisation has poisoned its air, soil, and water. Few structures or artifacts remain from this tainted past; even technologies of the Middle Ages have been forgotten. On the other hand, the plays of Sophocles have survived and the story includes a performance of Antigone.
The author seems to yearn for simpler times, perhaps a return to some mythical Ancient Greek golden age. That said, the society depicted is a deeply flawed one, something that Felix unwisely cannot keep quiet about.
Wild England - After London, reading Richard Jefferies
There is a strong critique of feudalism to be found here, notably in the ironic fact that most poor people are slaves, yet use of the word slave is taboo. And as an ode to radical rewilding, it certainly paints a delightfully vivid picture. Mar 31, Wanda rated it it was ok Shelves: guardian , university-library , brit-lit , read-in , post-apocalyptic. The first whole section is primarily an info dump—how the U.
And that despite the fact that very little happens. Then, at the end, when things begin to happen, the author yanks him out of the plot again, and sends him off on a mission that seemed to me to be quite hopeless. The end. I could only recommend it as an example of many things that should not be done in a post-apocalyptic novel. Certainly save your money and do not buy it. Feb 17, Hilary rated it really liked it Shelves: netgalley , apocalyptic-dystopian.
This was very different from the normal post-apocalyptic fare, and quite refreshing once I'd adapted to the slower pace. It was originally published in , which surprised me, because I probably would have dated it at least 40 years later. Don't expect a thrilling fast-moving adventure tale with a defined ending.
Expect a detailed, immersive encyclopedic picture of the wilderness that took over from a civilisation over 30 years ago, of the animals' adaptations, of the human cultural changes and This was very different from the normal post-apocalyptic fare, and quite refreshing once I'd adapted to the slower pace. Expect a detailed, immersive encyclopedic picture of the wilderness that took over from a civilisation over 30 years ago, of the animals' adaptations, of the human cultural changes and the understanding that what caused this destruction has probably been lost in the transition to oral history.
The first fifth gives the reader a view through the distant lens of time, as if a time lapse camera were panning across the scene. Dec 26, Lizixer rated it liked it. Described by the Observer as a strong candidate for the most beautiful of all Victorian novels, the fact of Jeffries being a nature writer shines through both in his scientific description of post apocalyptic England and the descriptions of the hero's voyages which teem with detail about the birds and landscapes he passes through. The strongest parts of the book are the descriptions of environmental collapse in the first part and Felix's trip through the nightmare landscapes of an extinct London Described by the Observer as a strong candidate for the most beautiful of all Victorian novels, the fact of Jeffries being a nature writer shines through both in his scientific description of post apocalyptic England and the descriptions of the hero's voyages which teem with detail about the birds and landscapes he passes through.
The strongest parts of the book are the descriptions of environmental collapse in the first part and Felix's trip through the nightmare landscapes of an extinct London which are truly gripping. I was less enthralled with the descriptions of future feudal societies although there is some interest in Jeffries proto-socialist philosophising about the corruption of the nobility, the inability of the lower classes to overthrow a society that they recognise to be rotten and which enslaves the vast majority of them and the eulogising of a society of workers the Shepherds where men and women's work is of equal value, sharing and hospitality are the norm and war is for defence rather than glory or gain as in the other societies Felix encounters, which, perhaps, were the parts that were said to give William Morris such inspiration for his News from Nowhere in which "absurd hopes curled around Mar 19, Jack Wolfe rated it it was ok.
Some "classics" are under-appreciated for a reason. The back-cover quote by A. Byatt is spot-on: the setting here is spectacular, and the book's first thirty pages, which describe the slow takeover of a post-apocalyptic London by its natural elements, have hardly aged a day they're comparable to what Alan Weisman does in "The World Without Us," even. Sadly, "After London's" descent into "suck" territory is swift and profound-- it's like Jeffries expended all of his imaginative energy on back Some "classics" are under-appreciated for a reason.
Sadly, "After London's" descent into "suck" territory is swift and profound-- it's like Jeffries expended all of his imaginative energy on backstory, leaving no wit or creativity or interest at all for his characters Felix Aquila has to count as one of the least likeable protagonists I've ever encountered , plot arc where is the damn CONFLICT?
If you skipped pages of this novel, you would not only NOT miss out on a single thing of importance-- you would save yourself a hundred pages of sheer boredom if you know of a less thrilling or erotic love story than Felix and Aurora's, please alert me so that I can never experience that story myself. Heck, if you skipped pages i.
Whatever point Jeffries has to make is deftly summarized by his wonderful first several chapters. This book might work in a classroom, where the author's concern with society would be contextualized and deepened by outside sources On it's own, "After London" is mostly a total drag. Aug 02, Kai Schreiber rated it liked it.
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The first part of the book is splendid, while the adventure story in the second drags a bit and ends very suddenly in the middle of things. So much so, in fact, that I went online to see if my Gutenberg Ebook was incomplete. There are many themes in that narrative, none of which are seen through.