Richard Jefferies (1848-87) has long been recognised as an interpreter of English country life and a natural observer with few if any equals.
He was an idealist, who believed that human beings could free themselves from outworn ideas and achieve a greatly enlarged spiritual and physical capacity.
A 'poet-naturalist' with an ecological vision, who understood the place of human beings in relation to the 'household' of life on earth, he was both mystic and realist, and his writings show the beauty of 'wild England' but also the harsh conditions of labouring life in the victorian countryside.
In his art of seeing, Jefferies was a precursor of modernist techniques, and an influence on modern nature writings and poetry.
The variety of his gifts as a writer and thinker is reflected in the diversity of his admirers, who include Edward Thomas and W.
H. Hudson, Q. D. Leavis and Henry Miller. Jeremy Hooker's new selection represents Jefferies at his best, and reveals his contemporary significance.