The lecture will present an account of Jefferies’ antiquarian interests, and his mystical engagement with nature in archaeological landscapes. The first part will explore how Jefferies used maps and objects to explore the human place in a locality. The second part will consider how archaeological sites and objects feature in The Story of My Heart (1883) and After London (1885), and how archaeological language and phraseology – gleaned from Jefferies’ knowledge and understanding of the discipline – both informs and develops his literary expression.
For Jefferies, archaeological objects and sites were points of contact with the past. More than this, however, archaeological thought aided the expression of his philosophical meditations on the human condition. The lecture will explain the significance of places and sites in his work, including the Isle of Wight, Pevensey Castle, Ditchling Beacon, Beachy Head, Liddington Hill and the Wiltshire Downs.You can read more on the Richard Jeffieries Society website. I gave this lecture myself back in the 1990s.