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The Farmer's World

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The Farmer's World: Richard Jefferies' Agricultural Journalism in the late 1870s - new publication available now. The Farmer’s World comprises all the articles by Jefferies published in The Live Stock Journal along with an introduction by Eric Jones. The articles are forthright, almost campaigning, often urging readers to reconsider their conservative ways, to be innovative, to seek commercial opportunities and to tackle waste. ‘Middlemen’ were regularly disparaged, traditional methods of distribution questioned and imaginative schemes suggested to bring producer and consumer closer together. Jefferies also displayed a surprising ability in figures and a good grasp of mechanical engineering, explaining with clarity the workings of newly invented farming machinery. The essays collected here demonstrate Jefferies’ expertise in trade-paper journalism and contrast sharply with his later, lyrical work. He was a modernist of his time, and declares: ‘agriculture has become far too wide for the brain of any one man’. ISBN 9780956375162. Published by Petton Books, February 2016. Price £10 plus postage (RRP: UK £15).
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The Farmer’s World was reviewed in the Times Literary Supplement of 21 September 2016 by Richard Smythe in an article entitled ‘More about Butter’. It is an excellent review, and is most praise-worthy of Eric Jones’ introduction to the book. Smythe writes that ‘Faced with difficulty [making a living from writing], Jefferies diversified; given a job to do, he did it good and hard. The poise and confidence in these pieces is striking.’