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Richard Jefferies, After London; or Wild England

Richard Jefferies
Edited by Mark Frost

Paperback (Forthcoming)
eBook (ePub) i
eBook (PDF) i

A scholarly edition of a significant and exciting late Victorian science fiction novel

Richard Jefferies’ After London is uncanny and intriguing, an adventure story, quest romance, dystopia, and Darwinian novel rolled into one, but also a pioneering work of Victorian science fiction. Imagining a mysterious natural catastrophe that plunges its people into a barbaric future, Jefferies remarkable novel drowns and destroys London and depicts a challenging ‘Wild England’ dominated by nature and filled with evolved animals and devolved humans. Of its time but also distinctively modern, After London can, in its uneasy expression of Victorian and post-Victorian anxieties about industrial development, urbanisation, natural resources, and climate, be regarded as one of the first novels of the Anthropocene. This new critical edition provides one of the earliest examples of a global catastrophe novel that is part of a flowering of nineteenth-century science fiction. It situates After London in a tradition of mid-late Victorian texts that respond to the evolutionary theories of Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace and responds to a host of other key social, political, and cultural issues of the period.

Key Features

  • Opens up readings that situate the text in relation to a range of literary, cultural and biographical contexts including Jefferies’ life, ideas, and works
  • Includes a chronology of Jefferies' life, a list of his key works, a detailed scholarly introduction, and appendices including the text of 'The Great Snow', a catastrophe short story set in London; and 'Alone in London'; both of which reveal his attitude to London, urban life and the future of humanity


1. Introduction
2. Further Reading
3. A Richard Jefferies Chronology
4. After London
Or Wild England
Part I: The Relapse Into Barbarism
I. The Great Forest
II. The Animals
III. Men Of The Woods
IV. The Invaders
V. The Lake
Part II: Wild England
I. Sir Felix
II. The House Of Aquila
III. The Stockade
IV. The Canoe
V. Baron Aquila
VI. The Forest Track
VII. The Forest Track Continued
VIII. Thyma Castle
IX. Superstitions
X. The Feast
XI. Aurora
XII. Night In The Forest
XIII. Sailing Away
XIV. The Straits
XV. Sailing Onwards
XVI. The City
XVII. The Camp
XVIII. The King’s Levy
XIX. Fighting
XX. In Danger
XXI. A Voyage
XXII. Discoveries
XXIII. Strange Things
XXIV. Fiery Vapours
XXV. The Shepherds
XXVI. Bow And Arrow
XXVII. Surprised
XXVIII. For Aurora
5. Notes On The Text
6. Appendices: Supplementary Writings By Richard Jefferies.

About the Author

Mark Frost is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Portsmouth. He writes widely on environment, literature, and culture in the nineteenth century, and published The Lost Companions and John Ruskin’s Guild of St George in 2014. Recent and forthcoming works include studies of Ruskin, Charles Dickens, William Morris, Richard Jefferies, and ecology in late Victorian science fiction. His current research is focused on pastoral in Victorian fiction.


After London is an imaginative foray into the evolutionary  results of ecological catastrophe: the Victorian Oryx and Crake. A quasi-medieval romance set in a re-pastoralized England, and simultaneously a gem of avant-garde science fiction, Richard Jefferies’ masterpiece has been expertly brought back into the limelight by Frost’s fine scholarly edition.

- John Plotz, Brandeis University

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