12:13pm Thursday 21st April 2011
Whilst the following is subject to copyright, I'm sure that the TLS would not object to you relaying the concern of Adam Thorpe in his letter to the editor as fillows: TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT Letters to the Editor April 15, 2011-04-19 Richard Jefferies Sir, - Sean O'Brien's mention of Richard Jefferies in his review of Edgelands by Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts (March 11) was apposite; Jefferies told us to look for "uncommon species" in "uninteresting places behind incomplete buildings . . . where speculation has been and gone" (The July Grass, 1889). Poignantly, his own cherished landscape beside the family farm (now the Richard Jefferies Museum) is under imminent threat as Swindon's edgelands advance to Coate - the fields and copses that feature in his works to be replaced by 900 houses and a business park, and renamed "Commonhead".
The area's "high landscape value" having been removed by a planning officer ignorant of its liter¬ary significance back in 2005, the latest report has decided that Jeffer¬ies "is not known or thought of in the same way as more major figures such as Hardy or Words¬worth" and that his "works" are what matters - a view which, despite chiming with a certain strain of literary theory, betrays a total ignorance of said works.
The development should have been rubber-stamped by Swindon Borough Council in early March. Surprisingly, the decision was deferred several weeks, the councillors responding to protest. Further proof of this Swindon child's international significance is urgently needed, and I call upon concerned readers of the TLS to write to Councillor Roderick Bluh (Swindon Borough Council, Civic Offices, Euclid Street, Swindon SN1 2JH, UK), to this end.
ADAM THORPE 1 Grand' Rue, Nimes.
Based on information supplied by Jean Saunders.
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