"[Terry and Brooke]'s quest to understand Jefferies' ideas of a 'soul-life' has brought the British writer's ideas alive "
THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE
" an oustanding new book a firstrate tribute to an author who now has been rescued from obscurity."
THE UTAH REVIEW
" a small volume that packs a punch."
THE DURANGO HERALD
"The couple converses with Jefferies in the book as if with a new friend Jefferies' prescient call for solitude in nature has proven itself worth fresh consideration."
ALBUQUERQUE WEEKLY ALIBI
"What makes The Story of My Heart such an enjoyable find is the context that Terry and Brooke provide with their own commentary."
—JACKSON HOLE NEWS & GUIDE
"The Williamses anchor Jefferies' profound inquiry to our churning world and illuminate their own passionate quests for truth and understanding."
BOOKLIST, starred review
"Brooke and Terry give a sense of cohesion to Jefferies's writing, and leave readers with much to ponder about our own chaotic, fastpaced, workobsessed world."
While browsing a Stonington, Maine, bookstore, Brooke Williams and Terry Tempest Williams discovered a rare copy of an exquisite autobiography by nineteenth-century British nature writer Richard Jefferies, who develops his understanding of a "soul-life" while wandering the wild countryside of Wiltshire, England. Brooke and Terry, like John Fowles, Henry Miller, and Rachel Carson before, were inspired by the prescient words of this visionary writer, who describes ineffable feelings of being at one with nature. In an introduction and essays set alongside Jefferies' writing, the Williams share their personal pilgrimage to Wiltshire to understand this man of "cosmic consciousness" and how their exploration of Jefferies deepened their own relationship while illuminating dilemmas of modernity, the intrinsic need for wildness, and what it means to be human in the twenty-first century.
Terry Tempest Williams is the author of fourteen books including Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place and When Women Were Birds. Recipient of numerous fellowships and awards, she teaches at Dartmouth and the University of Utah where she is the Annie Clark Tanner scholar in the environmental humanities graduate program. Her work has been anthologized and translated worldwide.
Brooke Williams has spent thirty years advocating for wildness, most recently with the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and as executive director of the Murie Center in Moose, Wyoming. He is the author of four books including Halflives: Reconciling Work and Wildness, and dozens of articles. Brooke and Terry have been married since 1975. They live with their dogs in Jackson, Wyoming, and Castle Valley, Utah.
Praise for Terry Tempest Williams’ When Women Were Birds
"Williams displays a Whitmanesque embrace of the world and its contradictions As the pages accumulate, her voice grows in majesty and power until it become a full-fledged aria." San Francisco Chronicle
Praise for Brooke Williams’ Halflives: Reconciling Work and Wildness
“ a compact yet breathtaking treatise.” Publishers Weekly
|Publisher:||Torrey House Press|
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About the Author
John Richard Jefferies (6 November 1848 14 August 1887) was a British novelist and essayist who helped pioneer the field of modern nature writing. Jefferies described the English countryside with an intimate vividness and expansive passion that inspired both his contemporaries and later writers.
Terry Tempest Williams is the author of fourteen books including Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place, and most recently, When Women Were Birds. Recipient of John Simon Guggenheim and Lannan Literary Fellowships in creative nonfiction, she is the Annie Clark Tanner scholar in the Environmental Humanities Graduate Program at the University of Utah. Her work has been anthologized and translated world-wide.
Brooke Williams has spent thirty years advocating for wildness, most recently with the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and as the Executive Director of the Murie Center in Moose, Wyoming. He holds an MBA in Sustainable Business from the Bainbridge Graduate Institute and a Biology degree from the University of Utah. He’s written four books including Halflives: Reconciling Work and Wildness, and dozens of articles. He is involved in The Great West Institute, a think tank exploring expansion and innovation in the conservation movement and is currently working on a book about ground-truthing.
Brooke and Terry have been married since 1975. They live with their dogs in Jackson, Wyoming, and Castle Valley, Utah.
Scott Slovic is professor of literature and environment and chair of the Department of English at the University of Idaho. He served as founding president of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment from 1992 to 1995, and since 1995 has edited ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment. The author of more than 200 articles in the field of ecocriticism, he has also written, edited, and co-edited twenty-one books, including Seeking Awareness in American Nature Writing and Going Away to Think.
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The Story of My Heart: As Rediscovered by Brooke Williams and Terry Tempest Williams based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Today’s Transcendentalists Have you ever been overcome by a sense of awe and wonder? Perhaps outside watching the sun set over a roiling ocean or watching the Milky Way spin overhead on a moonless night? Perhaps you had a sense that you were small yet connected, insignificant and humble yet in touch with something much bigger than yourself, something huge. It is a transcendent feeling, one that Brooke Williams and Terry Tempest Williams are intimately familiar with, and one they recognized right away when they picked up an antique copy of THE STORY OF MY HEART by nineteenth century naturalist and mystic, Richard Jefferies. There, in a charming New England independent bookstore, kindred spirits connected over the generations. Full disclosure: I am co-publisher at Torrey House Press, publisher of this rediscovery publishing project with Brooke and Terry. At THP we think the nineteenth -century transcendentalists including Richard Jefferies, and today Brooke and Terry, are on to something. It is a big something that is at the cutting edge of realizing meaning and significance. In THE STORY OF MY HEART, Richard Jefferies speaks of the soul being “the mind of my mind.” Jefferies was tuned into the fast-breaking science of his day. He knew about atomic spectral analysis which was discovered very near the time he wrote THE STORY OF MY HEART. He knew about Darwin’s ideas of evolution (and did not accept them). But whenever Jefferies spent time in natural environments he was thrilled and overwhelmed by the experience of being connected to something greater than religion, or science, or anything that common comprehension allowed. Jefferies had what religious scholar Marcus Borg would call a “thin rind.” He was more sensitive and more aware than most. Like the great mystics before him, Jefferies was easily connected to something real and big out there and it nearly drove him nuts trying to express what he found and experienced. Today in science, the source and reason for human consciousness remains a mystery. To a pure and reasoned scientist, our sense of self and awareness and free will is necessarily but an elegant illusion, an epiphenomenon that springs from the electro-chemical mechanics in our brains. To most scientists that is, perhaps not to all. The Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum physics invokes consciousness as the source of a probability wave collapse that brings into existence a material particle where before there was only probability. It is an interpretation that has withstood the rigorous inquiries of science for nearly one hundred years. And it is at the quantum uncertainty level that there comes the possibility of choice, the possible source of the free will and sense of self that we all have. Adventurous thinkers today are considering the brain as a quantum amplifier that can convert the realm of the quantum into that of the material world. There is a notion that a universal consciousness is required to make this new hypothesis work. In that hypothesis, it works out that the material world springs from consciousness, not the other way around. Following this line of logic, there are legitimate questions of whether consciousness might be an element of the universe, just like space and time. And since we humans are creatures that evolved in the wild, it is back home in the wild that we can be most connected to this universal element, and it is through us that the universe becomes aware and continues to evolve. It well could be that Jefferies was better than most at linking in with universal consciousness. His tool was to get outside and pay attention. With his resulting experience he rejected the idea that he was a simple creation of ancient religious myths or that he was just an elegant machine of science. Brooke and I have discussed how these notions exist somewhere between the disciplines of science and philosophy. Thus it takes free and bold thinkers like Brooke and Terry, smart and objective but not confined to a narrow academic silo, to engage with their life own experiences and more deeply explore this source of meaning, of significance. In that sense they are the new Transcendentalists. Working with them on this adventure of thought has been an honor and privilege for us at Torrey House. A truly transcendent experience.