The Story of My Heart

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The Story of My Heart is a book first published in 1883 by English nature writer, essayist, and journalist Richard Jefferies.

The book has been described as a "spiritual autobiography" where Jefferies idealises the English countryside as a sort of utopia. The book and its themes have been compared to the transcendentalist movement. [1] Other Transcendentalist themes concerning rapturous union with Nature can be found in the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Thoreau, and John Muir. The scholar Roger Ebbatson considers that the book's "speculative" spiritualism is emblematic of the decline of Christian belief in the more empirical Victorian era. [2] The French writer Alexis de Tocqueville explicitly warned against too strong an identification with nature, describing it as "pantheism" and a departure from Christianity. Indeed, Christianity has always had a vexed relationship with those who worship nature: is it right and proper to preserve and adulate God's natural creation or better to subjugate, control and exploit it?

Critical reaction to the book was mixed. A new edition of The Story of My Heart published in 2014 notes that the American conservationist Rachel Carson had two copies of the book at her bedside, but others found the work "barely comprehensible".[3]


  1. ^ Corporaal, Marguérite; Evert Jan, van Leeuwen (2010). The Literary Utopias of Cultural Communities, 1790-1910. Rodopi. p. 131. ISBN 978-9042029996.
  2. ^ Ebbatson, Roger (2006). Heidegger's Bicycle: Interfering with Victorian Texts. Sussex Academic Press. p. 39. ISBN 978-1845191054.
  3. ^ "Nonfiction Book Review: The Story of My Heart". Publishers Weekly. September 22, 2014. Retrieved October 4, 2016. Jefferies, as Brooke notes, had his share of admirers and intense critics—Rachel Carson purportedly kept two copies of the book at her bedside; others deemed it “utterly chaotic” and “barely comprehensible.”

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