Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “After London; or, Wild England” as Want to Read:
After London; or, Wild England
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Book* *Different edition

After London; or, Wild England

3.10  ·  Rating details ·  588 ratings  ·  95 reviews
The meadows were green, and so was the rising wheat which had been sown, but which neither had nor would receive any further care. Such arable fields as had not been sown, but where the last stubble had been ploughed up, were overrun with couch-grass, and where the short stubble had not been ploughed, the weeds hid it.
ebook, 227 pages
Published 1885 by Project Gutenberg
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about After London; or, Wild England, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about After London; or, Wild England

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  588 ratings  ·  95 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of After London; or, Wild England
Terry
2 - 2.5 stars

I would classify Richard Jefferies’ _After London_ as part of a somewhat obscure subset of post-apocalyptic fiction I like to call ‘post-apocalyptic pastoral’ along with books like Edgar Pangborn’s Davy, Richard Cowper’s The Road to Corlay, and John Crowley’s Engine Summer. Unlike the norm with post-apocalyptic fiction the world is not dominated by a radioactive wasteland, or rife with twisted mutants or lumbering zombies, and while life may be hard when compared to our own it often
...more
Anna
‘After London’ has the distinction of being a very early post-apocalyptic novel, written in 1885. This is rather the most interesting thing about it, as although some of the details are striking, the plot is very formulaic. The book begins with a lyrical evocation of England after a mysterious, ill-understood environmental disaster. Said disaster could very well be retconned as climate change upheaval, as it results in a changed sea level and a new, massive inland lake. After this disaster, the ...more
Wanda
First book read after my first cataract surgery and if I hadn’t been trapped at home, I’m not sure I would have finished it. The first whole section is primarily an info dump—how the U.K. has changed since some rather nebulous apocalypse (or maybe it was nebulous to me because I was struggling to read with one eye, a harder task that I anticipated).

I don’t require that the main character be likeable—I’ll take a curmudgeon any day as protagonist, but this young man was pretty clueless and it’s a
...more
Hilary
This was very different from the normal post-apocalyptic fare, and quite refreshing once I'd adapted to the slower pace. It was originally published in 1885, which surprised me, because I probably would have dated it at least 40 years later.

Don't expect a thrilling fast-moving adventure tale with a defined ending. Expect a detailed, immersive encyclopedic picture of the wilderness that took over from a civilisation over 30 years ago, of the animals' adaptations, of the human cultural changes and
...more
Lizixer
Described by the Observer as a strong candidate for the most beautiful of all Victorian novels, the fact of Jeffries being a nature writer shines through both in his scientific description of post apocalyptic England and the descriptions of the hero's voyages which teem with detail about the birds and landscapes he passes through. The strongest parts of the book are the descriptions of environmental collapse in the first part and Felix's trip through the nightmare landscapes of an extinct London ...more
Ira Therebel
This is one of the first post apocalyptic books written which is what made me curious to read it. Regardless that I found this book mediocre it is pretty important to the genre.

The story takes place in England where after the collapse of civilization nature takes over again and surviving people live in a society pretty much the same as the Middle ages. A young men goes on a quest to find something that he can use to marry the woman that he loves.

I found the idea very intriguing but unfortunately
...more
Jack Wolfe
Some "classics" are under-appreciated for a reason. The back-cover quote by A.S. Byatt is spot-on: the setting here is spectacular, and the book's first thirty pages, which describe the slow takeover of a post-apocalyptic London by its natural elements, have hardly aged a day (they're comparable to what Alan Weisman does in "The World Without Us," even). Sadly, "After London's" descent into "suck" territory is swift and profound-- it's like Jeffries expended all of his imaginative energy on ...more
Sam Kabo Ashwell
An early scientific postapocalypse, and a strange book. Jefferies was primarily a nature writer, and the first half of the book is dedicated to a biology-first view of succession and speciation in a post-collapse UK. River mouths have silted up, and much of southern England is now a great lake fed by the Thames and Severn; humans have divided into castes more or less based on Victorian classism, so that indigents become the savage aboriginal Bushmen, gypsies remain gypsies while getting more ...more
Marne Wilson
The first section of the novel is a “factual and scientific” account of what happened to the infrastructure of the city of London after British civilization fell due to an unknown catastrophe. It reminded me very much of The World Without Us, and it was fascinating to see that many of Alan Weisman’s conclusions had been anticipated by Jefferies almost 150 years earlier.

The second section follows a more traditional narrative structure and tells the story of Felix Aquila, a young nobleman in the
...more
Kai Schreiber
The first part of the book is splendid, while the adventure story in the second drags a bit and ends very suddenly in the middle of things. So much so, in fact, that I went online to see if my Gutenberg Ebook was incomplete.

There are many themes in that narrative, none of which are seen through. This might actually be a design, to show the aimlessness of history, that the catastrophe in the first part is already pointing to, on a more private scale. Say the wrong thing and a story that seemed to
...more
Bill FromPA
Jan 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, victorian
Starting in on After London immediately after Earth Abides, I felt at first that I was reading a different draft of the same novel. Like Stewart, Richard Jeffries tells how a radically depopulated land, England in this case, returns to a state of nature as cultivated land and domesticated animals become wild and untamed with the hand of man removed. Similarities between the two novels quickly disappear, however; where Stewart confined his story to the lifetime of one man following the fall of ...more
mica
So I can't say I ...loved this book. It starts out with an interesting but lengthy and meandering bit of world-building, which was by far my favourite bit. The reader learns that the great cities of the ancients (us, 100 years ago-ish) have become flooded and the pollution and chemicals in those cities have made those marshes that were once great cities (London, ie. After London) too toxic and dangerous for people to travel through. Additionally, reading has become a carefully guarded secret of ...more
Ken Ryu
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An apocalyptic event has decimated London. Jefferies does not dwell on the cause of the catastrophic events. He begins by depicting the changes to the flora, fauna and mankind. A Darwinian winnowing and transformation of plant and animal life is radical. Industrialization and the cities are decimated. The human population is greatly thinned out.

The book takes a sudden turn a quarter of the way in. We are introduced to a survivor in one of the more civilized towns. His name is Felix. The story
...more
Mike
Nov 04, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: victorian-lit
After London is an interesting piece of Victorian literature. Jefferies' novel is both a post-apocalyptic speculative fiction and a sort of neo-medievalist fantasy. A devoted naturalist, Jefferies fills his fiction with detailed descriptions of flora and fauna, altered ecosystems, and man's relationship to the natural world. Unfortunately, Jefferies can get a little too into his nature writing--the narrative proper doesn't begin until about 50 pages into the novel--and at times the book feels ...more
Rex
Jun 28, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a gangly little chimera of a book. It straddles without perfectly integrating post-apocalyptic speculative world-building and medieval errant fantasy. The plot could be described either as unpredictable or as aimless, as its sulky and often hapless protagonist, Felix, routinely squanders what he gains on the journey that takes up most of the story. Jefferies does display noticeable craft in particular elements of the story, and the brief encounter with sunken London manages to enchant ...more
Diogo Muller
Apr 06, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People really curious about early sci-fi
This is an interesting book. It's a very, very early post-apocalyptic sci-fi book. In it, the world reverts back to the medieval times, thanks to an unexplained phenomenom. The world created by the author is creative and interesting. The fact that this book was written more than 100 years ago also makes it even more interesting - some of the science may be wrong, but most of the things described by the author sound plausible!

However, not everything is perfect. The plot has a few interesting
...more
Maria Longley
A curious book in two halves. The first charts the re-wilding of Britain after an unspecified disaster wipes out London and most of civilisation. The second half is more like a medieval adventure story where Felix is off to find his fortune so he can marry his love in this new feudal society. This is an early example of post apocalyptic fiction (which had some nicer outcomes in it given that this is pre-nuclear).

Richard Jeffries is better known for his nature writing (well, at least I know him
...more
lauren
Not a fan of this one, unfortunately! I found the narrative very disengaging, and the plot a little boring. I liked the idea that nature reclaimed England - that domesticated animals ran free and London was overgrown with weeds - but I found the actual story very dull. The characters had no development, and I was a little bored following only Felix around.

I found the country's relapse into barbarism a little strange - Jefferies put emphasis on class, such as the lower-class being more
...more
Sam Browne
The first half of the book was a masterclass in telling a non-anthropocentric story. We instead get a gods eye view of the landscape as it changes. This blurs the gap between the reader and the world until the character itself is the landscape and the death and life that takes place within it become an inconsequential ebb and flow to the overall story. Time becomes a fluid thing that moves as it needs and feels ultimately unnecessary.

Then a point of view is introduced and time is introduced and
...more
Justin
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
‘Never, as I observed before, was there so beautiful an expanse of water. How much must we sorrow that it has so often proved only the easiest mode of bringing the miseries of war to the doors of the unoffending. Yet men never weary of sailing to and fro upon it, and most of the cities of the present time are upon its shore. And in the evening we walk by the beach, and from the rising ground look over the waters, as if to gaze upon their loveliness were reward to us for the labour of the day.’
Louisa
Some beautiful descriptions of the English countryside after modern civilisation has suffered an unspecified "cataclysm", as you'd expect from Jeffries, who was mainly known for his nature writing. But the plot is an afterthought, and Felix is pretty insufferable, so it was a slog to finish. Theoretically interesting as one of the first post-apocalyptic novels, but I wouldn't particularly recommend it.
Jennifer
More like 3.5 stars. slow paced but the world is wonderfully described. Very very early post apocalyptic SF (sort of) and it shows in the many many left open threads but its a good take on what might happen to society if everything goes tits up. I don't need to know what caused the problem so that didn't bug me about the novel, puts the reader in the same boat as the characters since they don't know either.
Ida Aasebøstøl
Jun 27, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Curious for being an early post-apocalyptic piece. There's no story (really, just words stacked on words stacked on a young man's revenge/grandiosity fantasies), but if you just read part I -and perhaps chapter 23 - you get a gist of the story there could have been.
Part I with an illustrative map could easily have been published on its own.
Paul Reid
Aug 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At Last!!

At last, a beautifully crafted, beautifully formed, and highly realistic post apocalyptic world! No Hunger Games here! An absolute pleasure to read. I want more of this world.
Harry
Jan 02, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
book 1 is pure world building and one of the best apocalyptic settings ever created.
book 2 is a story happening within that setting. the story is quite generic and often boring. there's a dinner scene that drags on way too long. I wouldn't fault someone for skipping book 2.
Spurnlad
May 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: apocalyptic
For a book written in the 1880's a very informed and well-though out view, especially on the development of the countryside and society after an apocalyptic event.

The main story line is VERY Victorian in its rendering, it could almost have been written by a Pre-Raphaelite artist, but entertaining anyway.
Chiefdonkey Bradey
A dark orb grazes the world - water and the wildwood cover England - an early parable of endarkment - unsettling and beautiful
Enrique Puricelli
Interesting book but inconclusive ending. As if author wanted to write a sequel which never came to be.
knig
Jan 08, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The literary equivalent of Wiseau's 'the room' : worst of breed.
Emma
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The most boring book I have ever had the displeasure of reading.
« previous 1 3 4 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Dystopian Society: July Classic book 1 11 Jul 01, 2017 12:54PM  
2015 Reading Chal...: After London by Richard Jefferies 1 9 May 05, 2015 08:41PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Last Man
  • News from Nowhere
  • The Water Babies
  • The King in Yellow
  • The Purple Cloud
  • A Voyage to Arcturus
  • Confessions of an English Opium Eater
  • The Difference Engine
  • Gloriana; or the revolution of 1900
  • What Not: A Prophetic Comedy
  • Burn (Melt, #4)
  • Day Four (The Three #2)
  • Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Vol. 1
  • A Journal of the Plague Year
  • The Return of the Native
  • Braco
  • Windows on the World
  • The Foggiest Notion
See similar books…
26 followers
(John) Richard Jefferies (1848-1887) is best known for his prolific and sensitive writing on natural history, rural life and agriculture in late Victorian England. However, a closer examination of his career reveals a many-sided author who was something of an enigma. To some people he is more familiar as the author of the children’s classic Bevis or the strange futuristic fantasy After London , ...more