Since rising to fame in 1967, when his work The Peregrine was awarded the Duff Cooper Memorial Prize, J. A. Baker has captured popular imagination with his vivid depictions of British landscapes and native wildlife. Compelling, strange, and at times both startlingly funny and cruel, Baker's prose is at one with his image as a writer, which has, since the publication of his first work, been characterised as an obsessive recluse.
Next to nothing was known about Baker, who died in 1987, until an archive of his materials and those related to him was brought together and given to the University of Essex in 2013. Now it has been possible to piece together an accurate view of the life and unpublished work of the man whose writing has become 'the gold standard for all nature writing' (Mark Cocker), and whose work has influenced naturalists including Richard Mabey and Simon King, and screenwriters David Cobham and Werner Herzog.
This new book showcases some of the most compelling parts of the Baker Archive, containing previously unknown details of Baker's life as well as previously unpublished poems. It provides an invaluable new insight into both the sensitive, passionate character of J. A. Baker and the state of late twentieth-century Britain, a country experiencing the throws of agricultural and environmental change.
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