Richard Mabey on Gilbert White of Selborne, in conversation with Alexandra Harris
The Summer 2021 Weinrebe Lecture, presented as part of a new collaboration with the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing. Available to listen here now.
Richard Mabey, who celebrates his 80th birthday this year, has been bringing people closer to the natural world since his first books Food for Free and The Unofficial Countryside delighted readers with their subversive outings to the hedgerows in the early 1970s. He is on the side of the weeds that refuse to be tidied; he takes his cues from the playfulness and conviviality of swifts; he gives us all a ticket to join the exuberant ‘cabaret’ of plants.
In this conversation, Mabey reflects on his work as a biographer, and particularly on his long relationship with the great eighteenth-century naturalist Gilbert White of Selborne.
“White is talking about the possibility of birds being parallel citizens”
“I was able to find specific colonies of plants at the precise addresses where White had seen them”
Arts of Place is extremely grateful to OCLW for hosting and producing this lecture recording.
Expand your Mabey reading list with help from Profile Books: Happy 80th Richard Mabey
Pallant House Gallery explores artist’s responses to The Natural History of Selborne in Drawn to Nature.