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Watership Down

I watched the first episode of Watership Down last night on Netflix. It’s the best thing I’ve watched in a long time.

This is a new production of the Richard Adams novel by the BBC. There are four episodes.

Watership Down was originally published in the United Kingdom in 1972. The American edition was published in 1974. I read the book soon after it was published in the U.S., and I have reread it at least twice since then. I know the story, but whether you know the story or not, this BBC production is thrilling — and terrifying.

I don’t think that Richard Adams really meant Watership Down as an eco-parable. But it is that, though the story also is much more. The decimation of farmland to turn it into suburbs has been going on for a long time. I see Richard Adams as a kind of empath. I have to imagine that he loved the countryside and that, like Tolkien, it greatly disturbed him to see countryside lost. A writer’s imagination would then have a very natural way of lingering on what the loss of farmland would feel like to a rabbit. He felt their needs, their vulnerability, their contentedness (when they had it), and most of all he felt their fear and their panic. This is not a story for young children.

According to the Wikipedia article, Watership Down was rejected by publishers seven times before it was accepted, with no advance, by a one-man London publishing house, Rex Collings. Collings died in 1996. I hope he died rich.

Richard Adams died on Christmas Eve in 2016, at Oxford, at age 96.


  1. Karren Coplen wrote:

    I have loved the book forever and reread it so many times I’ve lost count. “Going tharn,” is so descriptive of what happens to all of us sometimes when life gets to be too much is so very clearly apt at times that it pops up in my mind when that happens to me. What a marvelous book, and I’ll be sure to check out the series. If it’s half as good as the book, it’ll be a treasure. And I hate what’s happening to my Indiana countryside too.

    Tuesday, December 25, 2018 at 9:57 am | Permalink
  2. daltoni wrote:

    Hi Karren… It occurred to me that I ought to check and see if the personalized license plate “HRUDUDU” is available in my state. 🙂

    Tuesday, December 25, 2018 at 10:03 am | Permalink

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