A study of the ways landscape was perceived in nineteenth-century Britain and France, this book draws on evidence from poetry, landscape gardens, spectacular public entertainments, novels and scientific works as well as paintings in order to develop its basic premise that landscape and the processes of perceiving it cannot be separated. Vision embraces panoramic seeing from high places, but also the seeing of ghosts and spectres when madness and hallucination impinge upon landscape. The rise of geology and the spread of empires upset the existing comfortable orders of comprehension of landscape. Reverie and imagination produced powerful interpretive actions, while landscape in French culture proved central to the rejection of conservative classicism in favour of perceptual questioning of experience. The experience of subjectivity proved central to the perception of landscape while the visual culture of landscape became of paramount importance to modernity during the period in question.
Table of Contents
Contents: Preface; Panorama; Ghosts and visions; Into the abyss of time; Reverie and imagination; Cythera and the loss of Venus in France; The 'new Cythera': Bougainville, Hodges, Gaugin in Tahiti; Monet re-states and Mallarmé suggests the subject matter; Bibliography; Index.
Michael Charlesworth is Associate Professor in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Texas at Austin, USA. He has published research on both eighteenth and nineteenth century subjects, especially on landscape and the history of gardens. He is the author of The Gothic Revival 1720-1870: Literary Sources and Documents (2002) and The English Garden (3 vols, 1993), and has published essays on the picturesque, early photography, cartography, and the late twentieth-century artists Derek Jarman and Ian Hamilton Finlay.
'...a consistently illuminating and eloquent study of landscape perception and its metaphoric resonances throughout the visual and literary arts of nineteenth-century Europe. The remarkable breadth of reference and the inter-media range of the book will engage a wide academic audience concerned with the prevailing and interwoven tropes of nature, the visual imagination, and cultural identity during this period...' Brian Lukacher, Vassar College, USA
’In shuttling across the field of landscape and visual culture, Charlesworth does not restrict himself to landscape painting, but rather widens his view, developing, as a result, a highly inter-textual treatment of the field of landscape and visual culture. The resulting volume is a rich exploration of the intersections across the registers of cultural media, taking in painting, literature novels, gardens and public entertainments. ...the result of reading this volume is a sense of time well spent and of many things having been learned, the sort of polymathical education that too few contemporary volumes manage to deliver.’ Landscape History