Saturday, 5 July 2014

Landscape and Memory by Simon Schama

This is a huge, lavishly illustrated book that explores the human relationship with landscape and the natural world. It's divided into four sections: Wood; Water; Rock and Wood, Water, Rock. Each explores the theme through quite specific case histories: the story of the making of Mount Rushmore; the making of the first singposted woodland walk at Fountainbleu; royal hunting in the forests of Bialowieza.

It feels quite a daunting read, largely because of it's size. I read it section by section and broke off to read other things in between, which isn't something I usually do. But it's a strangely magical book, I was really drawn into the various worlds it reveals and it does give a wonderful range of insights into our relationship with the natural world and how that has developed and varies in countries including Lithuania, Germany, France, UK and USA.

And the illustrations are magnificent, including colour plates of paintings by artists including JMW Turner and John Cozens.

Landscape and Memory by Simon Schama, published by Harper Collins, 1995.

As ever, red text contains hyperlinks that take you to other webpages where you can find out more.


A Cuban In London said...

I'm a big Schama fan. I saw his recent series on the history of Jews. In fact, I've got the book based on the series (or is it the other way around?) in my to-buy list. Thanks for this.

Greetings from London.

RG said...

I like those beautiful landscape pictures from years and years ago where the artist usually put a small figure into them .. I guess to show the magnitude and also the human connection ..

Maureen @ Josephina Ballerina said...

Thinking about landscape and memory. We, ourselves, are landscape made from the very stuff around us. A friend in a bank line once heard someone from the American west remark she couldn't wait to get back and be away from all the "violent green" here on the east coast. Huh.
I, myself, am a cool and green and shady girl - at home in violent green.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Hi Cuban - Landscape and Memory was possibly also a tv series,

Rabbits Guy - I like that way the olf artists showed perspective too

Maureen - one think I noticed when I visited the wert of the USA was the lack of green and i missed it

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I read non-fiction that way all the time (sections at a time, interspersed with fiction, because sometimes my weak brain can't handle the truth. Or ... if I'm really tired I don't want to fall asleep when I'm reading something important).

Anyway...this book sounds quite remarkable and I am very curious how he talks about Mt Rushmore in a natural history book. We have such mixed feelings about that monument and about the one to Crazy Horse in the same area (which we like better actually). Destroying a mountain even to make something awe inspiring seems somehow wrong. But we keep going back to see the progress of Crazy Horse.

I'll look for this book.