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.
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.
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