Landscape and Englishness

By David Matless,

Book cover of Landscape and Englishness

Book description

Landscape has been central to definitions of Englishness for centuries. David Matless argues that landscape has been the site where English visions of the past, present and future have met in debates over questions of national identity, disputes over history and modernity, and ideals of citizenship and the body. Landscape…

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Why read it?

1 author picked Landscape and Englishness as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Landscapes like the White Cliffs of Dover, the Cotswolds, or the Lake District are celebrated icons of national identity. 

David Matless shows how, in the first half of the twentieth century, these landscapes became sites of contestation between different visions of the nation. For some, committed to landscape preservation but also to a self-consciously modernizing planning ethos, Englishness was about neat, tidy landscapes, free from litter, pollution, and poverty. For others the real England was traditional, hierarchical, and unplanned, exemplified by the great estates with their country houses and landscape gardens. 

The fundamental question this book raised for me, one…

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