Landscape and Memory

Tuesday, 11th May 2004, page 2 of 2
Wild West Yorkshire nature diary

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Landscape and MemoryI've finished with the walks and the walks book but I've also come to the end of what has been quite a journey for me: through Simon Schama's Landscape and Memory. At times I was overwhelmed with the scholarship of it, for instance, when he describes the details of plumbing in the fountain Bernini constructed for the Pope Innocent X, I found myself thinking 'what has this got to do with the way myth and memory linger in familiar landscapes?' (a lot in Schama's thesis).

But there's so much that is fresh, vivid and challenging in its 600 plus pages that I would recommend it and, who knows, some day, I might come back to it (though I'm more likely to come back to Franck, which for me is more practical). I'd love now to have a chance to see the television films that Schama made of it (could anyone out there lend me the video please?).

Again, to give you the flavour of it, here's one quote. The one Schama gives at the beginning and at the end of his book, and which is the paradox that lies at the heart of his argument:

'It is in vain to dream of wildness distant from ourselves. There is none such. It is the bog in our brains and bowels, the primitive vigor of Nature in us, that inspires that dream. I shall never find in the wilds of Labrador any greater wildness than in some recess of Concord, i.e. than I import into it.'

Henry David Thoreau,
Journal, August 30, 1856

Yes, that's spot on: for these sketchbooks that I have in mind, and for what I should be doing in this online diary.

But now, back to book design . . . Next Page

Related Link

A history of Simon Schama

Richard Bell,

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