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Landscape and Memory Hardcover – Apr 1995


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 37 pages
  • Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf; 1 edition (April 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679402551
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679402558
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 18.4 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 352,602 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Simon Schama is University Professor of Art History and History at Columbia University and the prize-winning author of fourteen books, which have been translated into twenty languages. They include The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age; Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution; Landscape and Memory; Rembrandt's Eyes; the History of Britain trilogy and Rough Crossings, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award. He has written widely on music, art, politics and food for the Guardian, Vogue and the New Yorker. His award-winning television work as writer and presenter for the BBC stretches over two decades and includes the fifteen-part A History of Britain and the eight-part, Emmy-winning Power of Art. The American Future: A History appeared on BBC2 in autumn 2008.

Product Description

Review

‘One of the most intelligent, original, stimulating, self-indulgent, perverse and irresistibly enjoyable books I have ever read.’ Philip Ziegler

‘This is a tour de force of vivid historical writing…It is astonishingly learned, and yet offered with verve, humour and an unflagging sense of delight.’ Michael Ignatieff, IOS

‘Simon Schama is a giant, a great thinking machine and a golden lyricist as well. He takes us beyond geololgy and vegetation into myth and memory, to unravel the ancient connections which bring mountain, forest and river into our soul.’ Brian Masters, MoS

‘Schama long ago established himself as one of the most learned, original and provocative historians in the English speaking world…Unclassifiable, inimitable, fascinating, “Landscape and Memory” will inform and haunt, chasten and enrage. It is that rarest of commodities in our cultural marketplace – a work of genuine originality.’ Anthony Grafton, New Republic

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Simon Schama is University Professor of Art History and History at Columbia University. He is the author of 'Patriots and Liberators', which won the Wolfson Prize for History, 'The Embarrassment of Riches', 'Citizens' which won the 1990 NCR book award for non-fiction, 'Dead Certainties', 'Landscape and Memory' which won the W H Smith Literary Award in 1995, and 'Rembrandt's Eyes' (1999). He is also the author of the monumental 'History of Britain' published in three volumes. He was art critic of the 'New Yorker' from 1995 to 1998 and was made CBE in the 2001 New Year's Honours list.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. K. A. Wheatley TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 25 Sept. 2010
Format: Paperback
I enjoy Simon Schama's work very much. I loved his series on The Power of Art, and the book that went with it, and was utterly engrossed in his book on the French Revolution. This however, was an entirely different kettle of fish. In this book about our connection as a people with the landscape that surrounds us, our almost genetically coded ideas about the wilderness and our relationship with the land at an environmental, spiritual and national level I really struggled to connect with the material.

Half the problem was the massive weight of the book. It took me weeks to finish as it was a hardback, large format book coming in at nearly 900 pages, and was just far too big for me to carry around, as I do most books I am reading. This meant that I was confined to reading at home, preferably with a table underneath it to support its substantial weight.

The rest of my difficulties came from the fact that I struggled to find a coherent narrative which held the book together. There was definitely a coherent argument and set of ideas underpinning the material, but the sections of the book were not laid out particularly sympathetically to the reader struggling to find their way through the huge quantities of materials, sources, illustrations and notes.

There were some sections I enjoyed more than others. The section on the Anglo Saxon forests and their appropriation and abuse by the Norman aristocracy were fascinating, as was the section on the romantic idea of the mountains and the gradual touristification of the French Alps and Pyrenees. I struggled more with the sections on the Germanic walds and the American relationship with the wilderness, perhaps because I came to these areas with less prior knowledge of them.
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70 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Peter V. Giraudo on 7 Dec. 1999
Format: Paperback
In a wide sweep of history that encompassess as unlikely a set of figures as Varus, a Roman general responsible for a catastrophic lost battle in the Black Forest and a 19th century French founder of the concept of "eco-rambling", Simon Schama has produced a stunning work that seeks to answer the central question: is our view of nature ruled by the mind, or by magical human interpretations? Woven into this rich,scholarly tapestry of ideas we meet the man who carved Mt. Rushmore and Hermann Goering. How are these people's ideas linked (or not) to Thoreau is just one of the questions answered by Schama.
There are few books that could match this pyrotechnic display of learning and exposition of aesthetic views of nature that have shaped warfare,politics,religion and modern ecology. It is impossible to view today's environmentalism before reading this provocative and insightful book the same way as when one puts it down.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Peasant TOP 500 REVIEWER on 18 Oct. 2010
Format: Paperback
This book attempts something so subtle, yet so huge, that it daunts the imagination. Schama looks, in dizzying depth, at the way we exist in the natural world; not through technology, or maps, or as something outside nature acting upon it, but at how our minds and culture are shaped by our experience of the outside and of the natural.

Undoubtedly it is a heavy book, both literally and metaphorically, but it is all "gist". The text is full of wonderful stuff and repays reading slowly and with pauses for consideration. I would hate to have to read this against the clock for study.

"Landscape and Memory" will not appeal to everyone who enjoys Schama's work. It has little to do with traditional "kings and wars" history, and feeds into the study of art at a level so fundamental that many art students won't "get" it. It is most likely to be appreciated by landscape painters, anthropologists, philosophers and cultural historians, especially any with cross-disciplinary interests.

Despite its difficulties, this is a masterpiece. It will change to way you see the world and its effect on the mind will linger long after you have read it. Don't expect to take it on holiday as an erudite alternative to the latest best seller; it needs longer than that and deserves it.

If you have read this, and enjoyed it, I think you will "get" 18 Folgate Street: The Tale of a House in Spitalfields which, though it has a very different subject matter, is related in the way it looks at the world. You could also check out the work of W. G. Sebald
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Colin Eley on 30 Jun. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Everything is 'going' for Landscape and Memory. Contradicting the claim that traditional books are on the verge of being totally superseded by E books, Simon Schama's book is an absolute treasure of a book. Not only is Landscape and Memory brilliantly written by a hugely admired historian, it is also a thing of beauty. Primarily this is a book lovers book, with its absolutely gorgeous illustrations, many of them in full colour, and the quality of its paper, making the turning of each page a sensual delight. This is the kind of book that captivates with every turn of every page, and, no matter how much I love my e reader, I will always want to pick up, fondle, and indulge in the truly sensuous act of reading something of beauty.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By rob crawford TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 15 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback
THis is an odd and remarkable book, a tour of history that mixes art criticism, economic analysis, and even gastronomy. It moves between so many subjects - from a German artist parodying Hitler's siegheil to empty fields, Hasidim logging in the woods of Poland dressed in their customary suits, to the Baroque fountains in French parks - that it is impossible to summarise his message, except to say that we Westerners have a changing relationship with forest, rock, and water.

I was dazzled by Schama's erudition and mastery of language, as he moved from making connections between Egyptian mythology and the fountains of Rome, or the myth of Robin Hood and rustic Englsh eccentrics of the 19C. This is a book that enhances one's experience, particularly if you live in EUrope and every day walk by the things that he describes. For example, I read it while we were living on the edge of Fontainebleau forest, in France, and inside the back cover of the book, I found a map of the forest that included our village of 600! To my astonishment, I then went on to read that Fontainebleau was apparently the first forest to have marked paths for hikers who visit from industrial cities, a method pioneered by a somewhat loopy bonapartist who had retired to the area, and whom the local authorities watched with suspicion in mid 19C. For anyone who loves hiking or sitting outside, you will find sections like that that speak to you, that are illuminating in a quirky personal way.

However, while these passages are wonderful and fun, for me they did not add up to much of anything beyond anecdotes. I enjoyed the facts, as a kind of entertainment that passed by as I read on, but they failed to coalesce into any deeper insights.
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