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The Cotswolds: A Cultural History (Landscapes of the Imagination) [Hardcover]

Jane Bingham
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 43.98 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

18 Feb 2010 Landscapes of the Imagination
The Cotswolds have featured on a thousand country calendars, but what is the real story behind the picture-perfect rural scene? Jane Bingham reveals a history of privilege and poverty, idyll and conflict, through the eyes of travellers, writers and artists. Lying in the heart of Southern England, the Cotswolds occupy a significant place in the history of the nation. Ancient stone circles and ruined Roman villas provide reminders of a distant past. Fine churches and manor houses survive from the prosperous Middle Ages, and the landscape also bears the scars of Civil War. The home of kings and nobles since Saxon times, the region is famous for its grand estates, while signs of an industrial age can be seen in its mills and factories. After the wool trade reached its peak in the fifteenth century, the fortunes of the Cotswolds suffered a slow decline as its villages sank into picturesque decay. But in the 1890s the region began to experience a remarkable transformation. It was then that William Morris and his followers discovered the area, establishing thriving centres for Arts and Crafts. In the following century, writers and artists moved to the Cotswolds and there followed a steady rise in tourism. Today, the region continues to attract visitors, as well as country-weekenders and celebrities. Observing all these changes, and picturing the landscape, has been a lively company of writers, artists and musicians. Some, like Laurie Lee, belong to a particular place, while others have viewed the Cotswolds as outsiders. In their writings, art and music, they have all celebrated the distinctive, and sometimes surprising, character of the Cotswolds. FAMOUS FIGURES: Elizabeth I at Woodstock; Charles I at Edgehill; Marlborough and Churchill at Blenheim; The Mitford sisters at Swinbrook; Prince Charles at Highgrove; Damien Hirst at Toddington Manor. THE ARTS AND CRAFTS MOVEMENT: William Morris at Kelmscott and Broadway; C. R. Ashbee at Chipping Campden: Ernest Gimson and the Barnsley brothers at Sapperton. WRITERS AND MUSICIANS: William Shakespeare in the northern hills; Alexander Pope at Cirencester Park; Laurie Lee in the Slad Valley; T. S. Eliot at Burnt Norton; Ralph Vaughan Williams and A. E. Housman on Bredon Hill.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (18 Feb 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195398769
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195398762
  • Product Dimensions: 2.3 x 14.3 x 20.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,105,498 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

JANE BINGHAM writes on history and art. A prolific author of books for young people, she has also written on English heritage for the national and local press. She is currently a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Oxford Brookes University. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good overview 24 May 2011
By wgc
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a thoughtful publication which takes an interesting thematic approach to the cultural history of the Cotswolds. This makes for a lighter and much more engaging read. Recommended for anyone with an interest in the area.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly interesting for a guidebook 28 Aug 2013
By sgt lamb - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This guidebook was recommended for a hiking tour in the Cotswalds with Road Scholar. I did not expect to find it more than mildly helpful, nor did I expect to read the whole thing. But the more I read, the more I wanted to read it, and finished it cover to cover. It's full of historical information about not only the Cotswolds but England. It also led me to other useful writings,including and especially "Lifting the Latch" by Sheila Stewart. If you want a very good read about English rural commoners in the 19th century, their trials and fortitude, this is it. This is a great guidebook, and more.
5.0 out of 5 stars fun guide 25 Jun 2013
By Deborah J. Harper - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read this to prepare for hiking the Cotswolds Way. It was very informative and there are sections easy to skip and others easy to go to. I found I knew as much as many of the museum volunteers I ran into!
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