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Poetry, Space, Landscape
Toward a New Theory


  • Date Published: June 2005
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521673495

£ 35.99

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About the Authors
  • Why was the art of landscape painting invented in the fifth century BC, abandoned with the collapse of Rome, and revived again in the High Middle Ages? Did the Greeks, or the ancient Christians perceive the natural world differently from the way we do now? In Poetry, Space, Landscape, Chris Fitter traces the history of nature-sensibility from the ancient world to the English Renaissance, setting poems and paintings in the widely differing cultural contexts that created them. He suggests a new social and historical theory of the conceptualisation of space, explaining the rise and fall of the idea of 'landscape'. And he argues that enduring basic categories of perception create different readings of natural reality determined by our social and material relations with nature.

    • Wide-ranging and interdisciplinary survey of major cultural, historical and literary phenomenon
    • Interweaving of literature, painting, history and formal thought
    • Major addition to Cambridge University Press's prestigious Literature, Culture, Theory series
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… Chris Fitter provides us with a fascinating, challenging and ambitious account of 'a way of seeing' and its cultural preconditions.' Garrett. A. Sullivan, Early Modern Literary Studies

    'The sweep is huge, the erudition immense, and the writing … is vivid, muscular and varied.' Trevor Whittock, British Journal of Aesthetics

    'The exceptional range of this book encompasses chapters on Biblical landscape, the theory and practice of landscape in late Antiquity and the Church Fathers, and the transition from medieval to Renaissance aesthetics. A rich chapter on seventeenth-century English poetry concludes with fresh and substantial re-readings of Milton, Marvell, and many of their contemporaries in the light of this long tradition of landscape art.' Modern Language Notes

    'His theorizing is neither abstruse not dull … he displays a huge knowledge of literature over a wide span of history.' John Metson, Landscape Research

    'The sensitivity to language and literary effect is a constant delight and illumination. On Marvell especially … the analyses move with a sprightly but scholarly verve which matches the poet himself … At a time when most academic prose is either thrombotic with jargon or at best thinly prosaic, one should conclude by congratulating Professor Fitter on a prose style which memorably illumines lucid, ratiocinative discourse with images of just figurative power.' Edward Wilson, The Review of English Studies

    'Anyone looking for a link between perception, experience and literary expression will be pleased with the rich discussions s/he will find here, particularly of premodern cultures. One of the virtues of this book is its permanent theoretical awareness: if theories determine what we perceive, then Fitter has indeed helped us to a new perception of 'our' nature.' Wolfgang Riedel, Journal for the Study of British Cultures

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2005
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521673495
    • length: 356 pages
    • dimensions: 216 x 140 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.45kg
    • contains: 18 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of Illustrations
    1. Toward a theory of 'landscape' and landscape perception
    2. The values of landscape: an historical outline in the ancient world
    3. Landscape and the Bible
    4. Late antiquity and the Church Fathers
    5. Medieval into Renaissance
    6. Seventeenth-century English poetry
    Select bibliography

  • Author

    Chris Fitter, Rutgers University, New Jersey

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