Landscape and Englishness
In the papers collected in this, the first volume of the Spatial Practices series, Englishness is reflected in the spaces it occupies or dwells in. Broadly influenced by a renewed and growing interest in questions of cultural identity, its emergence in Victorian theories and fictions of nationality, and the new cultural geography, the papers cover a rich variety of spaces and places which have been appropriated for cultural meanings: the rural countryside and farmland of the Home Counties in the early nineteenth century as Arcadian idyll in Cobbett, as the land to die for in war propaganda, and as nostalgia for a unified, organic English culture in Lawrence, Morton and Priestley’s travel writing, but also in the Shell Tourist Guides to motoring in rural England; English moorland; the sacred geographies of monuments in Hardy and others; the traditional seaside deconstructed in Martin Parr’s photography, and the sea as English Victorian imperial territory and its symbolic breezes in Froude’s travel writing. The English landscape is also a paradigm for the description of other places in D. H. Lawrence’s travel writing or for the colonial territory itself in Rushdie’s writing India, a displacement of other landscapes. This collection of papers examines the assumption that constructions of rural England provide the basis for an understanding of Englishness.
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