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Weatherland: Writers & Artists Under English…
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Weatherland: Writers & Artists Under English Skies

by Alexandra Harris

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791215,867 (4.33)11

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"..."Weatherland” is a great achievement, wide-ranging but not confusing, packed with details yet clearly focused. With more than 60 well-integrated illustrations, the book is also beautifully produced."
 
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0500518114, Hardcover)

A lively look at the English literary and artistic responses to the weather from Chaucer and Shakespeare to Keats and Ian McEwan

In a sweeping panorama, Weatherland allows us to witness England’s cultural climates across the centuries. Before the Norman Conquest, Anglo-Saxons living in a wintry world wrote about the coldness of exile or the shelters they had to defend against enemies outside. The Middle Ages brought the warmth of spring; the new lyrics were sung in praise of blossoms and cuckoos. Descriptions of a rainy night are rare before 1700, but by the end of the eighteenth century the Romantics had adopted the squall as a fit subject for their most probing thoughts.

The weather is vast and yet we experience it intimately, and Alexandra Harris builds her remarkable story from small evocative details. There is the drawing of a twelfth-century man in February, warming bare toes by the fire. There is the tiny glass left behind from the Frost Fair of 1684, and the Sunspan house in Angmering that embodies the bright ambitions of the 1930s. Harris catches the distinct voices of compelling individuals. “Bloody cold,” says Jonathan Swift in the “slobbery” January of 1713. Percy Shelley wants to become a cloud and John Ruskin wants to bottle one. Weatherland is a celebration of English air and a life story of those who have lived in it. 60+ illustrations

(retrieved from Amazon Sun, 27 Sep 2015 11:17:26 -0400)

Writers and artists across the centuries, from Chaucer to Ian McEwan, and from the creator of the Luttrell Psalter in the 14th century to John Piper in the 20th, looking up at the same skies and walking in the same brisk air, have felt very different things and woven them into their novels, poems and paintings. Alexandra Harriss subject is not the weather itself, but the weather as it is daily recreated in the human imagination. She builds her remarkable story from small evocative details and catches the distinct voices of compelling individuals: Bloody cold, says Jonathan Swift in the slobbery January of 1713; Percy Shelley wants to become a cloud and John Ruskin wants to bottle one...Weatherland is both a sweeping panorama of cultural climates on the move and a richly illustrated, intimate account for although weather, like culture, is vast, it is experienced physically, emotionally and spiritually; as Harris cleverly reveals, it is at the very core of what it means to be English.… (more)

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