Landscape and Memory

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One of Time Magazine's Best Books of the Year

In Landscape and Memory Schama ranges over continents and centuries to reveal the psychic claims that human beings have made on nature. He tells of the Nazi cult of the primeval German forest; the play of Christian and pagan myth in Bernini's Fountain of the Four Rivers; and the duel between a monumental sculptor and a feminist gadfly on the slopes of Mount Rushmore. The result is a triumphant work of history, naturalism, mythology, and art.

"A work of great ambition and enormous intellectual scope...consistently provocative and revealing."—New York Times

"Extraordinary...a summary cannot convey the riches of this book. It will absorb, instruct, and fascinate."—New York Review of Books

Where are the mythic places that haunt the Western mind: primeval forests, rivers of life, sacred mountains? In a series of journeys through space and time, Schama reveals a Western landscape encrusted with a rich deposit of memories and association, laid down over the centuries and bequeathed across the generations.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Marvelously rich and eloquent...Entertaining...Wonderfully learned and perceptive." —The New York Times Book Review

"[Schama's] sinewy prose is everywhere enlivened by an illuminating wit and fueled by a relentless and joyful curiosity...You get the impression he will venture anywhere, intellectually speaking, in pursuit of his historical prey...He's a scintillating guide." —The Globe and Mail

"Fascinating...A potpourri of biography, art history and much else, skillfully blended and handsomely illustrated...Insightful." —Maclean's

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Historian Schama explores the roles that have been played by landscapes in myth, art and culture. Nov.
Library Journal
Schama presents a wide-ranging meditation on the role of nature in Western civilization from ancient times to the present. The previous books by Schama humanities, Columbia Univ. include The Embarassment of Riches LJ 5/15/87 and Citizens LJ 4/1/89. In the present work, he argues persuasively that Europeans and Americans have been shaped by nature as much as they themselves have shaped nature. Schama discusses the impact of sacred or mysterious rivers, forests, and mountains in forging the Western imagination. Individuals discussed include the expected e.g., Henry David Thoreau as well as some surprises e.g., Louis XIV and Hitler. The fact that nature has had a huge impact on Western history is not a startling new revelation, but Schama is a marvelous writer and an impressive scholar. He brings together familiar and not-so-familiar stories to create a fresh reappraisal of more than 2000 years of history. Highly recommended.-T.J. Schaeper, St. Bonaventure Univ., N.Y.
From Barnes & Noble
Art, literature, history, & more combine in what the author calls "a journey through spaces and places," from tales of the ancient Thames & Germany's Odenwald woodland to discussions of Mount Rushmore & Bernini's Fountain. Color & b&w photos & illus.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679735120
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/28/1996
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 672
  • Sales rank: 481,798
  • Product dimensions: 6.64 (w) x 9.18 (h) x 1.46 (d)

Meet the Author

Simon Schama

Simon Schama is Old Dominion Professor of the Humanities at Columbia University.  He is the author of Citizens, Dead Certainties and An Embarrassment of Riches.  Simon Schama lives in New York with his wife and their two children.

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Table of Contents

Pt. 1 Wood
Prologue: The Detour
Ch. 1 In the Realm of the Lithuanian Bison
Ch. 2 Der Holzweg: The Track Through the Woods
Ch. 3 The Liberties of the Greenwood
Ch. 4 The Verdant Cross
Pt. 2 Water
Ch. 5 Streams of Consciousness
Ch. 6 Bloodstreams
Pt. 3 Rock
Ch. 7 Dinocrates and the Shaman: Altitude, Beatitude, Magnitude
Ch. 8 Vertical Empires, Cerebral Chasms
Pt. 4 Wood, Water, Rock
Ch. 9 Arcadia Redesigned
A Bibliographic Guide
Color plates follow pages 18, 82, 114, 210, 338, and 530
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