Walks and Talks of an American Farmer in England

Overview

"Before he ever dreamed of becoming a landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903) visited southern England and Wales during a month-long walking tour. A gifted writer, he recorded his impressions of the trip in a richly detailed volume, first published in 1852 and reprinted here in its entirety. "In Walks and Talks," writes Charles C. McLaughlin, author of the new introduction, "Olmsted is reporter, social analyst, narrator, dramatist, scene-painter, and humorist, employing a wide range of modes and styles to give us the sights, ...
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Walks and Talks of an American Farmer in England

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Overview

"Before he ever dreamed of becoming a landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903) visited southern England and Wales during a month-long walking tour. A gifted writer, he recorded his impressions of the trip in a richly detailed volume, first published in 1852 and reprinted here in its entirety. "In Walks and Talks," writes Charles C. McLaughlin, author of the new introduction, "Olmsted is reporter, social analyst, narrator, dramatist, scene-painter, and humorist, employing a wide range of modes and styles to give us the sights, sounds, and mental impressions of rural England in 1850."" "The introduction clarifies the links between Olmsted's developing picturesque aesthetic, social conscience, and reformer's passion for change. McLaughlin offers a persuasive argument that Olmsted would come to adapt many of the features of the cultivated English countryside - first seen on this trip - in designed landscapes such as New York's Central Park." This edition provides extensive annotations to the original text, furnishing background and context to the people and places Olmsted encountered during his journey. McLaughlin's notes are based on his own trips through England, undertaken over the past two decades to retrace the author's original route.
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Editorial Reviews

The New Yorker
In 1863, at the peak of the Civil War, a package turned up on President Lincoln's desk containing stereoscopic images of the municipal wonder taking shape up in New York: Central Park. These high-tech photographic scenes were intended to soothe the President's nerves, just as the Park has calmed New Yorkers for generations. This summer is the hundred-and-fiftieth anniversary of the state's wise decision-influenced by the preƫminent nineteenth-century landscape designer Andrew Jackson Downing-to set aside a giant chunk of swampy Manhattan ground for the creation of the first major landscaped public park in the United States. Central Park, An American Masterpiece, by Sara Cedar Miller, the Park's official historian, is itself a welcoming oasis, teeming with photographs of lush meadows, rustic pergolas, whimsical bridges, and Catskills-inspired ravines. The Park's eight hundred and forty-three acres, we learn, are easily discernible by shuttle astronauts; its sunken transverse roads were the prototype for the modern highway system; and its Great Lawn, originally a reservoir, was filled in with rubble from the Rockefeller Center construction site. The park we know today-featuring Balto the sled dog, Cleopatra's Needle, and Wollman Rink-descends from design entry No. 33, the famous "Greensward" plan of architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. The University of Massachusetts Press has reprinted Walks and Talks of An American Farmer in England, Olmsted's engaging account of his 1850 ramble around England and Wales, including his fateful encounter with Birkenhead Park, near Liverpool. "This magnificent pleasure-ground," Olmsted wrote, "is entirely, unreservedly, and for ever the people's own.

( Mark Rozzo)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781425522346
  • Publisher: University of Michigan Library
  • Publication date: 9/28/2006
  • Pages: 252
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.53 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface to the Reprint Edition ix
List of Donors xiii
Acknowledgments xv
Introduction to the Reprint Edition xix
Notes to the Introduction lvii
Walks and Talks of an American Farmer in England 1
Volume 17
Volume 2247
A Pilgrimage (from the 1859 edition) 431
Appendix A 435
Appendix B 447
Appendix C 449
Appendix D 457
Editor's Notes 463
Index 515
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