The Language of Landscape

The Language of Landscape

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Description

This eloquent and powerful book combines poetry and pragmatism to teach the language of landscape. Anne Whiston Spirn, author of the award-winning The Granite Garden: Urban Nature and Human Design, argues that the language of landscape exists with its own syntax, grammar, and metaphors, and that we imperil ourselves by failing to learn to read and speak this language. To understand the meanings of landscape, our habitat, is to see the world differently and to enable ourselves to avoid profound aesthetic and environmental mistakes. Offering examples that range across thousands of years and five continents, Spirn examines urban, rural, and natural landscapes. She discusses the thought of renowned landscape authors-Thomas Jefferson, Frank Lloyd Wright, Frederick Law Olmsted, Lawrence Halprin-and of less well known pioneers, including Australian architect Glenn Murcutt and Danish landscape artist C. Th. Sorensen. She discusses instances of great landscape designers using landscape fluently, masterfully, and sometimes cynically.And, in a probing analysis of the many meanings of landscape, Spirn shows how one person's ideal landscape may be another's nightmare, how Utopian landscapes can be dark. There is danger when we lose the connection between a place and our understanding of it, Spirn warns, and she calls for change in the way we shape our environment, based on the notions of nature as a set of ideas and landscape as the expression of action and ideas in place.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 320 pages
  • 152.4 x 233.68 x 17.78mm | 680.39g
  • Yale University Press
  • New Haven, United States
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • 84 b-w illus.
  • 0300082940
  • 9780300082944
  • 215,878

About Anne Whiston Spirn

Anne Whiston Spirn is professor of landscape architecture and regional planning and director of the Urban Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania. She is director of the West Philadelphia Landscape Project, an action-research program integrating research, teaching, and community service, and she chairs the Advisory Council to the Territorial Directorate of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris.show more

Review quote

"Landscape speaks to us. But how? Anne Spirn's superb and unique achievement is to spell out the 'how' so that we can better understand landscape's variant dialects its distinctive personalities and respond intelligently, with appropriate emotion." Yi-Fu Tuan, emeritus professor of geography, University of Wisconsin-Madison "Anne Whiston Spirn brings to her reading of landscapes the eye of an artist, the mind of a scholar, and the pen of a gifted writer. There are a few books that have the power to change the way one sees the world. This is one of them." William Cronon, author of Changes in the Land "Spirn has thought deeply about landscape and human responses to it. Her new book...offers a myriad of stimulating impressions and suggestions and pursues a wide array of intellectual issues...All will appreciate Spirn's sensitive eye and her vivid descriptions." Choiceshow more
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