Weatherland : Writers and Artists under English Skies

4.2 (204 ratings by Goodreads)
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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 Harris's 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 is vast, it is experienced physically, emotionally and spiritually; as Harris cleverly reveals, it is at the very heart of English life and culture.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 432 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 35mm | 430g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • with 59 illustrations
  • 0500292655
  • 9780500292655
  • 171,015

Table of contents

A Mirror in the Sky * Tesserae * I. 1. The Winter-Wise * 2. Forms of Mastery * 3. Imported Elements * 4. Weathervane * II. 5. 'Whan that Aprill...' * 6. Month by Month * 7. Secrets and Signs * 8. A Holly Branch * 9. 'Why fares the world thus?' * III. 10. Splendour and Artifice * 11. Shakespeare: Inside-Out * IV. 12. Two Anatomists * 13. Sky and Bones * 14. Milton's Temperature; A Pause: On Freezeland Street * V. 15. Method and Measurement * 16. Reasoning with Mud * 17. A Language for the Breeze * 18. Dr Johnson Withstands the Weather * 19. Day by Day * VI. 20. Poets in the Storm * 21. Wordsworth: Weather's Friend; A Flight: In Cloudland * VII. 22. Shelley on Air * 23. The Stillness of Keats * 24. Clare's Calendar * 25. Turner and the Sun; VIII. * 26. Companions of the Sky * 27.'Drip, Drip, Drip': Varieties of Gloom * 28. Ruskin in the Age of Umber * 29. Rain on a Grave; IX. * 30. Bright New World * 31. Greyscale * 32. Too Much Weather; Flood
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Review quote

'A fascinating portrait of that most British of preoccupations' - Independent 'A dazzling journey through the weather-worlds of English culture and history' - Robert Macfarlane 'A brilliant, beautiful and sensual book' - Sunday Times 'Gathers all the written English centuries and sets them dancing to the seasons on the head of its pin' - Ali Smith, Times Literary Supplement 'Splendid ... its glory is in the detail, in its recording of facts and lives, atmospheres and words, quirks of feeling and behaviour' - A. S. Byatt, Guardian '"years to come may be the last of English weather". If so, there is consolation in the thought that the damp glory of our island climate will live on in the works of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Constable and Turner' - Daily Mail
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Alexandra Harris studied at Oxford and at the Courtauld Institute in London, and worked at Christie's for a year before returning to Oxford to write a doctorate on art and literature in the 1930s. She is now a lecturer in English at the University of Liverpool, running courses on Modernism and American writing, and leading the MA in Contemporary Literature. Her first full-length book, Romantic Moderns, published by Thames & Hudson, was the winner of the 2010 Guardian First Book Award. Alexandra Harris was also a winner in the BBC's 'New Generation Thinkers' contest in 2011.
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Rating details

204 ratings
4.2 out of 5 stars
5 42% (85)
4 40% (82)
3 15% (31)
2 2% (5)
1 0% (1)
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