Literary Landscapes
The anticipated follow-up to the book lovers' favorite, Literary Wonderlands, LITERARY LANDSCAPES delves deep into the geography, location, and terrain of our best-loved literary works and looks at how setting and environmental attributes influence storytelling, character, and our emotional response as readers. Fully illustrated with hundreds of full-color images throughout. Some stories couldn't happen just anywhere. As is the case with all great literature, the setting, scenery, and landscape are as central to the tale as any character, and just as easily recognized. LITERARY LANDSCAPES brings together more than 50 literary worlds and examines how their description is intrinsic to the stories that unfold within their borders.Follow Leopold Bloom's footsteps around Dublin. Hear the music of the Mississippi River steamboats that set the score for Huckleberry Finn. Experience the rugged bleakness of New Foundland in Annie Proulx's The Shipping News or the soft Neapolitan breezes in My Brilliant Friend. The landscapes of enduring fictional characters and literary legends are vividly brought to life, evoking all the sights and sounds of the original works. LITERARY LANDSCAPES will transport you to the fictions greatest lands and allow you to connect to the story and the author's intent in a whole new way.

Literary Landscapes Details

TitleLiterary Landscapes
Author
ReleaseNov 13th, 2018
PublisherBlack Dog & Leventhal
ISBN-139780316561822
Rating
GenreWriting, Books About Books, Travel, Science, Geography

Literary Landscapes Review

  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    The sense of place can be a major factor in a book’s success – did you know there is a whole literary prize devoted to just this? (The Royal Society of Literature’s Ondaatje Prize, “for a distinguished work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry, evoking the spirit of a place.”) No matter when or where a story is set, an author can bring it to life through authentic details that appeal to all the senses, making you feel like you’re on Prince Edward Island or in the Gaudarrama Mountains even if you’ve The sense of place can be a major factor in a book’s success – did you know there is a whole literary prize devoted to just this? (The Royal Society of Literature’s Ondaatje Prize, “for a distinguished work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry, evoking the spirit of a place.”) No matter when or where a story is set, an author can bring it to life through authentic details that appeal to all the senses, making you feel like you’re on Prince Edward Island or in the Gaudarrama Mountains even if you’ve never visited Atlantic Canada or central Spain. The 75 essays of Literary Landscapes, a follow-up volume to 2016’s celebrated Literary Wonderlands, illuminate the real-life settings of fiction from Jane Austen’s time to today. Maps, author and cover images, period and modern photographs, and other full-color illustrations abound.Each essay serves as a compact introduction to a literary work, incorporating biographical information about the author, useful background and context on the book’s publication, and observations on the geographical location as it is presented in the story – often through a set of direct quotations. (Because each work is considered as a whole, you may come across spoilers, so keep that in mind before you set out to read an essay about a classic you haven’t read but still intend to.) The authors profiled range from Mark Twain to Yukio Mishima and from Willa Cather to Elena Ferrante. A few of the world’s great cities appear in multiple essays, though New York City as variously depicted by Edith Wharton, Jay McInerney and Francis Spufford is so different as to be almost unrecognizable as the same place.One of my favorite pieces is on Charles Dickens’s Bleak House. “Dickens was not interested in writing a literary tourist’s guide,” it explains; “He was using the city as a metaphor for how the human condition could, unattended, go wrong.” I also particularly enjoyed those on Thomas Hardy’s The Return of the Native and Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped. The fact that I used to live in Woking gave me a special appreciation for the essay on H.G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds, “a novel that takes the known landscape and, brilliantly, estranges it.” The two novels I’ve been most inspired to read are Thomas Wharton’s Icefields (1995; set in Jasper, Alberta) and Kate Grenville’s The Secret River (2005; set in New South Wales).The essays vary subtly in terms of length and depth, with some focusing on plot and themes and others thinking more about the author’s experiences and geographical referents. They were contributed by academics, writers and critics, some of whom were familiar names for me – including Nicholas Lezard, Robert Macfarlane, Laura Miller, Tim Parks and Adam Roberts. My main gripe about the book would be that the individual essays have no bylines, so to find out who wrote a certain one you have to flick to the back and skim through all the contributor biographies until you spot the book in question. There are also a few more typos than I tend to expect from a finished book from a traditional press (e.g. “Lady Deadlock” in the Bleak House essay!). Still, it is a beautifully produced, richly informative tome that should make it onto many a Christmas wish list this year; it would make an especially suitable gift for a young person heading off to study English at university. It’s one to have for reference and dip into when you want to be inspired to discover a new place via an armchair visit.Originally published, with images, on my blog, Bookish Beck.
    more
  • Thebooktrail
    January 1, 1970
    Literary LandscapesAs soon as I saw this book, well, to say it sang to me is an understatement. Setting and place in a book and travelling to those locations for real is how The BookTrail first began. (even if I did tuck myself in wardrobes in search of Narnia or dig holes in search of the white rabbit before that, but that’s another story)There’s a lot to like about this book. The cover for one is stunning and inside, it’s even better. Great colour pictures and illustrations showcase the locati Literary LandscapesAs soon as I saw this book, well, to say it sang to me is an understatement. Setting and place in a book and travelling to those locations for real is how The BookTrail first began. (even if I did tuck myself in wardrobes in search of Narnia or dig holes in search of the white rabbit before that, but that’s another story)There’s a lot to like about this book. The cover for one is stunning and inside, it’s even better. Great colour pictures and illustrations showcase the location of each book, whilst nice long text explains why and how such a setting was used and brought to life.It’s a coffee table and dip in and dip out kind of read. There’s so many places and books to travel with. Whether you want to revisit the Canada of Anne of Green Gables or delve into Charles Dickens’ London, it’s all there for exploring. And it's great fun to pick where you want to go next. Canadian Countryside to London town...and the stories which put these places on the map.Don’t think this is a literary step back in time either. There’s lots for fans of more recent fiction to pour over. Elena Ferrante. is of course there as an Italian stopover, and Kate Grenville’s The Secret River takes you all the way to New South Wales.There’s a lot of information on each stopover as I’m calling them. I was particularly excited to see Carlos Ruiz Zafón there!It was like meeting old friends and travelling with them which was a joy.Happily, there's lots of information about the author, ( well theirs are the eyes you’re seeing this new destination through after all ) and plenty of useful background about the book itself such as publication date and the context in which it was written.I could wax lyrical about this for ages to be honest. I’m like a child in a sweet shop. If there’s one negative about the book, I would have liked to know who was writing the essays in question. The book and locations are clear but the authors of the individual essays on the book are not. They lurk at the back of the book but I say, bring them on to the stage!I’ve already got this in mind for a few fellow travellers of a literary persuasion!
    more
  • Linda Hill
    January 1, 1970
    Travel the world vicariously through Literary Landscapes.This is a book that EVERY book lover must have in their life. I adored it. First I went through all the references to the authors I have read, beginning with Thomas Hardy whose writing launched my entire career. Next I read the sections with books based in places I’ve been to, like Natsushiko Kyogoku’s Tokyo, followed by places I have yet to see in real life but are on my wish list such as Joyce’s Dublin and I still had a wonderful tapestr Travel the world vicariously through Literary Landscapes.This is a book that EVERY book lover must have in their life. I adored it. First I went through all the references to the authors I have read, beginning with Thomas Hardy whose writing launched my entire career. Next I read the sections with books based in places I’ve been to, like Natsushiko Kyogoku’s Tokyo, followed by places I have yet to see in real life but are on my wish list such as Joyce’s Dublin and I still had a wonderful tapestry of delights to dip in to after that. The only negative of reading Literary Landscapes I can find is that it can make the reader feel dissatisfied. I wanted to have read every book featured and to have visited every place described and because of the incredible number of entries in the four sections I know I’m never going to see them all. I will just have to indulge in the delights of the pages of Literary Landscapes instead!I thought the quality of the book was just wonderful. Pages are smooth under the hand, the book is weighty and the illustrations frequently sumptuous so that Literary Landscapes is a delight for art as well as literature lovers. The depth of knowledge, the incredible detail in each section and the cross referencing with contemporary sociology and history all contribute to making Literary Landscapes a real joy to read.Not only are the entries about literary landscapes, but they are themselves literary; stylishly penned, accessible and intelligent. There really is enough material in Literary Landscapes to keep a book lover entertained, happy and intrigued for several months. I cannot recommend this book highly enough – even if it has increased my TBR pile dramatically!
    more
  • Erin Britton
    January 1, 1970
    Where the delightful Literary Wonderlands (2017) explored the imaginary worlds that have captivated generations of readers, as well as the brilliant minds that created them, its new companion volume, the sumptuously illustrated Literary Landscapes, charts the real-life settings of some of the world’s favourite works of fiction. In the seventy-three included essays, editor John Sutherland and a host of well-known and exceedingly well-informed contributors (including Robert Macfarlane, Tim Parks, Where the delightful Literary Wonderlands (2017) explored the imaginary worlds that have captivated generations of readers, as well as the brilliant minds that created them, its new companion volume, the sumptuously illustrated Literary Landscapes, charts the real-life settings of some of the world’s favourite works of fiction. In the seventy-three included essays, editor John Sutherland and a host of well-known and exceedingly well-informed contributors (including Robert Macfarlane, Tim Parks, Adam Roberts, Catherine Taylor and Laura Miller) delve into the geography and terrain of some of their favourite literary works and consider how the setting of a story can influence the characters, atmosphere and emotional impact of a book.As Sutherland notes in his introduction, all the books described in Literary Landscapes “capture, are even built upon, a sense of their authors having been to, seen, experienced, and been able to relate all the qualities of a place that, in combination, lodge that locale in cultural and geographical specificity.” Of course, the pool of potential inclusions in such a book is massive and so three key criteria were applied when determining which books would be examined in Literary Landscapes. First, each book must concern a land that exists now or has existed at some prior point. Second, the book must be rooted in historical time as well as locale, since the sense of literary place depends as much on history as it does in geography. Third, the book must include its described landscape as a subject in its own right rather than just as a setting (and, ideally, have influenced the environment in some way, as in the case of Steinbeck’s Cannery Row and Grace’s Potiki).The book is divided into four sections. The first, Romantic Prospects, begins with an essay exploring Bath, England, as portrayed in Jane Austen’s Persuasion and extends to the Nebraska, USA, of Willa Cather’s O Pioneers!, thereby covering books from the period 1817 to 1913. The second section, entitled Mapping Modernism, covers the period 1915 to 1945 and includes books such as James Joyce’s Ulysses and Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain. The Postwar Panorama section starts by considering Gerard Reve’s The Evenings: A Winter’s Tales (Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1947) and ends with Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago (Solovetsky Islands, White Sea, Russia, 1973). The final section, Contemporary Geographies, covers the period from 1975 to the present day, beginning with San Francisco, USA, as depicted by Armistead Maupin in Tales of the City and including among others Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend (Naples, Italy) and Francis Spufford’s Golden Hill (New York City, USA).The included essays differ somewhat in terms of their focus and approach, as well as their length and level of disclosure of plot details (beware: thar be spoilers), but they are all alike with regards to the authors’ evident enthusiasm for, and knowledge of, their subjects. There’s something to be learned from each one, with the essays also admirably demonstrating just how important place is to story and, often, vice versa. The chosen format also means that the essays included in Literary Landscapes highlight how locations can mean different things to different writers, as well as how they can evolve over time. For instance, the Paris of Honoré de Balzac’s La Comédie humaine is very different from that of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables and even more so from that of Patrick Modiano’s The Search Warrant.Literary Landscapes is an absolute delight to read. In addition to the hugely informative and entertaining essays, the book is wonderfully illustrated with hundreds of full-colour maps, archival materials, letters, photographs and original illustrations, which really serve to bring the discussed landscapes vividly to life. It’s a true booklover’s book and it’s almost certain to inspire further reading and investigation (to say nothing of adding to TBR piles worldwide, which probably sounds rather more painful than it really is).
    more
  • Jared Shurin
    January 1, 1970
Write a review