Monday, September 28, 2015


Such nature or rusticity as the
heath represents appears as the
exception rather than the rule
of human existence. Nature has
become the object of an excur-
sion, a change of scene.

[And yet] only those fortified
by urban civility, Hazlitt seems
to say, can withstand rural boor-
ishness. and even the positive
aspects of country life - its
calm and its beauties - are best
appreciated from the standpoint
of urban, urbane values.

Having demonstrated this in his
Satires, Horace would have had
little objection to Constable's
figuring it out, some time later;
and if we must listen daily to a
redneck party's rejection of the
urbane, it is certain, its claim
to arise in nature is no more
than unhinged from it. How well
the history of English painting
portrays its contests as alive.

Ann Bermingham
Landscape and Ideology
  The English Rustic
  Tradition, 1740 - 1860
University of California Press
Berkeley and London, 1986©

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