Dean's Romantic Landscapes documents the influence of rapid advances in the nascent geosciences on literature and the arts during an especially dynamic phase of British and European history. His ten substantive chapters, along with numerous illustrations and appendices, provide exceptionally rich documentation of verbal and visual motifs that we can now recognise as geological. More than this, he argues that ‘the geological’ itself arose together with ‘the sublime’ and ‘the picturesque’ as a new way of understanding landscapes as changing over time. Dean uses the element of time to distinguish ‘the geological’—as it occurs in poems, travel narratives, and paintings, as well as in works more commonly held to belong to the history of geology—from the other two categories. Numerous chapters are geographically based, skillfully interweaving travel journals of major Romantic writers with popularising geological works on the Harz, Vesuvius, and Fingal's Cave, among other sites. Other chapters are organised around concepts such as ‘Time and Chance’ and ‘Relics of the Flood’. The book concludes, fittingly, with a chapter on extinction—the culmination of the ‘naturalistic’ worldview that Dean traces throughout this book as a contested but ultimately triumphant legacy of Romantic thought.
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Research Article| April 21 2011
Essay review: Geology's youthful romance with the landscape
Earth Sciences History (2010) 29 (2): 346–352.
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Noah Heringman; Essay review: Geology's youthful romance with the landscape. Earth Sciences History 1 December 2010; 29 (2): 346–352. doi: https://doi.org/10.17704/eshi.29.2.m614m0772907t225
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