In Search of the Sublime Landscape
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: University of Wisconsin Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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Eight of my books were written and published since my retirement in 1998. I couldn’t possibly have done as much without the support of my departmental colleagues, who gave me a sunny office in which to work—or should I say play?—for it was so much fun! ...
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Coupling “romantic” with “geography” could seem a contradiction of terms, for few people nowadays see geography as romantic. Down-to-earth, full of common sense, necessary to survival, yes—but romantic? Yet there was a time, not so long ago, when geography did have glamor, was considered romantic. ...
1 - Polarized Values
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What are the polarized values? They include darkness and light, chaos and order, body and mind, matter and spirit, nature and culture, among others. Every culture has its own set that is subtly different from those of other cultures. With all of them, there is a family resemblance— ...
2 - Earth and Its Natural Environments
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The romantic imagination favors phenomena that are very large or very small rather than those of a middle scale. Moreover, the romantic imagination readily leaps from one extreme to the next, an example being in William Blake’s famous lines, “To see a world in a grain of sand / And a heaven in a wild flower.” ...
Interlude: Wholesome but Ordinary
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In Genesis, God, after separating light from darkness, gathered the waters together into one place and created dry land. On the dry land, God “planted a garden eastward in Eden.” He then acted as the Divine Gardener. “Out of the ground” he made “to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food. ...
3 - The City
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The city has majesty, one that is achieved by distancing itself as far as possible from bondage to earth. The city began as an attempt to bring the order and majesty of heaven down to earth, and it proceeded from there by cutting itself from agricultural roots, civilizing winter, turning night into day, ...
4 - The Human Being
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Civilization has produced three distinctive human types: aesthete, hero, and saint. All three are inclined toward a behavior or quest that goes beyond, or trespasses, societal norm. The person stands out from the group, even when, as in the case of the saint, modesty and selflessness are the distinguishing virtues. ...
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Let me recapitulate some of the key points. Quest is at the heart of romance, but only if it is after something truly worthy. The drive for money or reputation, even if it requires heavy sacrifice, does not count. Nor is the drive to survive, and since geography and the social sciences devote themselves to the art of survival, they are not romantic. ...
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Page Count: 215
Illustrations: 6 b/w illus.
Publication Year: 2013