Storied Ground: Landscape and the Shaping of English National Identity

Paul Readman (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018)

Recommended by Catriona Paton

Storied Ground - Paul ReadmanFrom the cliffs of Dover to the industrial city of Manchester, Readman highlights the significance of connections between landscape and heritage in the construction of a modern, popular form of English national identity. This work explores how landscapes are ‘storied’ with countless human histories and memories bound up with place. Through the history, literature and art of the late eighteenth to the early twentieth centuries, Storied Ground traces a varied and widespread engagement with landscapes in English culture. Expanding a marginal, conservative and anti-modern understanding of rural Englishness, Readman demonstrates how a ‘topography’ of English national identity accommodated industrial landscapes and diverse political perspectives in a rapidly urbanising and democratising modern Britain.