ENGLISHNESS AND LANDSCAPE Among the literary works there is a multitude of icons and symbols of England spread with a great literary craftsmanship. The natural environment, the geographical frames or the historical background have a strong connection with the concept of Englishness. Starting with a beautiful rose, the national flower of England which has an interesting symbolic history and getting to Stonehenge with its famous appearance in Hardy’s Tess D’Urbervilles, we discover the English particularities in paintings, literature, sculpture, etc.
There would be many things to say about Englishness or landscape, but the most relevant ones are those which remained as time passes by. The oak tree, the rose, the Big Ben, The Royal Crown are all part of the English landscape. But landscape doesn’t mean only the natural or geographical context. By landscape we should understand also the social, the cultural, the political aspects which characterized England along its development.
The meaningful images from Dickens ‘Oliver Twist or David Copperfield , the economic and social rough conditions of that period help us merge into the Victorian England landscape. The writers, the painters, the artists in general, improved the concept of Englishness by make it widen all over the world. Beginning with the eighteenth century appeared an appreciation of the possibility of using images as historical evidence for social and economical conditions.
The class-specific nature of landscape representations is thus reinforced by absences and this establishes the connection with the transition from feudalism to capitalism. The break created between reality and representation proves the complicity of landscape representation in a socio-economic change process. The idea of landscape was controversial because of this break, an aspect which made it less realistic. The evolution of the landscape aesthetic in the twentieth century was no longer underpinned by religious certainties.
The British tradition was rediscovered in the wake of Modernism and Neo-Romanticism. The Neo-Romantics focused on an individual, poetic point of view of the landscape, they tend to portray their inspiration from artists of the age of high romanticism and from the sense of place they perceive in historic rural landscapes. They longed for a perfect love , utopian landscapes, romantic death and history-in-landscapes. Prof. D.
Cosgrove centered his attention on the meaning of landscape in human and cultural geography, stressing on the duplicity of landscape focusing more upon human ideals and imagination. Stephen Daniels was pointing out that: ‘ the project of combining the aesthetic with the social has often amounted to fixing images to literal conditions , translating them into concepts, reducing them to’’ signifiers’’ of social forces and relations…I have attended to the social history of landscape images to unfold their range and subtlety, to amplify their eloquence.
It is not so much a procedure of unmasking images, to disclose their real identity, as one of envisioning images of showing their many faces, from many shifty perspectives’’. The English landscape changed in time because of human progress and it is still in a continuous evolution which will never stop. Landscape is both science and art , unifies and blends the elements of nature and construction.
Englishness consists in art, folklore, literature, music, religion, sport and leisure, and the mixture of all these developed the English landscape. There is often considered that English painting typifies the tradition of English art, illustrating as it does the evolution of the country house and its landscaping. Cathedrals and parish houses are seen with a sense of traditional Englishness. Landscape gardening as developed by Capability Brown set an international trend for the English garden.
Gardening and visiting gardens are perceived as typically English pursuits. Writers noted for expressing Englishness include William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, A. E. Housman, Jane Austen, Arnold Bennet and The Lake Poets. W. Hogarth ’s depiction of a scene from Shakespeare ‘ s work The Tempest represents an evidence of how English literature influenced painting in the eighteenth century.