The Idea of North (Topographics)

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9781861892300: The Idea of North (Topographics)

Peter Davidson explores the topography of north as represented in images and literature, taking in Netherlandic winter paintings of the Renaissance, German Romantic landscapes, Scandinavian Biedermeyer and twentieth-century topographical painting and printmaking. The work of artists Andy Goldsworthy, Eric Ravilious and Ian Hamilton Finlay are examined, as well as the work of literary figures including W. H. Auden, Cecil Day-Lewis and John Buchan. He examines a bewildering diversity of mythologies and imaginings of north, including The Snow Queen; Scandinavian Sagas; ghost-stories; Moomintrolls, Arctic exploration; the fictitious snowy kingdoms of Zembla and Naboland; Nabokov's nostalgias; Baltic midsummer; rooms in winter light; compasses and star-stones; hoar-frost; ice and glass.

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Review:

"An interesting meditation." -- Tom Shippey "Times Literary Supplement" (04/01/2005)

"A truly stunning assessment of the concept of 'north' in literature, legend, history and the psyche of "Northern" people. Why do some places feel 'northern'? Peter Davidson writes with an incredible sense of place in the North-east of Scotland."--Aberdeen Evening Express
"The nearer he gets to the North of England and Scotland the more deeply felt his writing becomes. . . . Marvellously sensitive."--"London Review of Books"
"A truly stunning assessment of the concept of ''north'' in literature, legend, history and the psyche of "Northern" people. Why do some places feel ''northern''? Peter Davidson writes with an incredible sense of place in the North-east of Scotland."--"Aberdeen Evening Express"
"Davidson is as interesting writing about snow sculptures and 17th-century paintings of the Arctic as he is about Auden, and his reading of the imaginary land of Zembla in Nabokov''s "Pale Fire" as an enternal, symbolic north is highly evocative...a lovely book"--" The Guardian"
"The charm of the book is its exhaustiveness, zooming into a variety of touchstones to show how they''ve influenced global culture in sly, often surprising ways. . . . "The Idea of North" is an exhausting book, but in the best sort of way. Davidson tackles so many different ideas about north-ness, both sympathetic and contradictory, that the writing accrues meaning and value as it goes along. . . . Davidson''s north is an enormous challenging land: humbling, shifting, austere, empty, fragile, desolate, desolating, marginal, authentic--a place, as Davidson perfectly puts it, forever suffused with ''absolute, difficult beauty.''"--"Ruminator"
"Provocative. . . . Davidson''s evocative prose and sensitive analyses of an impressive range of sources heighten the reader''s appreciation of the rich complexity of humanity''s imagined Norths."--"Times Higher Education Supplement" --Max Jones"Times Higher Education Supplement" (07/14/2006)

"Davidson''s style . . . achieves a lyrical elegance of phrase. . . . he achieves a marvel of descriptiveness that is moving as well as expressive of something irreducibly ''north'', yet universal."--"The Scotsman"--Tom Adair"The Scotsman" (02/26/2005)

"An interesting meditation."--"Times Literary Supplement"--Tom Shippey"Times Literary Supplement" (04/01/2005)

"What is the North? Although it's almost always that bit further from wherever you happen to be, Peter Davidson's new study manages to pin down its elusive cultural quality for long enough to offer new insights and lyrical evocations."--Richard Price"Scotland on Sunday" (01/16/2005)

"An interesting meditation."--Tom Shippey"Times Literary Supplement" (04/01/2005)

"this delightful, original work could only spring from someone who nurtures within a a strong sense of what he writes . . . an esoteric but important gem; original treasure from the north . . . The spiritual equivalent of a large slice of chocolate cake: unexpected, satiating, fulfilling. Suddenly, those cold, high places don't seem so lonely after all."--Melanie Reid"The Glasgow Herald" (02/01/2005)

"Davidson's style . . . achieves a lyrical elegance of phrase. . . . he achieves a marvel of descriptiveness that is moving as well as expressive of something irreducibly 'north', yet universal."--Tom Adair"The Scotsman" (02/26/2005)

"Besides being a discriminating critic, Davidson has an arrestingly personal voice . . . "The Idea of North" is one of those books that have you making a long list of references you want to follow."--Christina Hardyment"The Independent" (03/11/2005)

"Provocative. . . . Davidson's evocative prose and sensitive analyses of an impressive range of sources heighten the reader's appreciation of the rich complexity of humanity's imagined Norths."--Max Jones"Times Higher Education Supplement" (07/14/2006)

"What is the North? Although it s almost always that bit further from wherever you happen to be, Peter Davidson s new study manages to pin down its elusive cultural quality for long enough to offer new insights and lyrical evocations."--Richard Price"Scotland on Sunday" (01/16/2005)"

"The idea of north clearly inspires strong passion in Davidson, whonever lets his learning cloud his enthusiasm for this wide and protean subjectand his writing shares the awe of the poets who preceded him on this journey."--Jane Perry"The Observer" (02/27/2005)"

"Davidson's style . . .achieves a lyrical elegance of phrase. . . . he achieves a marvel of descriptiveness that is moving as well as expressive of something irreducibly 'north', yet universal."--Tom Adair"The Scotsman" (02/26/2005)"

"Provocative. . . . Davidson'sevocative prose and sensitive analyses of an impressive range of sources heighten the reader's appreciation of the rich complexity of humanity's imagined Norths."--Max Jones"Times Higher Education Supplement" (07/14/2006)"

From the Old Norse sagas to the fairytales of Hans Christian Andersen, from the films of Bergman to the paintings of Eric Ravilious, from Nabakov s Zembla to Simon Armitage s Yorkshire, [Davidson] finds that the north is a breeding ground for ghosts, a place of exile and punishment, the antithesis of the human. Yet its bleak landscapes have inspired poetry of great beauty: ice, crystal, diamond, and glass all blur in recurring images. . . . Davidson never lets his learning cloud his enthusiasm for this wide and protean subject and his writing shares the awe of the poets who preceded him on this journey. --Jane Perry"The Observer" (02/27/2005)"

This is a book about poetry, myth, and art, and the myriad ways in which artists, poets, and explorers have filtered the north s stark natural splendor through their imaginations. . . . Davidson has compiled an extraordinary catalog of the shapes the north has taken in the minds of humans . . . a work of genuine erudition, guiding readers northward out of their home ground and into unknown territory. --Verlyn Klinkenborg"Discover" (11/01/2005)"

Mesmerising cultural history . . . Davidson s style achieves a lyric expression of phrase. In several passages of personal recollection . . . he achieves a marvel of descriptiveness that is moving as well as expressive. --Tom Adair"The Scotsman" (02/26/2005)"

[A] delightful work . . . beautifully written . . . an esoteric but important gem; original treasure from the north. --Melanie Reid"The Glasgow Herald" (02/01/2005)"

An interesting meditation. --Tom Shippey"Times Literary Supplement" (04/01/2005)"

Provocative . . . Davidson s evocative prose and sensitive analyses of an impressive range of sources heighten the reader s appreciation of the rich complexity of humanity s imagined Norths. --Max Jones"Times Higher Education Supplement" (07/14/2006)"

[A] gifted prose writer. --Richard Price"Scotland on Sunday" (01/16/2005)"

"A masterpice. . . . It's the kind of book which provokes the gasp of recognition at concepts one has often groped for but never managed to articulate."--Duncan Rice"Scottish Sunday Herald" (07/03/2005)

"This book is not just about the north; it is a plea for the north, a moving description of what it has given and still offers us."--Rosalie Osmond"The Tablet" (07/09/2005)

One of the most beautiful books I ve read . . . Davidson s taste is both baroque and ascetic; his prose is correspondingly extravagant and refined. This is cultural history at its very best, unfolding new maps of imagination. --Alexandra Harris, author of Weatherland"

Beside being a discriminating critic, Davidson has an arrestingly personal voice. . . . The Idea of North is one of those books that have you making a long list of references you want to follow. --Christina Hardyment"The Independent" (03/11/2005)"

"From the Old Norse sagas to the fairytales of Hans Christian Andersen, from the films of Bergman to the paintings of Eric Ravilious, from Nabakov's Zembla to Simon Armitage's Yorkshire, [Davidson] finds that the north is a breeding ground for ghosts, a place of exile and punishment, the antithesis of the human. Yet its bleak landscapes have inspired poetry of great beauty: ice, crystal, diamond, and glass all blur in recurring images. . . . Davidson never lets his learning cloud his enthusiasm for this wide and protean subject and his writing shares the awe of the poets who preceded him on this journey."--Jane Perry"The Observer" (02/27/2005)

"Beside being a discriminating critic, Davidson has an arrestingly personal voice. . . . The Idea of North is one of those books that have you making a long list of references you want to follow."--Christina Hardyment"The Independent" (03/11/2005)

"This is a book about poetry, myth, and art, and the myriad ways in which artists, poets, and explorers have filtered the north's stark natural splendor through their imaginations. . . . Davidson has compiled an extraordinary catalog of the shapes the north has taken in the minds of humans . . . a work of genuine erudition, guiding readers northward out of their home ground and into unknown territory."--Verlyn Klinkenborg"Discover" (11/01/2005)

"Mesmerising cultural history . . . Davidson's style achieves a lyric expression of phrase. In several passages of personal recollection . . . he achieves a marvel of descriptiveness that is moving as well as expressive."--Tom Adair"The Scotsman" (02/26/2005)

"[A] delightful work . . . beautifully written . . . an esoteric but important gem; original treasure from the north."--Melanie Reid"The Glasgow Herald" (02/01/2005)

"Provocative . . . Davidson's evocative prose and sensitive analyses of an impressive range of sources heighten the reader's appreciation of the rich complexity of humanity's imagined Norths."--Max Jones"Times Higher Education Supplement" (07/14/2006)

"[A] gifted prose writer."--Richard Price"Scotland on Sunday" (01/16/2005)

"One of the most beautiful books I've read . . . Davidson's taste is both baroque and ascetic; his prose is correspondingly extravagant and refined. This is cultural history at its very best, unfolding new maps of imagination."--Alexandra Harris, author of Weatherland

-From the Old Norse sagas to the fairytales of Hans Christian Andersen, from the films of Bergman to the paintings of Eric Ravilious, from Nabakov's Zembla to Simon Armitage's Yorkshire, [Davidson] finds that the north is a breeding ground for ghosts, a place of exile and punishment, the antithesis of the human. Yet its bleak landscapes have inspired poetry of great beauty: ice, crystal, diamond, and glass all blur in recurring images. . . . Davidson never lets his learning cloud his enthusiasm for this wide and protean subject and his writing shares the awe of the poets who preceded him on this journey.---Jane Perry-The Observer- (02/27/2005)

-Beside being a discriminating critic, Davidson has an arrestingly personal voice. . . . The Idea of North is one of those books that have you making a long list of references you want to follow.---Christina Hardyment-The Independent- (03/11/2005)

-This is a book about poetry, myth, and art, and the myriad ways in which artists, poets, and explorers have filtered the north's stark natural splendor through their imaginations. . . . Davidson has compiled an extraordinary catalog of the shapes the north has taken in the minds of humans . . . a work of genuine erudition, guiding readers northward out of their home ground and into unknown territory.---Verlyn Klinkenborg-Discover- (11/01/2005)

-Mesmerising cultural history . . . Davidson's style achieves a lyric expression of phrase. In several passages of personal recollection . . . he achieves a marvel of descriptiveness that is moving as well as expressive.---Tom Adair-The Scotsman- (02/26/2005)

-[A] delightful work . . . beautifully written . . . an esoteric but important gem; original treasure from the north.---Melanie Reid-The Glasgow Herald- (02/01/2005)

-An interesting meditation.---Tom Shippey-Times Literary Supplement- (04/01/2005)

-Provocative . . . Davidson's evocative prose and sensitive analyses of an impressive range of sources heighten the reader's appreciation of the rich complexity of humanity's imagined Norths.---Max Jones-Times Higher Education Supplement- (07/14/2006)

-[A] gifted prose writer.---Richard Price-Scotland on Sunday- (01/16/2005)

-A masterpice. . . . It's the kind of book which provokes the gasp of recognition at concepts one has often groped for but never managed to articulate.---Duncan Rice-Scottish Sunday Herald- (07/03/2005)

-This book is not just about the north; it is a plea for the north, a moving description of what it has given and still offers us.---Rosalie Osmond-The Tablet- (07/09/2005)

-One of the most beautiful books I've read . . . Davidson's taste is both baroque and ascetic; his prose is correspondingly extravagant and refined. This is cultural history at its very best, unfolding new maps of imagination.---Alexandra Harris, author of Weatherland

About the Author:

Peter Davidson is Fellow of Campion Hall, University of Oxford. He has taught at the universities of Aberdeen, Leiden and Warwick. He is the author of a book of essays about northern culture, Distance and Memory (2013), a collection of verse, The Palace of Oblivion (2008), and The Last of the Light: About Twilight (also from Reaktion).

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Book Description Reaktion Books, United Kingdom, 2005. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 232 x 150 mm. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. As with the compass needle, so people have always been most powerfully attracted northwards; everyone carries within them their own concept of north. The Idea of North is a study, ranging widely in time and place, of some of the ways in which these ideas have found expression. Peter Davidson explores the topography of north as represented in images and literature, taking in Netherlandic winter paintings of the Renaissance, German Romantic landscapes, Scandinavian Biedermeyer and twentieth-century topographical painting and printmaking. He examines a bewildering diversity of mythologies and imaginings of north, including The Snow Queen; Scandinavian Sagas; ghost-stories; Moomintrolls, Arctic exploration; the fictitious snowy kingdoms of Zembla and Naboland; Nabokov s nostalgias; Baltic midsummer; rooms in winter light; compasses and star-stones; hoar-frost; and, ice and glass. The book also traces a northward journey, describing northern rural England, industrial sites, and the long emptiness of the borders, Scotland and the Highlands. He looks at the region far north of Scotland, then moves to the Northern Netherlands and Scandinavia to explore their identifiable northernness.The last visited place is Iceland, identified by W. H. Auden and Louis McNeice in 1936 as furthest, most remote, most distant, most northerly . An engaging meditation on solitude, absence and stillness, The Idea of North shows north to be a goal rather than a destination, a place of revelation that is always somewhere ultimate and austere. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9781861892300

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Book Description 2005. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 160mm x 22mm x 238mm. Paperback. Peter Davidson explores the topography of north as represented in images and literature, taking in Netherlandic winter paintings of the Renaissance, German Romantic landscapes.Shipping may be from our Sydney, NSW warehouse or from our UK or US warehouse, depending on stock availability. 272 pages. 0.426. Bookseller Inventory # 9781861892300

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