By Laurie Olin
"Twenty-eight years in the past I went to England for a three-month stopover at and leisure. What i discovered replaced my life."
So starts this memoir via certainly one of America's best-known panorama architects, Laurie Olin. Raised in a frontier city in Alaska, expert in Seattle and manhattan, Olin stumbled on himself disillusioned together with his activity as an city architect and approved a call for participation to England to take a respite from paintings. What he came upon, in abundance, used to be the serendipity of a human setting equipped over the years to reply to the land's personal personality and to the folk who lived and labored there. For Olin, the English nation-state used to be a palimpsest of the main eloquent and relocating variety, but whose manifestation used to be of standard structures intended to take care of their population and extra their work.
With evocative language and delightful line drawings, the writer takes us again to his creation to the scenes of English kingdom cities, their old universities, meandering waterways, and dramatic cloudscapes racing in from the Atlantic. He limns the geologic histories came upon in the rock, the near-forgotten histories of place-names, and the hot histories of teach traces and car routes. evaluating the expansion of establishing within the English geographical region, Olin attracts a few sobering conclusions approximately our glossy way of life and its expanding separation from the landscape.
As a lot a plea for saving the fashionable American panorama because it is a passionate exploration of what makes the English panorama so frequently English, Across the Open Field is "an affectionate ramble via actual locations of lasting worth."
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Additional resources for Across the open field : essays drawn from English landscapes
Everything related. The literature that told the story of the landscape was unending. My early suspicion that the invention of the eighteenth-century landscape garden was neither so simple nor so homespun as the more popular texts of the day asserted was eventually to prove true, as scholars have shown in the nearly thirty years following my initial visit to England as they dug deeper into records and events of the period. So, too, another modest thought, a commonplace to some scholars, I suppose, occurred to me, namely, that new or more evolved modes of life, behavior, or thought normally coexist, often for considerable lengths of time, with the older forms that they are eventually to supplant.
Passing a bus shelter, we stopped, and then, after a car passed in the opposite direction, the driver swung across the road to the right and turned into the lane leading to Buckland. As only other foreigners brought up to drive in the right lane can understand, this first right-hand turn from the left lane made my hair stand on end, so much ~o that I nearly missed the sign of The Lamb. Disconcerted as I was by a world so familiar and yet so different, I nevertheless could not fail to notice this handsome artifact.
AS THE TWIG IS BENT work would end up being in urban settings, not in the countryside, and that I'd have to translate and abstract these principles if they were to be of any use. Saul Bellow once remarked that "a writer is a reader who is moved to emulation:' In like manner I could hardly wait to try my hand at some of what I had seen in England. But while I was away delving into the accomplishments of my predecessors, a backlash against Capability Brown and Frederick Law Olmsted was developing in academic circles of landscape design in Britain and the United States respectively, holding them to be bad old boys who had ripped up earlier gardens and promulgated acres of lawn with trees.