Art History / Cultural Geography / Intellectual History


Social Formation and Symbolic Landscape
Denis E. Cosgrove
With a new Introduction

"Should be read and reread by all individuals whose work or interests touch on landscape."—Ronald Rees, Geographical Reviews

Hailed as a landmark in its field since its first publication in 1984, Denis E. Cosgrove's Social Formation and Symbolic Landscape has been influential well beyond geography. It has continued to spark lively debate among historians, geographers, art historians, social theorists, landscape architects, and others interested in the social and cultural politics of landscape.

"Cosgrove follows the landscape idea as it is articulated in early Renaissance Italy, in the low countries, in Palladian and then in Industrial England, in America, and finally in the modern world.…His discussion of Italy's social formation at the time of the Renaissance brilliantly interweaves economic and political activities with the development of humanistic culture."—Mona Domosh, Environment and Behavior

"Every so often a book is written that has the potential to shift the direction of a subfield. This is just such a book.… [It] is not so much about landscape as it is about the idea of landscape, its portrayal in art, and its origin and development in the West since the Renaissance.… [Cosgrove] sees the idea of landscape not only as 'a way of seeing' but as a profoundly ideological concept that reveals the way classes portray themselves and their world through an imagined relationship with nature."—James S. Duncan, Annals of the Association of American Geographers

"One of the more intriguing books by a human geographer in many a long year.… A work of considerable erudition, of delicate, finely tuned artistic judgment, and of bold generalization."—Cole Harris,

Denis Cosgrove is professor of human geography at the University of London, Royal Holloway, and has been a visiting professor at the University of Toronto and the University of Texas at Austin. His books include The Palladian Landscape, The Iconography of Landscape, Engineering the Landscape, and Durability and Change: The Science, Responsibility, and Cost of Sustaining Cultural Heritage.


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Cosgrove's bookis dark yellow with a brown monocrome image of a farm landscape

February 1998
332 pp.    5 1/2 x 8 1/2      16 illus.
ISBN 0-299-15514-5 Paper $24.95 s

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