Meadowland

John Lewis-Stempel’s Meadowland is enough to remind me how powerfully affective writing about landscape can be – but this line also reminds me of how landscape can be a grimmer concept than either the Fotherington-Thomas (“Hello, Sky, hello Flowers”) or the Louv Nature-Deficit-Disorder view of the outdoors might allow:

“The gentle pasture of England is tomb after tomb of animals and man, roofed with green.”

This “landscape in shadow” is not unique to Lewis-Stempel, of course; it occurs in R S Thomas (of which this is a good example), in M R James, even in Wordsworth, and has roots back in the engagement with the non-human world in the Desert Monastics of the 3rd Century CE.

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