The Geographies of Englishness:
Landscape and the National Past, 1880–1940

David Peters Corbett, Ysanne Holt, Fiona Russell

Studies in British Art
Publicaton Date
May 2002
Standard Number
Yale University Press
400 pages

In the late-19th and early-20th centuries, the notion of "Englishness" was widely debated in English art and cultural circles. Might there be a specifically English landscape and an English way of representing it? Was the history of the nation unique, and might there be a particular and resilient national character? This study examines the intersection of national identity, modernization and landscape in English art during the period from 1880 to 1940. Individual chapters consider how changing ideals and debates were at work in English art during these decades of social and cultural change. The contributors address topics ranging from the assimilation of French styles in English art before World War I, to tensions between a tentative acceptance of change and a belligerent assertion of Englishness, to themes of national identity and modernization in the years leading to World War II. From various perspectives, the volume seeks to offer new insight into the invention of nation and its consequences for English art during this critical era.