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Discovering the Vernacular Landscape [Paperback]

John Brinckerhoff Jackson
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

September 10, 1986 0300035810 978-0300035810
John B. Jackson, was a writer, publisher, instructor, and sketch artist in landscape design who was influential in broadening the perspective on the "vernacular" landscape. Jackson was the publisher and editor of 'Landscape' Magazine from 1951 to 1968.

At first, Jackson argued, quite literally, for a lofty - an airborne - view of the world, reveling in the below-from-above perspective of aerial photographs. But Jackson's work, which dominated the first five issues of the magazine, was grounded in what he would later call the vernacular: an interest in the commonplace or everyday landscape, and Jackson expressed an innate confidence in the ability of people of small means to make significant changes, by no means all bad, in their surroundings. In an opening essay The Need of Being Versed in Country Things Jackson states that "It is from the air that the true relationship between the natural and the human landscape is first clearly revealed. The peaks and canyons lose much of their impressiveness when seen from above. What catches our eye and arouses our interest is not the sandy washes and the naked rocks, but the evidences of man." His writings allowed him to raise questions and present controversial statements especially in reference to humans and their role in shaping the landscape. Jackson's works have been published in seven other books along with A Sense of Place, a Sense of Time which won the 1995 PEN prize for essays.

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Discovering the Vernacular Landscape + A Sense of Place, a Sense of Time + The Necessity for Ruins: And Other Topics
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 180 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (September 10, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300035810
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300035810
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #145,832 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
How can people have missed the point of JB Jackson? JB Jackson is one of the finest geographers of the past fifty years. He taught at Harvard and Berkeley and wrote numerous essays, papers, and books. He had a profound influence on the way many geographers think about landscape -- a concept which has drifted back into mainstream of the way scholars in several disciplines think about the land and the people who live there. I personally can't imagine a better author to read to begin understanding what it is that we are seeing, walking and driving through, and having impressed on our brains as what it is that constitutes the familiar and the unfamiliar. As Amazon notes -- more than 100 books have cited this book as a source. That's a pretty good sign that this one is worth reading. And comprehending.
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10 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intersting but a bit much. April 6, 2000
This is a rather interesting book. The perspective it takes on history is unique. The basic premise is that you can learn a great deal about a society by the way they talk about and treat the land around them. I must admit, it made me look at my surroundings differently. It is a bit slow in places, and after a while I started to loose interest. However, overall I would say that this collection of essays is rather good. You should check it out if you have any interest in the field of landscape studies.
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16 of 32 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Meditations upon the meaning of 'landscape' July 16, 2001
I was attracted by the title of this book; there's so much to be learned by observing the suburban or rural landscape, which most of us drive through without really noticing or reflecting upon it. Someday a wonderful book will be written on this topic, but this is not it. Instead, John Jackson presents us with a series of 'musings,' for lack of a better word, about the vernacular landscape. At times, the writing takes on a stream-of-consciousness quality that leans too heavily toward personal reflection. Topics include the grid-road network of the US midwest, placement of county courthouses within town plans, the history of the 'box house,' evolution of the Arts & Crafts style of architecture, and the author's experiences in the US Army in Europe during WWII. Intertwined among these topics are passages in which the author reflects upon the notion of 'landscape' and what it means to him.
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0 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars quick September 24, 2007
the book arrived quiclky and I'm happy with it nevertheless it as some underlined sentences (used books are usually like this) but it's quite ok.
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