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Mountain Gloom And Mountain Glory: The Development of the Aesthetics of the Infinite (Weyerhaeuser Environmental Classics) Paperback – November 14, 2011

4.0 out of 5 stars 7 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

When we look at a majestic scene in nature, it is hard to believe that our appreciation of its beauty would have been completely foreign to an observer four centuries ago. In Mountain Gloom and Mountain Glory, Marjorie Hope Nicolson argues that the rise of an aesthetic appreciation of nature's grandeur in English writing did not originate with exposure to Italian landscape painting, Orientalism, or the concept of the sublime in art, as have been postulated. Rather, Nicolson demonstrates a direct line of sentiment from Henry More, to Thomas Burnet, John Dennis, Anthony Shaftesbury, and Joseph Addison, and then to the Romantics, in which modern concepts such as infinity and regularity gradually develop into an acceptance of the magnificence of nature as a reflection of God. Originally published in 1959, this book's reprinting demonstrates the importance of its standing in the history of aesthetic ecological thought.


Any book with the words "aesthetics" and "infinite" in its title might seem a bit intimidating, but Mountain Gloom and Mountain Glory is a trek across cultural history that is well worth taking. Originally written in 1959 and recently released as a Weyerhaeuser Environmental Classic, which re-prints editions of key works that explore human relationships with the natural environment, Mountain Gloom has been hailed by landscape historians and nature writers over the years as a unique work of research, and fresh and acute in its critical presentation. Author Nicolson, who died in 1981, deliberately and intelligently supports her position that mountains were portrayed as ugly symbols of God's wrath by the English poets and writers of the 17th Century and their predecessors. Two hundred years later, though, poets and writers were describing the majesty, beauty, power and glory of the mountains. Nicolson considers the radical shift in thinking that led to this, and the implications of how abstract or scientific thought can alter emotions and the human experience, in general. Equally adept at arguing her case on scientific, cultural or historical grounds, Nicolson concludes that the great heritage of infinity and eternity reflected in literature lays a powerful foundation for generations of writers to come. Her work should also serve as an inspiration for those interested in the role of human insight in nature. -- From Independent Publisher

Product details

  • Item Weight : 1.35 pounds
  • Paperback : 432 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0295975776
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0295975771
  • Publisher : University of Washington Press; Revised ed. Edition (November 14, 2011)
  • Product Dimensions : 8.52 x 6.07 x 1.05 inches
  • Reading level : 22 and up
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.0 out of 5 stars 7 ratings