Weatherland: Writers & Artists Under English Skies by Alexandra Harris
Alexandra Harris, author of Romantic Moderns and winner of the Guardian First Book Award, has written an enchanting celebration of an English national obsession, told through the eyes of writers and artists.
From Chaucer to McEwan, Constable to Hodgkin, writers and artists across the centuries have looked up at the same skies and walked through the same brisk air, then threaded their experience of weather into novels, poems and paintings. Weatherland is the very first book to consider English literary and artistic responses to our English weather patterns. Award-winning author Alexandra Harris deftly historicises the weather through the experiences and imaginings of the finest creative minds, and sheds fresh literary light on our national obsession.
From Turner’s dramatic renderings of English sea and sky to Lowry’s gloomy scenes of industrial life, Weatherland is both a sweeping panorama of cultural climates and a richly illustrated, intimate account of the relationship between natural patterns and human creativity. Harris builds her remarkable story from small evocative details and catches the distinct voices of compelling creative: ‘Bloody cold’, says Jonathan Swift in the ‘slobbery’ January of 1713; whilst for Philip Larkin, summer days appear ‘emblems of perfect happiness I can’t confront’.
About the author:
Alexandra Harris is a cultural historian and writer. Winner of the Guardian First Book Award and the Somerset Maugham Award for Romantic Moderns (Thames & Hudson, 2010), Alexandra Harris has written a short biography of Virginia Woolf as well as many essays and reviews. She is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Liverpool, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a New Generation Thinker on BBC Radio 3.
Author photo: Geraint Lewis