Review of The Culture of Nature in Britain, 1680-1860
MetadataShow full item record
The title of P. M. Harman's sweeping survey strongly recalls that of Keith Thomas's pioneering Man and the Natural World: Changing Attitudes in England, 1500–1800 (1983). And in a sense, the two books treat the same topic, although with large differences that cannot easily be attributed either to the progress of scholarship in the last quarter century or to the fact that Harman, unlike Thomas, is a historian of science. Perhaps the explanation lies simply in Raymond Williams's famous assertion that “nature” is one of the most complex words in the English language (Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society ). Thomas's nature is concrete, robustly composed of its constituent animals, vegetables, and minerals. Harman's nature is more ethereal, embodied in the ideas of philosophers, writers, and artists. The structure of this book is thematic, with chapters on design, exploration, landscape (two), …
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Humanities. History Section
American Historical Review
University of Chicago Press
Ritvo, Harriet. “P. M. Harman . The Culture of Nature in Britain, 1680–1860 . New Haven : Yale University Press . 2009 . Pp. Xi, 393. $65.00.” The American Historical Review 116.2 (2011): 514–514.
Final published version