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Title: Ruins and old trees : silvicultural landscapes and Gilpin's 'Picturesque' in the long nineteenth-century novel
Author: Burton, A. E.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7428 7112
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2018
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William Gilpin's eighteenth-century picturesque writings are inherently concerned with the aesthetic and associative components of landscape, and this thesis seeks to address how this output helped to shape subsequent manifestations and explorations of environment in nineteenth-century fiction. The connection made here is not based upon the direct usage of Gilpinesque tropes in the novel form, but can be evidenced through the inheritance of a certain attitude towards the textual experience of landscape. Through the mediation of narratological viewpoint and character, the authors discussed in this study employ a 'picturesque' view of environment; this is an outlook that is bound up with the aesthetics of a scene and engaged with the wider cultural and historical associations that take root there. Moreover, this project puts forward trees and ruins, in isolation and together, as significant sites through which this attitude can be explored. For Gilpin, Jane Austen, Anthony Trollope, and Thomas Hardy, these objects do not function as mere background, but they are visually pleasing entities that allow for imaginative conjecture; they are physical and notional framing devices within a landscape and ongoing narrative; and they become narratological markers through the accumulation of time and space. Furthermore, this research identifies Gilpin's substantial role within the 'silvicultural tradition': a longstanding network of writers and writings that celebrate the aesthetic, socio-political, scientific, and historical value of trees in the landscape. Through Forest Scenery (1791) in particular, Gilpin engages with notable arboreal authorities that precede him, such as John Evelyn, within his own picturesque work. This project seeks to situate Gilpin in this context and reconsider these textual practices; and through an examination of trees (and trees as ruins) in the realist novel, this thesis traces the continuing significance of the 'silvicultural tradition' at work in various writings of the nineteenth century.
Supervisor: Lynall, Gregory ; Raines, Melissa Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral