4.2 comment on John Taylor section from The Dream of England

Landscape for Everyone (page 198)

Patriotism moves from reality to emotion, fuelled by a mystical past. Landscape presents a view of the country without nationalism.
Looking at the past through the landscape. One can view England as emerging from the primeval forests as a result of monasticism and mercantilism until the black spots of industry appeared. Even in the early 1800’s there were concerns about industrialism and its’ harmful effects.
By the 1940’s these fears of enroaching industrialism were offset by the threat of invasion. England was seen as indefatigable thanks to the villages and their social networks that could,not be destroyed.
The country was disguised and protected by the removal of all signage for instance while the nature of travel and the people who travelled in the countryside became much more utilitarian. The countryside was no longer seen as a source of pleasure since it was no longer so accessible while the idea of pastoral beauty was encouraged as was its’ diversity.
While dangers of warfare were mentioned such as the possibility of bombs on railway tracks, the “public were constantly reminded, to preserve the historical nature of English freedoms in an English landscape.”
Small victories! “History in the form of feeling.”
Editors began rejecting “pretty, pretty” pictures of England. A nice view of a lakeland landscape would be OK though with some evacuee children in the foreground.
In the 1930’s there had been a continuation of internal conflicts over the landscape between working people, conservationists and landowners. The unity of war effort put an end to the belief in such conflict.
“Picture Post” had dealt with social issues in the countryside before the war and continued by making favourable comparisons for Britain against Germany whose countryside was shown to be inferior as dominated by fascism. “This is a war for everything we can see from our own window.”
There was a threat to the way of life of all classes.
In England, “an Englishman’s home is still his castle.”
The English countryside still seen as a peaceful place but mention of wars that have taken place and stubborn streak in British character.
Dover Castle used as an appropriate symbol of resistance. Photographs of landscape with signs of war such as barbed wire.
White cliffs of Dover a powerful symbol of resistance and a marker for English border. ” a marker of what was supposed to be the absolute and inviolate boundary of the country.”
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