SHORTLISTED FOR THE SAMUEL JOHNSON PRIZE 2015
Landmarks is Robert Macfarlane's joyous meditation on words, landscape and the relationship between the two.
Words are grained into our landscapes, and landscapes are grained into our words. Landmarks is about the power of language to shape our sense of place. It is a field guide to the literature of nature, and a glossary...more
A collection of essays and reflections on place as well as a series of glossaries of geography, geology, topography, weather and all other possible aspects of the natural world, Landmarks is a gorgeo ...more
Part of the book is a glossary of dialect, regional, slang, jargon and new coinages, organised by subject. These glossaries are lists of words and places where they are in use - linguists may note that the sources are rather selective.
The glossary sections are interspersed with essays that explain how this information was collected, and explore the worlds of some of Macfarlane's favourite nature writers - there is also a ...more
As he writes about those authors, Nan Shepherd, Roger Deakin, Richard Mabey and Richard Skelton, seminal writers that have provided so much influence, through their work and books, it comes across that this is as muc ...more
The book is divided into rough geological categor ...more
I have purchased both the beautiful h ...more
Each chapter revolves around one world and one or two writers ...more
But it struck me as a series of book reviews, each followed by a list of words. The chapters were well written, passionate and beautiful, as you would expect from MacFarlane. The lists however were tedious to read through, with no notes on pronunciation to help with the Gaelic or Welsh words and no clue a ...more
The main theme of the book is probably best described in this quote: "It is not, on the whole, that natural phenomena and entities themselves are disappearing; rather that there are fewer people able to name them, and that once they go unnam ...more
I wanted something that evoked Holdstock. I got a series of university lectures, a reading list and a disappointing but pretty word hoard.
This book contains none of the layers, history, groundedness or dense sense of place I anticipated. It is oddly secondhand and distant.
In the sections where MacFarlane writes about other nature writers there feels like little new. In several chapters he revisits authors he has previously writt ...more
What's it about? With the Oxford Children's Dictionary removing words relating to nature, e.g. acorn, in favour of technological ter ...more
Just for the record, I've just finished my third read now, following my love for Lost Words, and struck by the humour and word-play as much as anything. It is a rare writer who can tell his audience that the kestrel is also known as a "wind-f*cker" and still invite awe for how language can be specific about different types of hill or waterway.
Robert Macfarlane visits some inspiring places, to meet the people and
'collect' the words that evoke the area. Abridged for radio by Penny
Using spectacular famous and not so famous nature writers as examples, in combination with his own experiences and perceptions, Macfarlane probes one of Max Weber's key concepts (borrowed from Friedrich Schiller but greatly elabo ...more
Last summer I went on a cycling trip ...more
A Review of Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane
Previously published in The Occasional Reader and appeared in the Newsletter of the College of Mohs Micrographic Surgery
Robert Macfarlane’s book, Landmarks, is a rare book indeed. At first glance, Landmarks might seem a technical book due to the extensive glossaries of obscure and rarely used words. Perhaps, a book most suited to English-speaking nature writers. The author was spurred to recover rare words used to d ...more
Educated at Nottingham High School, Pembroke College, Cambridge and Magdalen College, Oxford, he is currently a Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and teaches in the Faculty of English at Cambridge.