Landmarks

by Robert Macfarlane

A celebration of landscape writers and words.

Landmarks

Landmarks is really two books in one: a series of essays about nature writers who have influenced Robert Macfarlane, and a proto-dictionary of mainly old, mainly British words used to describe features in the landscape.

As someone who reads an awful lot of ‘nature writing’ (a term generally disliked by its practitioners, but nobody seems able to come up with a better one), I found the essays extremely interesting, not least for picking up a few pointers about whom I should be reading next.

As for the ‘dictionary’, I don't think I'll be adopting many of the words Macfarlane describes—not least because a disproportionate number of them are Scots, Gaelic, and Welsh in origin. But I don't think Macfarlane necessarily wants or expects us to do that. His aim seems to be more about getting people to think about the ways in which they describe landscape, to be more creative about it, rather than sticking to the same, unimaginative old words. Amen to that.

As always with Robert Macfarlane, highly recommended.

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