From Petrarch’s contemplative view of nature from the top of Mont Ventoux to the “distant” view imposed on humanity for health reasons, what does it mean to see the Earth? And, from Bruegel’s painting to Goethe’s trip to Italy and to geography as a science, what is it to represent it?
Defined as the set of sensitive relations that man maintains with his natural and urban environment, it is landscape that is at stake here; landscape as space, but also as beyond space, both revealing and questioning for those who observe and live it.
As a vast panorama of the history of landscape thought, this book offers the reader six essays as many horizons for his reflection. Moral and spiritual at first, literary, aesthetic, philosophical and scientific still.
Scandalized by the analysis of some major works, the book finally devotes itself to the existential experience, within which the landscapes irrevocably concern the necessity and the need. Even though the context of ecological crisis enjoins us today to [re]ask ourselves “why”.
Jean-Marc Besse is director of research at the CNRS, director of studies at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales and a member of Géographie-cités. He is also co-director of the journal Les Carnets du paysage. Among his publications: Le Goût du monde (2009), Habiter, Un monde à mon image (2013), La Nécessité du paysage (2018).