The Lighted Window
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From the publisher
Homecoming, haunting, nostalgia, desire: these are some of the themes evoked by the beguiling motif of the lighted window in literature and art. In this innovative combination of place-writing, memoir and cultural study, Peter Davidson takes us on atmospheric walks through nocturnal cities in Britain, Europe and North America, and revisits the field paths of rural England. Surveying a wide range of material, the book extends, chronologically, from early romantic painting to contemporary fiction, and geographically, from the Low Countries to Japan. It features familiar lighted windows in English literature (in the works of poets such as Thomas Hardy and Matthew Arnold and in the novels of Virginia Woolf, Arthur Conan Doyle and Kenneth Grahame) and examines the painted nocturnes of James Whistler, John Atkinson Grimshaw and the ruralist Samuel Palmer. It also considers Japanese prints of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; German romanticism in painting, poetry and music; Proust and the painters of the French belle epoque; Rene Magritte's 'L'Empire des Lumieres'; and North American painters such as Edward Hopper and Linden Frederick. By interpreting the interactions of art, literature and geography around this evocative motif, Peter Davidson shows how it has inspired an extraordinary variety of moods and ideas, from the romantic period to the present day.