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By Robert J. Mayhew (auth.)
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Extra resources for Landscape, Literature and English Religious Culture, 1660–1800: Samuel Johnson and Languages of Natural Description
He found such a combination in ‘the Roman Territory, or the Country of Italy’ which was well known to natural philosophers as ‘a Store-house of Fire’, and, as obviously to Burnet, ‘seeing “Mystical Babylon,” the seat of Antichrist, is the same Rome and its Territory’ his conclusion was that ‘there is a Fairness, on both hands [the natural and the providential] to conclude, that, at the glorious Appearance of our Saviour, the Conflagration will begin at the City of Rome’. 30 In addition to these fixed points of biblical chronology influencing the understanding of landscape, there was also the notion of God’s continued presence as expressed through exceptional events such as earthquakes.
E. an historical one] cannot include an account of why X thought it to be true . . nor even an account of why X thought it to be true though many with the same values as X . . would have been able to show conclusively why it was false. 47 As such, it is concerned with what the evidence obliges us to believe, rather than with what actually happened. If, as my previous argument has suggested, we can see landscape as an independent subject of inquiry, then the approach of linguistic contextualism would seem to have some claims as a methodology by which to study it within the historical mode of experience.
This would appear the most satisfactory way to recognize both the specificity of landscape, and that its autonomy is not tantamount to isolation from other discourses. ’ In other words, the relevant community of discourse may have to include all of Western civilisation. And more. . 58 Contextualism is thus seen as the historical mutation of Laplace’s dictum, the empty formalism that if we understood everything bar the text, we could sensibly locate the text in its environment. This does not make contextual inquiry impossible in principle, but only reminds us of our inability to reach a final interpretation.
Landscape, Literature and English Religious Culture, 1660–1800: Samuel Johnson and Languages of Natural Description by Robert J. Mayhew (auth.)