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Rural Modernity in BritainA Critical Intervention$
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Kristin Bluemel and Michael McCluskey

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474420952

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474420952.001.0001

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Altered Countrysides: Paul Nash, David Jones and Eric Ravilious in Wartime

Altered Countrysides: Paul Nash, David Jones and Eric Ravilious in Wartime

(p.225) Chapter 13 Altered Countrysides: Paul Nash, David Jones and Eric Ravilious in Wartime
Rural Modernity in Britain

Eluned Summers-Bremner

Edinburgh University Press

Many interwar English artists sought comfort from their experiences of World War I in renditions of rural landscape that were also occasions of advance-mourning for future international conflict. Three of these painters—Paul Nash, David Jones, and Eric Ravilious—are the subjects of Eluned Summers-Bremner’s chapter. It explores how, in Nash’s work, natural land forms are made into modern historical agents, and in Jones’s into de-temporalised signs of modernity’s engagement with the rural. In contrast, Ravilious’s interwar and early wartime landscapes might be said to enact the estrangement of the rural by modernity. The chapter argues that in images of the rural by these three artists, all impacted by English wars, landscape is visibly altered by composition and method as much as by modernization. Through formal close readings it becomes clear that we are not looking at a product of rural nostalgia but at something more prescient and unnerving.

Keywords:   World War I artists, World War II artists, Paul Nash, David Jones, Eric Ravilious, Landscape painting, Nostalgia

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