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Alexandra Harris was born in Sussex in 1981 and was educated at the University of Oxford and the Courtauld Institute, London. She is the editor (with Lara Feigel) of Modernism on Sea and is currently Lecturer in English at the University of Liverpool.
Winner of the Guardian First Book Award 2010. A rich and interesting look at the Romantic Revolution of the 1930’s and 40’s in England covering artists, writers, architects, gardeners, designers – a whole host of artistic talent.
Dates are invented things. Nothing in nature decrees that today is today. But for millennia humans have divided time into portions, and given those portions names which are shared widely across cultures, creating a common agreement on the date. This convention is useful in practical ways: we can make arrangements and can communicate time elapsed or time ahead. But the calendar also makes a certain kind of truth and establishes that today is today. As calendars and almanacs developed, art from their specific time and place was naturally incorporated. In this small book showcasing the finest and most interesting art that has gone into almanacs, from the eight century onwards, Alexandra Harris brings in everything from Benedictine calendars to Old Moore's Almanack.
In 2018 the National Portrait Gallery, the National Gallery and the Royal Academy of Arts will host major exhibitions of the work of Tacita Dean. Each will provide a different encounter with her art. This book brings together new and existing works from all three exhibitions - LANDSCAPE, PORTRAIT, STILL LIFE - with texts offering a unique insight into Dean's work by leading writers including Alexandra Harris, Alan Hollinghurst and Ali Smith. Published at a particularly prolific period for Dean, this book provides a new and authoritative view of a hugely influential artist who has been at the forefront of British art for over twenty years. The volume is published with three different covers.
Writers and artists across the centuries, from Chaucer to Ian McEwan, and from the creator of the Luttrell Psalter in the 14th century to John Piper in the 20th, looking up at the same skies and walking in the same brisk air, have felt very different things and woven them into their novels, poems and paintings. Alexandra Harris's subject is not the weather itself, but the weather as it is daily recreated in the human imagination. She builds her remarkable story from small evocative details and catches the distinct voices of compelling individuals: 'Bloody cold', says Jonathan Swift in the 'slobbery' January of 1713; Percy Shelley wants to become a cloud and John Ruskin wants to bottle one... Weatherland is both a sweeping panorama of cultural climates on the move and a richly illustrated, intimate account - for although weather is vast, it is experienced physically, emotionally and spiritually; as Harris cleverly reveals, it is at the very heart of English life and culture.
The story of English culture over a thousand years can be told as the story of changing ideas about the weather. Writers and artists across the centuries, looking up at the same skies and walking in the same brisk air, have felt very different things. In a sweeping panorama, Weatherland allows us to witness cultural climates on the move. The Anglo-Saxons before the Norman Conquest lived in a wintry world, writing about the coldness of exile or the shelters they must defend against enemies outdoors. The Middle Ages brought the warmth of spring; the new lyrics were sung in praise of blossom and cuckoos. It is hard to find a description of a rainy night before 1700, but by the end of the eighteenth century the Romantics will take a squall as fit subject for their most probing thoughts. There have been times when the numbers on a rain gauge count for more than a pantheon of aerial gods. There have been times for meteoric marvels and times for gentle breeze. The weather is vast and yet we experience it intimately, which is why Alexandra Harris builds her remarkable story from small evocative details. There is the drawing of a twelfth-century man in February, warming bare toes by the fire. There is the tiny glass left behind from the Frost Fair of 1684, and the 'Sunspan' house in Angmering that embodies the bright ambitions of the 1930s. Harris catches the distinct voices of compelling individuals. 'Bloody cold', says Jonathan Swift in the 'slobbery' January of 1713. Percy Shelley wants to become a cloud and John Ruskin wants to bottle one. Weatherland is a celebration of English air and a life-story of those who have lived in it. As we enter what may be the last decades of English weather as we know it, this is a history for our times.
While the battles for modern art and society were being fought in France and Spain, it has seemed a betrayal that John Betjeman and John Piper were in love with a provincial world of old churches and tea-shops. In this multi-awardwinning book - now available in paperback - Alexandra Harris tells a different story. In the 1930s and 1940s, artists and writers explored what it meant to be alive in England. Eclectically, passionately, wittily, they showed that `the modern' need not be at war with the past. Constructivists and conservatives could work together, and even the Bauhaus emigre, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, was beguiled into taking photographs for Betjeman's nostalgic Oxford University Chest. This modern English renaissance was shared by writers, painters, gardeners, architects, critics, tourists and composers. John Piper, Virginia Woolf, Florence White, Christopher Tunnard, Evelyn Waugh, E. M. Forster and the Sitwells are part of the story, along with Bill Brandt, Graham Sutherland, Eric Ravilious and Cecil Beaton.
Alexandra Harris's hugely acclaimed Romantic Moderns (winner of the 2010 Guardian First Book Award) overturned our picture of modernist culture during the interwar years. In her second book, which is newly available in paperback, she brings her attention to one of the towering figures of literary modernism. It is an intensely pleasurable read that weaves together the life and work of Virginia Woolf, and serves as an ideal introduction to both. Following the chronology of Woolf's life, it considers each of the novels in context, gives due prominence to her dazzlingly inventive essays, traces the contentious course of her 'afterlife' and shows why, seventy years after her death, Virginia Woolf continues to haunt and inspire us.
Alexandra Harris's hugely acclaimed book Romantic Moderns (winner of the 2010 Guardian First Book Award) overturned our picture of modernist culture during the interwar years. In this, her second book, she brings her attention to one of the towering figures of literary modernism. It is an intensely pleasurable read that weaves together the life and work of Virginia Woolf, and serves as an ideal introduction to both. Following the chronology of Woolf's life, it considers each of the novels in context, gives due prominence to her dazzlingly inventive essays, traces the contentious course of her `afterlife' and shows why, seventy years after her death,Virginia Woolf continues to haunt and inspire us.