Matthew N. Johnston, Narrating the Landscape: Print Culture and American Expansion in the Nineteenth Century. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 2016. 242 pp. Cloth, $34.95. Matthew N. Johnston's Narrating the Landscape (the latest volume in the now decade-old Charles M. Russell Center Series on Art and Photography of the American West) examines the wider "print culture" that informed discourses of transportation and tourism, science, and ethnography in the middle decades of the nineteenth century. An insightful and precise media history of railroad and scenic guides, gift books, ethnographic studies, and geological surveys, Johnston's analysis pushes forward western studies' growing interest in visual culture and its significance for understanding pretwentieth-century views of landscapes and peoples. "Views" should be read here in its most literal sense, as Johnston is very much concerned with the ways that illustrated texts mediated consumers' observations of landscapes both out the window of a train and on the page of a guidebook. While the study is usefully situated in art historical scholarship, what makes Narrating the Landscape particularly pertinent to scholars of western literature is its focus on the ways that image and text combine to form innovative narrative practices. In this way Johnston productively
Western American Literature – The Western Literature Association
Published: Jul 12, 2017
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