Synopses & Reviews
This book tells of the nineteenth-century American painters who, along with photographers, archaeologists, writers, evangelists, and tourists, flocked to the biblical Holy Land, a world of striking landscape vistas that reflected, in their eyes, a powerful image of the United States. Here they saw a metaphor for their country: a New World promised land, a divinely favored Protestant nation created by and for a modern "chosen people." Taking these biblical associations as a starting point, John Davis examines the ways in which nineteenth-century Americans looked to the actual landscape of the Holy Land as an extension of their national identity. Through close readings of panoramas, photographs, and conventional easel paintings, he shows how this "sacred topography" became a place to work out competing ideological debates surrounding American exceptionalism, prophetic millennialism, anti-Muslim and anti-Jewish sentiment, and post-Darwinian science.
Drawing on sermons, diaries, travel volumes, and novels, Davis explores the growth of a specific cultural market for landscape imagery of Ottoman Palestine and the manner in which easel painters responded to the popular demand for vernacular representations. Treating little-known painters such as Edward Troy and James Fairman together with major figures including Frederic Church, this volume combines pioneering research and new interpretations.
"The Landscape of Belief
is carefully researched, tightly organized, powerfully argued, beautifully written, and theoretically rich. Davis has added enormously to our understanding of 19th-century American religious and political culture as well as 19th-century American landscape painting and photography in a study that elegantly balances the demands of the object with those of its context."--Gail E. Husch, Art Bulletin
"Davis. . . explores the young nation's fascination with the Holy Land, who travelled there, how they recorded what they saw in diaries, photographs and paintings, and how the resulting iconography was put to use back home."--Washington Post Book World
"From the beginning, America's self-concept involved the Holy Land. . . . In the minds of many, America was the promised land. . . . Davis rightly underscores the irony that the Holy Land's people presented a threat to some Americans' sense of mental ownership."--Mary Werner Marien, The Christian Science Monitor
One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 1996
"John Davis has produced an outstanding contribution to this expanding field of study. His book, The Landscape of Belief
, is a wonder-filled treatment of nineteenth-century art and culture in regard to the American fascination with the Middle East."--Paul Gutjahr, Winterthur Portfolio
Includes bibliographical references (p. -255) and index.
Table of Contents
|List of Illustrations|
|Ch. 1||The American Identification with the Holy Land||13|
|Ch. 2||The American Presence in the Holy Land||27|
|Ch. 3||Panoramic Imagery in the Early Nineteenth Century||53|
|Ch. 4||Landscape, Photography, and Spectacle in the Late Nineteenth Century||73|
|Ch. 5||Miner Kellogg, Mount Sinai, and the New Jerusalem Church||101|
|Ch. 6||Edward Troye's Holy Land Series: The Flow of Sacred Waters||127|
|Ch. 7||James Fairman: The View from Outside||149|
|Ch. 8||Frederic Church's Late Career: The Landscape of History||168|
|Select Bibliography: Primary Sources||245|
|Select Bibliography: Secondary Sources||249|