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One of the contradictions of modern urban civilisation is the persistence of a nostalgia for rural life and landscape which has raised the countryside to an idealised status. So far the discussion of this phenomenon has been restricted to the relatively narrow perspectives of literary and intellectual history. This book broadens the analysis of the countryside ideal by exploring the relationships between its cultural origins and its manifestation in contemporary landscapes. The Countryside Ideal examines the main historical processes and ideas underlying the continuing attachment to the countryside, and how these have influenced popular values and lifestyles, defined attitudes to nature, country life and landscape, and affected the development of rural and urban landscapes. The cultural geographical framework recognises the particular strength of the countryside ideal in Anglo-American culture, and explores the similarities and differences in its British and North American expression. This book draws together diverse images of landscape to explore the preoccupation with place, culture and representation in the West.