'Domestic Geography' and the Politics of Scottish Landscape in Nan Shepherd's The Living Mountain

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Abstract:

In its exploration of the reading possibilities of a domestic geography metaphor, this article highlights an engagement with the natural world as both embodied experience and textual practice in Nan Shepherd's neglected prose work, The Living Mountain. Domestic geography is intended as a pathway which shows how the structure and content of this text are inseparable and, by highlighting the complex narrative arrangement of The Living Mountain, privileges the textual representation of an engagement with the natural world from the perspective of a native dweller. In unearthing this forgotten native perspective on the Scottish landscape, the article examines how Shepherd uncovers the hidden ideological nature of the dominant discourses - of science, history, romanticism and landscape aesthetics - which have come to define the Scottish landscape. Drawing on the limited biographical material available on Shepherd, and in a close reading of the text itself, the article shows that both the Cairngorm Mountains and the manuscript of The Living Mountain were an important part of Shepherd's everyday space.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09663690120026307

Publication date: March 1, 2001

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