Impetuous torrents: Scottish waterfalls in travellers’ narratives, 1769–1830

Cole, E. (2015) Impetuous torrents: Scottish waterfalls in travellers’ narratives, 1769–1830. Scottish Geographical Journal, 131(1), pp. 49-66. (doi: 10.1080/14702541.2014.988287)

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This paper examines the waterfall in travellers’ accounts and guidebooks of Scotland between 1769 and 1830. As well as providing easily accessible punctuation points in the narratives of travellers journeying through the often bleak surroundings of the Scottish Highlands, waterfalls were central to the main aesthetic categories devoted to interpretation of natural features in this period, the sublime and the picturesque. With reference to these categories – the sublime disclosing sentiments of awe, even of terror; the picturesque, detached contemplation – the paper discusses waterfalls as static objects, and as instances of dynamic processes. Waterfalls are perhaps the pre-eminent landform for static, picturesque appraisal. At the same time, they are inescapably dynamic, embodying characteristics associated with the sublime such as multi-sensory experience, non-human agency, and emotional and affective impact. These latter characteristics are recognised by recent phenomenological approaches to landscape in human geography, in contrast with more visual, representational treatments of landscape.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Cole, Mr Edward
Authors: Cole, E.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Journal Name:Scottish Geographical Journal
Journal Abbr.:1751-665X
Publisher:The Royal Scottish Geographical Society

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