January 3, 2003
1.9 Pounds (US)
$50.00 USD
v2.1 Reference
Paperback / softback
January 3, 2003
1.6 Pounds (US)
$27.95 USD, £18.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Walks and Talks of an American Farmer in England

Before he ever dreamed of becoming a landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted (1822–1903) visited southern England and Wales during a month-long walking tour. A gifted writer, he recorded his impressions of the trip in this richly detailed volume, which has long been out of print. "In Walks and Talks," writes Charles C. McLaughlin, author of the book's new introduction, "Olmsted is reporter, social analyst, narrator, dramatist, scene-painter, and humorist, employing a wide range of modes and styles to give us the sights, sounds, and mental impressions of rural England in 1850."

Olmsted's narrative-at turns poetic, funny, critical, and meticulous-is a delight to read. It is also an important historical document, revealing the extent to which England permeated almost every aspect of Olmsted's emerging worldview, soon to find expression in his various careers as scientific farmer, author and publisher, social critic, reformer, administrator, and landscape architect of major parks and park systems throughout the United States.

The introduction clarifies the links between Olmsted's developing picturesque aesthetic, social conscience, and reformer's passion for change. McLaughlin offers a persuasive argument that Olmsted would come to adapt many of the features of the cultivated English countryside-first seen on this trip-in designed landscapes such as New York's Central Park.

This edition provides extensive annotations to the original text, furnishing background and context to the people and places Olmsted encountered during his journey. McLaughlin's notes are based on his own trips through England, undertaken over the past two decades to retrace the author's original route.

Published in association with Library of American Landscape History: http://lalh.org/

About the Author

Charles C. McLaughlin is professor emeritus of history at the American University, Washington, D.C., and founding editor of The Papers of Frederick Law Olmsted.


"In this book we get not only a young American's vivid impressions of mid-nineteenth century England, but also the first glimmers of Frederick Law Olmsted the observant journalist and future landscape designer. Charles McLaughlin's erudite introduction usefully puts all this in the proper perspective."—Witold Rybczynski, author of A Clearing in the Distance:

Frederick Law Olmsted and America in the Nineteenth Century

"It is fascinating to see Olmsted, whose life work as a park maker and city planner was still uncharted, here absorbing and recording first-hand impressions of England's rapidly changing countryside and growing industrial cities as he theorizes how art, science, technology, and nature might be united toward socially beneficial ends in democratic America. Charles McLaughlin's gracefully erudite introduction to this timely re-publication of Walks and Talks of an American Farmer in England provides a vivid portrait of a young mid-nineteenth-century traveler professing opinions, making observations, and forming interests that constitute the seeds of genius from which would flourish an innovative, far-reaching, influential career in landscape design."—Elizabeth Barlow Rogers, Founding president, Central Park Conservancy

Director, Garden History and

Landscape Studies, Bard Graduate Center

"It is most welcome to have, for the first time in over a century, an edition of the full text of Frederick Law Olmsted's first, and most engaging, book. Written with the enthusiasm and impressionability of youth, Walks and Talks is a charming chronicle of a Connecticut Yankee's discovery of old scenes and new ideas in the land of his ancestors. Other editions published since the 1852 original have given only a partial glimpse of the richness of this remarkable journal. This new edition benefits greatly from the annotation that accompanies and expands on Olmsted's text, while the editor's gracefully phrased introduction provides a most useful setting for the narrative."—Charles Beveridge, Series Editor, the Frederick Law Olmsted Papers

American University
University of Massachusetts Press

9781558493797 : walks-and-talks-of-an-american-farmer-in-england-olmsted
512 Pages
$50.00 USD
9781558493803 : walks-and-talks-of-an-american-farmer-in-england-olmsted
Paperback / softback
512 Pages
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