Paper $35.00 ISBN: 9780226467832 Published February 2019
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Grammars of Approach

Landscape, Narrative, and the Linguistic Picturesque

Cynthia Wall

Grammars of Approach

Cynthia Wall

352 pages | 9 color plates, 16 halftones, | 6 x 9 | © 2018 
Paper $35.00 ISBN: 9780226467832 Published February 2019
Cloth $105.00 ISBN: 9780226467665 Published February 2019
E-book $10.00 to $35.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226467979 Published February 2019
In Grammars of Approach, Cynthia Wall offers a close look at changes in perspective in spatial design, language, and narrative across the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries that involve, literally and psychologically, the concept of “approach.” In architecture, the term “approach” changed in that period from a verb to a noun, coming to denote the drive from the lodge at the entrance of an estate “through the most interesting part of the grounds,” as landscape designer Humphrey Repton put it.  The shift from the long straight avenue to the winding approach, Wall shows, swung the perceptual balance away from the great house onto the personal experience of the visitor. At the same time, the grammatical and typographical landscape was shifting in tandem, away from objects and Things (and capitalized common Nouns) to the spaces in between, like punctuation and the “lesser parts of speech”. The implications for narrative included new patterns of syntactical architecture and the phenomenon of free indirect discourse. Wall examines the work of landscape theorists such as Repton, John Claudius Loudon, and Thomas Whately alongside travel narratives, topographical views, printers’ manuals, dictionaries, encyclopedias, grammars, and the novels of Defoe, Richardson, Burney, Radcliffe, and Austen to reveal a new landscaping across disciplines—new grammars of approach in ways of perceiving and representing the world in both word and image.
List of Illustrations
A Note on My Text


1         The Architectural Approach
The etymology of “approach” (n. s.)
The concept of approach (n. s. and v.): the “ancient” and the “modern” lines
The language of approach (v.): architectural and syntactical design
The traveler’s approach
The novelist’s approach

2         The Prepositional Building
The park gate lodge
The topographical view: angles and staffage
A Bridge to the next part: “A Village on, or across, the Thames

3         The Topographical Page
The typographical landscape
The letters on the page
i. Fonts
ii. CAPITALS and Italics
iii. catchwords
iv. :- pointing

4         The Grammar in Between
The rise of grammar
The rise of the preposition
Clarissa and the little words: the avenue and the approach
i. Richardson as printer
ii. Clarissa and prepositions
iii. Clarissa as preposition

5         The Narrative Picturesque
Syntactical architecture in textual landscapes
i. Bunyan: “thinges . . . included in one word”
ii. Defoe: “in a Word
iii. Haywood: “In fine, she was undone”
The narrative picturesque
i. Radcliffe and the prepositional phrase
ii. Burney and the psychological interior
iii. Austen and the approach to the interior

Coda   A Topographical Page
Review Quotes
Frances Ferguson, University of Chicago
Grammars of Approach is the best kind of literary history. Wall combines capacious knowledge of the eighteenth century with an entirely original understanding of the ways in which thinkers in the period described a redistributed perceptual field—one in which landscape gardening, accounts of grammar and composition, architecture, and narrative all began to perceive and describe a newly important middle distance. Wall’s generous conception of the notion of the approach illuminates the novel’s role in dispatching abstract personification and replacing it with an expansive sense of physical space that can be occupied by multiple perspectives.”
Kate Flint, University of Southern California
“This is a stunningly original book. It’s a stroke of genius to link together these three modes of reading—reading a landscape, reading language, and reading the physical appearance of a page. All obey (or break) rules of grammar through their use of space and punctuation; scale and focus; the direct, the meandering, the oblique, the carefully signaled emphasis. In Grammars of Approach, Cynthia Wall significantly expands how we think about form and visuality.”
David Spurr, author of Architecture and Modern Literature
“Cynthia Wall provides a wealth of new evidence for the notion that writing and architecture have comparable and interrelated ways of producing meaning. This elegantly written work will serve as a reference for all those interested in the interdisciplinarity of eighteenth-century cultural forms.”
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