Sanctified Landscape: Writers, Artists, and the Hudson River Valley, 1820-1909
The Hudson River Valley was the first iconic American landscape. Beginning as early as the 1820s, artists and writers found new ways of thinking about the human relationship with the natural world along the Hudson. Here, amid the most dramatic river and mountain scenery in the eastern United States, Washington Irving and James Fenimore Cooper created a distinctly American literature, grounded in folklore and history, that contributed to the emergence of a sense of place in the valley. Painters, led by Thomas Cole, founded the Hudson River School, widely recognized as the first truly national style of art. As the century advanced and as landscape and history became increasingly intertwined in the national consciousness, an aesthetic identity took shape in the region through literature, art, memory, and folklore—even gardens and domestic architecture. In Sanctified Landscape, David Schuyler recounts this story of America's idealization of the Hudson Valley during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.