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Trees in Nineteenth-Century English Fiction: The Silvicultural Novel
 9780367369040, 9780367747916, 9780429351884

Table of contents :
Half Title
Series Page
Title Page
Copyright Page
Table of Contents
List of Figures
1 A Silvicultural Tradition
Single Trees and Remarkable Specimens
From Clumps to Forests: Trees in Combination
Gilpin and the New Forest
A Changing Woodscape: Preservation and Planting into the Nineteenth Century
2 Arboreal Boundaries and Silvicultural ‘Improvement’ in the Literary Landscapes of Jane Austen
Silvicultural Dynamism: Arboreal Conversations and Characterisations
Trees, Improvement, and Maintaining Arboreal Boundaries
3 The Presence and Absence of Trees in the Writings of Elizabeth Gaskell
The Topographies of Trees in Libbie Marsh’s Three Erasand Ruth
‘delicious air’ and the Green Belt in North and South
4 Reading Ancient Trees and Arboreal Strata in the Woodlanders
Arboreal Accumulation and the ‘Billy Wilkins’ Tree
Reading Stratigraphical Woodscapes: The Intersection of Aesthetics and Geology
5 ‘Such is the Vale of Blackmoor’: Navigating Trees, Memory,and Prospect in Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Topographical Perambulation and the Arboreal Margin
Accumulating Prospects and Retrospective Reflection, Tess as Active Spectator

Citation preview

Trees in Nineteenth-Century English Fiction

This is a book about a longstanding network of writers and writings that celebrate the aesthetic, socio-political, scientific, ecological, geographical, and historical value of trees and tree spaces in the landscape; and it is a study of the effect of this tree-writing upon the novel form in the long nineteenth century. Trees in Nineteenth-Century English Fiction: The Silvicultural Novel identifies the picturesque thinker William Gilpin as a significant influence in this literary and environmental tradition. Remarks on Forest Scenery (1791) is formed by Gilpin’s own observations of trees, forests, and his New Forest home specifically; but it is also the product of tree-stories collected from ‘travellers and historians’ that came before him. This study tracks the impact of this accumulating arboreal discourse upon nineteenth-century environmental writers such as John Claudius Loudon, Jacob George Strutt, William Howitt, and Mary Roberts, and its influence on varied dialogues surrounding natural history, agriculture, landscaping, deforestation, and public health. Building upon this concept of an ongoing silvicultural discussion, the monograph examines how novelists in the realist mode engage with this discourse and use their understanding of arboreal space and its cultural worth in order to transform their own fictional environments. Through their novelistic framing of single trees, clumps, forests, ancient woodlands, and man-made plantations, Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell, and Thomas Hardy feature as authors of particular interest. Collectively, in their environmental representations, these novelists engage with a broad range of silvicultural conversation in their writing of space at the beginning, middle, and end of the nineteenth century. This book will be of great interest to students, researchers, and academics working in the environmental humanities, long nineteenth-century literature, nature writing and environmental literature, environmental history, ecocriticism, and literature and science scholarship. Anna Burton is an early career researcher and teaching fellow at the ­University of Liverpool. Her research interests include long nineteenth-­ century literature, natural history, nature writing, and the afterlives of the ‘Picturesque’.

Routledge Environmental Humanities Series editors: Scott Slovic (University of Idaho, USA), Joni Adamson (Arizona State University, USA) and Yuki Masami (Aoyama Gakuin University, Japan) Editorial Board Christina Alt, St Andrews University, UK Alison Bashford, University of New South Wales, Australia Peter Coates, University of Bristol, UK Thom van Dooren, University of New South Wales, Australia Georgina Endfield, Liverpool, UK Jodi Frawley, University of Western Australia, Australia Andrea Gaynor, The University of Western Australia, Australia Christina Gerhardt, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, USA Tom Lynch, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, USA Iain McCalman, University of Sydney, Australia Jennifer Newell, Australian Museum, Sydney, Australia Simon Pooley, Imperial College London, UK Sandra Swart, Stellenbosch University, South Africa Ann Waltner, University of Minnesota, US Jessica Weir, University of Western Sydney, Australia International Advisory Board William Beinart, University of Oxford, UK Jane Carruthers, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa Dipesh Chakrabarty, University of Chicago, USA Paul Holm, Trinity College, Dublin, Republic of Ireland Shen Hou, Renmin University of China, Beijing, China Rob Nixon, Princeton University, Princeton NJ, USA Pauline Phemister, Institute of Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh, UK Sverker Sorlin, KTH Environmental Humanities Laboratory, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden Helmuth Trischler, Deutsches Museum, Munich and Co-Director, Rachel Carson Centre, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Germany Mary Evelyn Tucker, Yale University, USA Kirsten Wehner, University of London, UK The Routledge Environmental Humanities series is an original and inspiring venture recognising that today’s world agricultural and water crises, ocean pollution and resource depletion, global warming from greenhouse gases, urban sprawl, overpopulation, food insecurity and environmental justice are all crises of culture. The reality of understanding and finding adaptive solutions to our ­present and future environmental challenges has shifted the epicenter of environmental studies away from an exclusively scientific and technological framework to one that depends on the human-focused disciplines and ideas of the humanities and allied social sciences. We thus welcome book proposals from all humanities and social sciences disciplines for an inclusive and interdisciplinary series. We favour manuscripts aimed at an international readership and written in a lively and accessible style. The readership comprises scholars and students from the humanities and social sciences and thoughtful readers concerned about the human dimensions of environmental change. For more information about this series, please visit:

Trees in Nineteenth-Century English Fiction The Silvicultural Novel

Anna Burton

First published 2021 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 52 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2021 Anna Burton The right of Anna Burton to be identified as author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A catalog record has been requested for this book ISBN: 978-0-367-36904-0 (hbk) ISBN: 978-0-367-74791-6 (pbk) ISBN: 978-0-429-35188-4 (ebk) Typeset in Times New Roman by codeMantra

For my parents, Gloria and David.


List of figures Acknowledgements Introduction 1 A silvicultural tradition Single trees and remarkable specimens 15 From clumps to forests: trees in combination 34 Gilpin and the New Forest 40 A changing woodscape: preservation and planting into the nineteenth century 51 2 Arboreal boundaries and silvicultural ‘improvement’ in the literary landscapes of Jane Austen Silvicultural dynamism: arboreal conversations and Characterisations 68 Trees, improvement, and maintaining arboreal boundaries 80 3 The presence and absence of trees in the writings of Elizabeth Gaskell The topographies of trees in Libbie Marsh’s Three Eras and Ruth 109 ‘delicious air’ and the green belt in North and South 121

ix xiii 1 13



4 Reading ancient trees and arboreal strata in The Woodlanders 138 Arboreal accumulation and the ‘Billy Wilkins’ tree 141 Reading stratigraphical woodscapes: the intersection of aesthetics and geology  151

viii Contents 5 ‘Such is the Vale of Blackmoor’: Navigating trees, memory, and prospect in Tess of the D’Urbervilles 169 Topographical perambulation and the arboreal margin 171 Accumulating prospects and retrospective reflection, Tess as active spectator 187 Conclusion





1.1 Anon. (1823) A gnarled and hollow old oak tree (Quercus robur L.) sheltering a shepherd and his sheep [Etching after J.G. Strutt]. Photograph courtesy of Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) 17 1.2 Illustrations of Branch Spray and Ramification. William Gilpin. (1791) Remarks on Forest Scenery and Other Woodland Views (Relative Chiefly to Picturesque Beauty) Illustrated by the Scenes of New-Forest in Hampshire (2 vols). London: R. Blamire, 1:107. By courtesy of The University of Liverpool Library, SPEC Y79.3.552 v.1 19 1.3 Branches and Spray by William Gilpin and Jacob G. Strutt. J. C. Loudon. (1838) Arboretum et Fruticetum Britannicum (8 vols). London: Longman, 3: 1794. By courtesy of The University of Liverpool Library, SPEC Y83.3.440 v.3 21 1.4 Henry Ince. (1839) ‘The Upas Tree’, in H. Ince (ed.) The Wonders of the World in Nature and Art. London: Grattan & Gilbert, p. 564. Reproduced by kind permission of The Illustration Archive 26 1.5 George Cruikshank (1842) People reaching for alcoholic drink falling from a pile of barrels of liquor likened to the upas-tree; skeletons litter the ground [coloured etching]. Photo courtesy of Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) 27 1.6 Anon. (1862) ‘The Cadnam Oak’, Leisure Hour, 11(573): pp. 807–08. Reproduced by kind permission of the Database of Mid-Victorian Illustration 31 1.7 Cadnam Oak on 1909 25” OS map LXIV – 05. Photograph courtesy of Christopher Tower New Forest Reference Library at the New Forest Heritage Centre 32 1.8 John Claudius Loudon. (1836) ‘Reviews’, in Architectural magazine, and journal of improvement in architecture, building, and furnishing, and in the various arts and trades

x Figures

1.9 1.10

2.1 2.2


3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 4.1 4.2


connected therewith, 3(30): pp. 360–383 (p. 382). Photograph courtesy of ProQuest British Periodicals Collection 55 Anon, (1850) ‘The Talking Elms, or The Hamadryals of Hyde Park’, Punch, 19: p. 32. By courtesy of The University of Liverpool Library, SPEC Per AP101.P1 v.19 60 W. Lacey. (1851) The Great Exhibition in the Crystal Palace, Hyde Park, London: the transept looking north [steel engraving after J.E. Mayall]. Photograph courtesy of Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) 61 G. Walker. (1807) A path, with two cows on the left of it and a blasted tree on the right [lithograph]. Photograph courtesy of Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) 71 John Evelyn. (1706) Sylva, or a discourse of forest-trees, and the propagation of timber in His Majesty’s dominions. 4th edn. London: R. Scott, p. 354. Photo courtesy of Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) 76 Illustration of Clumps of Trees. William Gilpin. (1791) Remarks on Forest Scenery and Other Woodland Views (Relative Chiefly to Picturesque Beauty) Illustrated by the Scenes of New-Forest in Hampshire (2 vols). London: R. Blamire, Vol. 1, p. 179.  By courtesy of The University of Liverpool Library, SPEC Y79.3.552  v.1 88 George du Maurier. (1866) ‘A CRISIS’, in Elizabeth Gaskell, Wives and Daughters. London: Smith, Elder. Photo courtesy of Project Gutenberg 104 George du Maurier. (1867) Frontispiece, in Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South. London: Smith, Elder. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons 110 Anon. (1855) Frontispiece, in Elizabeth Gaskell’s Libbie Marsh’s Three Eras. London: Hamilton. By courtesy of The University of Liverpool Library, SPEC G42.60 111 William Cowen. (1849) View of Bradford [oil on canvas]. Bradford Art Galleries and Museums, West Yorkshire. Photograph courtesy of Bridgeman Images 112 ‘The fruit grower’s guide: Vintage illustration of tools’. Photograph courtesy of Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license 143 Henry Macbeth-Raeburn. (1896) Frontispiece, in Thomas Hardy’s The Woodlanders. London: Osgood McIlvaine. Scanned image by Philip V. Allingham. Photograph courtesy of Victorian Web 152 ‘A fossil Ichthyosaur, a Marine Reptile from the lower Jurassic shales of Hotzmaden, Germany. The skeleton in permineralized’. Photograph courtesy of Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)159

Figures  xi 4.4 Sir Henry De La Beche. (1830) Ichthyosaurs attending a lecture on fossilised human remains [lithograph]. Photograph courtesy of Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) 160 5.1 Hermann Lea. (1913) Blackmoor Vale [photograph]. Photograph courtesy of Dorset History Centre, Dorset 170 5.2 Thomas Hardy’s annotated ‘Tess Map’. George Frederick Cruchley. (1855) Cruchley’s railway and station map of Dorset. Showing all the railways and names of stations, also the turnpike roads, gentlemens seats, &c &c. Improved from the Ordnance Surveys. London: G. F. Cruchley. From the library of Thomas Hardy. Photograph courtesy of Dorset County Museum, Dorset 174 5.3 Howard Phipps. (1992) A Beech Shaded Hollow, Cranborne Chase [wood engraving]. Reproduced by kind permission of Howard Phipps 178 5.4 Emma Hardy. (1890) Blackmore Vale [oil on canvas]. Photograph courtesy of Dorset County Museum, Dorset 181


From my PhD thesis to the pages here, this book has taken a long time to come into existence. As this is my first monograph, I hope you will forgive the perambulatory nature of the acknowledgements herein. I would like to thank the following people, without whom, this book would not have been possible: Thanks are due to my wonderful PhD supervisors, Greg Lynall and Melissa Raines; you kept me on track, read multiple drafts, and have continued to provide wise words and support beyond the thesis. S ­ ignificant recognition is also due to my viva examiners, Matthew Bradley and Adelene Buckland, for providing constructive feedback and encouragement that informed this book from the outset. To the following scholars, near and far, who have informed my research into particular authors, literary landscapes, and environmental histories in a variety of ways—Fiona Stafford, John Parham, Ralph O’Connor, Charles Watkins, Sharon Ruston, Martin Willis, Jo Taylor, Kelly Sultzbach, Christiana Payne, Tracy Hayes, Frances Twinn, Sam Solnick, Jill Rudd, and Georgina Endfield—to name a few. Special credit goes to Sally Blackburn-­ Daniels, Bethan Roberts, and Corrina Readioff, who have helped me see the wood for the trees when it comes to navigating life as an early career researcher, one coffee at a time. I would also like to acknowledge the following individuals and ­institutions who helped to provide and source the illustrations in this book: Kat ­Broomfield, Chris Norris, Howard Phipps, Julia Thomas, Katherine Walker, the Christopher Tower New Forest Reference Library at the New Forest Heritage Centre, and Special Collections and Archives at the Sydney Jones Library. Thanks are also due to colleagues at the University of Liverpool, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the British Society for Literature and Science, Thomas Hardy Society, Dorset County Museum, Elizabeth Gaskell Society, The Woodland Trust, Forestry Commission, and the Routledge Environmental Humanities Series for helping this arboreal study into being.

xiv Acknowledgements On a more personal level, thank you to the following people in my life for putting up with me whilst I was putting this book together: Helen and Lizzy, thanks for always being there with gin and Spice Girls songs when needed. Jess and Catherine, thank you for Crawford, Whitman, and beyond. Emma, Arron, and Natalie, you have kept me laughing and in muddy boots, which has been more of a help than you can possibly know. Al, my partner in crime, thanks for agreeing to walk up Red Screes with me. Last, but by no means least, to my brilliant family: Mum, Dad, ­Susan, Jenny, Mark C, Mark B, Ellen, Sofia, Oliver, and Felicity. Lots of love and thanks for your never-ending patience, encouragement, support, walks, mad-­half-hours, and tree-related puns. I hope this book makes you proud too.


Last year, on holiday with friends in Scotland, I visited the Birnam Oak tree in the knowledge that the ancient specimen was supposed to be a remnant of the moving forest in Shakespeare’s tragedy, Macbeth (1606). As the information board next to the gnarly relic supported with sticks tells us, it is associated with the events of the play, localised history, and folklore. Moreover, on her own visit to the Birnam Oak several months later, my Mum picked and brought home a fallen acorn from the roots of this tree. This acorn was then planted by her, and has since started to grow shoots; a future ancestor and physical extension of the Birnam Oak now resides and develops its own transplanted narrative in a Merseyside garden. The Birnam Oak is a notable example of how humans (my family included) have constructed and continue to construct fictional and non-fictional narratives around trees, narratives that accrue within and beyond texts. In Macbeth itself, arboreal knowledge as assumed and fashioned by the protagonist is a key turning point in his downfall. Despite Macbeth’s literal translation and dismissal of the witches’ prophecy—for ‘Who can impress the forest, bid the tree | Unfix his earth-bound root?’—Malcolm’s soldiers hew down branches of Birnam Forest in their movement to take Dunsinane Castle (Shakespeare, 2015, 4.1: ll. 94–95). To quote Robert Pogue Harrison, here Macbeth ‘is the victim, in short, of his own impressions’ (Harrison, 1992: p. 104). Rather than seeing it as a site of multifarious interpretation, Macbeth’s erroneous ‘impressions’ of the arboreal prophecy are constructed through his own connotations and perceptions of what a forest should and can be. The physical and cultural presence of the Birnam Oak in situ is suggestive of a kind of arboreal longevity; but perceiving tree space as fixed in physical and cultural terms is problematic. Physical trees are cyclical sites with an observable narrative through the seasons; and despite this outward transience, the rings of an ancient or veteran tree can denote a multi-layered and much longer existence, and the growth of a young sapling is an indication of this potential. Trees have the capacity to contain multiple narratives and exist within continual temporalities, and this means that these objects are, and continue to be, entities of fictional and non-fictional association. Whilst starting a book about trees

2 Introduction in nineteenth-century English fiction with a Scottish and Shakespearean tree may seem like an error in itself, it foregrounds the idea at the centre of this book that trees are textual, individualised, and communal beings within the cultural imagination. It also leads the following discussion with an admission that as far as history and literature can tell us, humans have always projected their own experiential views on to these valued spaces, and so a period-specific study of trees only shows a part of the multigenerational picture. That being said, this study seeks to isolate the long nineteenth century as a period of distinctive and notable arboreal awareness in this historical process. Paul Readman makes the case that as a result of ‘industrialisation, urbanisation, rapid technological and societal change’, between the end of the eighteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth in particular, in a significant way art and literature helped to shape landscape in the individual and cultural imaginations (Readman, 2018: pp. 3–4). This ‘was part of a wider felt sense of connection between landscape and the past’, and through these mediums, the nation’s connection with landscape was built upon historical association, the ‘landscape was storied’ through heritage (2018: pp. 3–4). Trees in Nineteenth-Century English Fiction: The Silvicultural Novel presents the idea that within this broad landscape context, trees are ‘storied’ landmarks on a variety of levels. To do this, the book identifies and defines a silvicultural tradition of literature for the first time. The silvicultural tradition is a web of writings about trees that are enmeshed in their constant cross-referencing and borrowing from one another. These writings can be of any genre, form, or focus, dealing with the aesthetics, science, geography, history, and/or politics of trees. This is a multi-generational tradition of no fixed origin, and none of the writers discussed here would identify themselves explicitly within the silvicultural tradition, as it is a retrospective invention created as part of this study. However, mapping out this tree-text intertextuality creates and generates a shared network and narrative of arboreal information in the cultural psyche. Viewing branching connections between texts in this specific way allows the reader to comprehend the complexity of trees, as perceived, responded to, and ‘storied’ by humans, in any given historical moment. Using William Gilpin’s Forest Scenery (1791) as an anchoring point, this study focuses on the tradition in the long nineteenth century, and explores how subsequent writers of nature respond to and develop these ideas in different—albeit interconnected— directions. However, to understand my reasons for this, first requires a contextualisation of Gilpin’s work and the responses to it. William Gilpin (1724–1804) was the first writer to collate a set of principles on the picturesque, fusing these ideas into a series of essays and observations that influenced the perception of the prospect. He published his picturesque writings between 1748 and 1809 (with his North Wales tour published posthumously). These works aimed to cultivate the reader’s perceptions of nature and art and to educate the ‘picturesque eye’ to adapt to landscape



in its physical and representational forms. Gilpin’s initial thoughts in An Essay upon Prints (1768) indicate that ‘picturesque’ is ‘a term expressive of that peculiar kind of beauty, which is agreeable in a picture’ (Gilpin, 1768: p. 2). ‘Picturesque’ is a ‘species’ of ‘Beauty’ for Gilpin, but it is an aesthetic that requires a mixture of smooth and rugged surfaces and objects for variety (Gilpin, 1792: p. iii). Though the concept of the picturesque as a kind of jargon was considered old-fashioned by the beginning of the nineteenth century, it had become so engrained within the cultural imagination that there could be no sufficient replacement to register or gauge aesthetic perception. Uvedale Price (1747–1829), Richard Payne Knight (1750–1824), and a host of other aestheticians and philosophers developed the concept of the ‘picturesque’ after Gilpin, and were each critical of the differentiation of nature and art in his work.1 Whether Gilpin’s definition is one of authority simply because of its place in the chronology of the picturesque tradition is a matter for debate, but as the picturesque shifted through the landscape of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century aesthetics, it became more complex and convoluted. Therefore, a simplified definition was (and is) a site of common ground. In An Essay upon Prints, Gilpin expounds upon the principles of painting, observations on different kinds of prints, and a discussion of the characters of the most noted masters. Here, a reader can trace Gilpin’s formal interests: the nature of composition, variety of ruggedness and smoothness, contrasts, changing lights, and the place for parts and wholes in a work. In Gilpin’s Three Essays on Picturesque Beauty; on Picturesque Travel; and on Sketching Landscape (1792), these formal preferences are compartmentalised into three sections, and are put into practice in terms of natural scenery and picturesque travel. Gilpin directs the reader on the kinds of landscapes and objects that will allow for a fruitful picturesque survey, how to engage imaginatively with these spaces, and how to record these moments for later meditation and reflection. Three Essays was published a number of years after An Essay upon Prints, but in between and after these works Gilpin published his tours of the River Wye (1782); Cumberland and Westmoreland (1786); the Highlands of Scotland (1789); the Western Parts of England (1798); Hampshire, Sussex, and Kent (1804); and Cambridge, Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex, as well as North Wales (1809). On these tours, Gilpin scrutinised these regions, their landmarks, and their histories in accordance with the picturesque eye and imagination. The interpretative problem with assessing Gilpin’s works is that they were not necessarily published in order of composition; his Observations on the Coasts of Hampshire, Sussex, and Kent (1804) was published thirty years after it took place, for instance. Though the tours are to be considered separate from the theoretical works, they cannot be classed as two distinct or isolated strands of thought. Therefore, Gilpin’s works can only be generally categorised formally under the theory and tour narratives. However, Forest Scenery acts as an exception to this rule. Walter John Hipple calls it ‘abstract’ in this respect, as the focus

4 Introduction and intention behind this work is less easily defined (Hipple, 1957: p. 193). Criticism of the picturesque forms a wide-ranging field of interdisciplinary research, and it is important to understand this scholarly context when considering the varied nature of Gilpin’s authorial authority, past and present. Thirty years apart, Christopher Hussey’s The Picturesque (1927) and Walter John Hipple’s The Beautiful, The Sublime & The Picturesque in British Aesthetic Theory (1957) are landmark studies of the picturesque in relation to the Romantic imagination, its aestheticians, and philosophers. Hussey and Hipple take historicised and philosophical approaches to their individual overviews of picturesque perception, and they are united in the sense that they informed successive responses to the significance of Gilpin. Hussey designates Gilpin the role of ‘tourist’ and ‘travelling [sketcher]’, even though he invented the term ‘Picturesque Beauty’ (Hussey, 1927: p.  13). Whilst Hipple suggests that though ‘Gilpin exerted a profound and lasting influence upon the taste […] of England’, his analysis ‘was soon superseded by the more subtle and philosophical studies’ of Price and Knight (Hipple, 1957: p. 192). Just as Hussey and Hipple reject Gilpin as nothing more than a forerunner to the picturesque as a coherent theory and history (in the tradition of Price, Knight, and other contemporaries), later critics took up this familiar formulaic approach to the picturesque narrative. Ann Bermingham’s politicised study, Landscape and Ideology: The English Rustic Tradition 1740–1860 (1987), looks at the picturesque in the context of post-war depression and the economic and demographic changes happening in England at the time; yet Bermingham takes a familiar route, suggesting that Gilpin’s writings were only ‘concerned with itemizing picturesque effects’ (Bermingham, 1987: p. 66). For Bermingham, though Gilpin was the ‘first real theorist of the picturesque’, his efforts were soon overshadowed by later theoretical debates (1987: p. 63). In The Search for the Picturesque (1989), Malcolm Andrews attempts to distinguish and discuss the paradoxes at the heart of the picturesque as a theory, looking at how these picturesque theories were put into practice in picturesque tourism. Once again, Gilpin is restricted to being a significant personage, but in a longer line of ‘amateur enthusiasts’ and Romantic writers (Andrews, 1989: p. ix). Though Gilpin functions as a writer in a context of many, there is the sense in this earlier criticism on the picturesque that he cannot be considered as important in isolation. Of course, his work inherits ideas from Edmund Burke’s concept of the beautiful and the sublime, and after him, figures like Price and Knight contributed to the aesthetic philosophy of the picturesque, and these contributions should not be disregarded.2 However, as subsequent work from Kim Michasiw’s ‘Nine Revisionist Theses on the Picturesque’ (1992) onwards suggests, there were then some critical attempts to readdress this familiar perception of Gilpin. Michasiw was the first scholar to take steps to revise some of the well-worn critical opinions that were influenced and brought about by Hussey and Hipple. Michasiw warns that if seen in terms of this familiar chronological narrative, the picturesque is



in danger of becoming a ‘homogenous’ entity which denies individual contexts and authorial intentions (Michasiw, 1992: p. 81). Like Michasiw, Robert Mayhew moves away from the critical limitations placed on Gilpin as a religious and aesthetic figure. However, he also disagrees with Michasiw’s attempt to ‘rehabilitate’ Gilpin, contending that more attention should be paid to the ‘moments of meditation’ that ‘break through the otherwise aesthetic surface of Gilpin’s tours’ (Mayhew, 2000: pp. 361, 357). For Mayhew, Gilpin’s works should be seen as a valuable way of perceiving nature in light of eighteenth-century theological debates. Alternatively, from an ecocritical perspective, David S. Miall develops Michasiw’s argument even further, suggesting that Gilpin should be taken seriously as a writer about nature and particularly as an influence on later writers such as Henry David Thoreau. Miall states that even though Gilpin’s position on nature and art may seem paradoxical, this is due to the fact that he tries to present nature as ‘an independent and creative power separate from human interests, but also in correspondence with the feelings and kinaesthetic responses of the landscape reviewer in a variety of ways’ (Miall, 2005: p. 80). Miall concludes by suggesting that Gilpin should be seen as a ‘proto-ecological’ writer because he ‘emphasises the natural over the human scale’ (2005: p. 91). In picturesque criticism and histories, Gilpin is considered in the context of other thinkers, and as a significant individual writing about the natural world. Gilpin is a key touchstone across this book because his conceptualisation of landscape as picturesque isolates trees as objects of human and organic importance, and is both aesthetic and naturalistic in focus. Adding to the critical history of Gilpin as important in collective and individual contexts, Trees in Nineteenth-Century English Fiction presents a unique perspective on this author’s mode of observing the environment and its connection to a silvicultural tradition of writing. In many ways, Forest Scenery provides a blueprint (or greenprint) for observing arboreal space, and, I would argue, is the most comprehensive work in his oeuvre. Chapter One defines Gilpin’s crucial place within a silvicultural tradition of writings that share and borrow arboreal anecdotes and knowledge between one another, into the long nineteenth century. Writers such as Jacob George Strutt, John Claudius Loudon, Mary Roberts, William Howitt, and William Stephen Coleman form part of a tradition that not only cites Gilpin as an authority, but partakes in all kinds of arboreal cross-referencing, cross-hatching, conscious and unconscious inheritance, borrowing, and influence. When viewed collectively and in relation to one another as this chapter suggests, this interconnected network of environmental literature reveals the presence of a long-standing and developing arboreal discussion. Following Gilpin’s own arrangement of ‘methodizing [his] remarks’, this section considers trees ‘as single objects’, ‘under various modes of composition, from the clump to the forest’, and examines his notable (and naturalistic) study of the New Forest (Gilpin, 1794, 1:iii). Interwoven within this discussion of

6 Introduction lone trees, clumps, woodlands, plantations, and forests, this chapter identifies significant arboreal issues that occurred within and around these sites as a result of their connection to human experience and history. In a final subsection, this argument then explores subsequent developments in preservation and planting during a century of cultural, socio-political, scientific, and technological advancement. Through drawing these silvicultural threads together, this chapter provides an overview of the rich history and specific awareness of trees, forests, and woodland during the long nineteenth century. Building upon this, the book then traces similar textual strategies in the creation of narrative and arboreal space across the nineteenth c entury. The silvicultural novels of Jane Austen (1775–1817), Elizabeth Gaskell (1810–1865), and Thomas Hardy (1840–1928) chart the confluence and continuing tradition of these arboreal ideas in realist fiction. Comprehending the textual correspondence between fictional and non-fictional tree-writings of the period leads to an understanding of how novels manipulate the concept of trees and tree spaces as narrative frames that gesture outwards from the page. This book considers how novelists use these fictional sites, and their associated discourses, as a lens to explore wider environmental concerns that humans create and navigate. Trees are objects that feature in all kinds of writings and genres, and this is a core concept of this study. However, the novelists discussed here are—in my opinion—significant because of their treatment of trees and tree spaces in narrative terms. Nevertheless, it is important to note why I have chosen the writers that are be considered, in general terms, under the realist tradition of writing novels. Nancy Armstrong goes as far as to say that the ‘picturesque aesthetic [was] in part responsible […] for setting the terms of Victorian realism’, arguing that this late eighteenth-century perception not only had an impact upon successive visual media, but also filtered into the representation of ‘reality’ in the novel (Armstrong, 1999: p. 32). Picturesque writings and realist fiction certainly explore the comprehension of actual and physical space, and the proximity of these entities in a textual medium. Moreover, significant studies by Eithne Henson and Alexander Ross explore this relationship in detail. Eithne Henson examines the impact of the picturesque on gendered conceptions of landscape and nature in the novels of Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, and Thomas Hardy (2016). Whilst Alexander Ross’s The Imprint of the Picturesque on Nineteenth-Century British Fiction (1986) uses Walter Scott’s Waverley novels as the most important novelistic representation of picturesque landscape depiction, in the sense that Scott’s technique of realising the picturesque in prosaic description influenced later writers in the nineteenth century. In using Gilpin’s work as a cornerstone of a silvicultural framework, and in relation to the novels of Austen, Gaskell, and Hardy, this book follows such criticism; however, it is not focused upon proving the presence of the picturesque in these fictional landscapes. The picturesque is a key component of viewing trees in nineteenth-century novels and environs, and



this is both assumed and exemplified in Chapters Two to Five. Furthermore, as a study of the silvicultural tradition suggests, the picturesque is one of the many modes of viewing and discussing trees in this period; this book is concerned with the intersection and amalgamation of these discourses, and how they influence the manifestation of novelistic trees. In Jane Austen’s fiction, characters not only frequently discuss trees, but they seem unable to talk about trees and contain them to a single topic. Through an analysis of Austen’s silvicultural exchanges in Sense and Sensibility (1811), Mansfield Park (1814), and Emma (1815) in particular, Chapter Two analyses how the figure of the tree becomes associated in quick succession with a range of aesthetic, formalist, natural history, and political discourses. Through these dialogues, Austen’s writing shows an attentiveness to the earlier arboreal treatises of John Evelyn and William Gilpin, and the confluence of associated aesthetic and political discourses on ‘Improvement’ that surround and overlap at these fictional sites. This chapter explores how the author’s engagement with a complex network of arborescent information and exchange informs male and female characterisation, and the physical presence of tree spaces in her novels. In thinking more generally about Austen’s spatial arrangement of tree as liminal object and boundary marker (often at the park wall of an estate), this analysis explores what these sites reveal about the contemporary concerns of enclosures, the picturesque, and how they both inform perception of environment. Through arboreal means, this chapter challenges and builds upon long-standing and historicised readings of Austen’s work (Williams, 1973; Duckworth, 1994) and the scrutiny of prospect-refuge theory (Appleton, 1986; Wenner, 2016) in relation to her writings. In these novels, the manoeuvring of trees (in narrative, spatial, and conversational terms) becomes a means to gesture beyond the physical, socio-political, and conversational limitations placed on the characters within these texts, and this therefore allows for a dynamic view of environment in Austen’s work. Chapter Three considers the presence and notable absences of trees across Elizabeth Gaskell’s fiction. It investigates how trees (or the lack thereof) in this author’s work reflect a combination of mid-nineteenth century responses to the country and the city, the role of arboreal spaces in contemporary medical geography and topography, and therefore how these specimens inform perceptions of salubrity in Gaskell’s fictional environments. Building upon ecocritical and environmental criticism of Gaskell’s work, and her response to contemporary scientific discourses on miasma, environmental pollutants, and public health, this will be the first analysis to trace the key role of trees in this complex context. First, this chapter questions how far Gaskell’s work adheres to cultural polarisations of rural and urban topographies, how trees can be perceived as healthy and unhealthy sites simultaneously, and how far arboreal specimens (and their value to human experience) can be seen to unsettle the fixity of these assumptions in ‘Libbie Marsh’s Three Eras’ (1850) and Ruth (1853). The second part will focus on

8 Introduction how the author develops these ideas in her later and most arboreal novel, North and South (1855). Margaret Hale’s ‘transcorporeal’ relationship with the woodscapes of the New Forest challenges the set of binaries often associated with the novel and its—north and south, country and city, healthy and polluted—landscapes (Alaimo, 2010: p. 2). Gaskell’s work engages with a network of silvicultural discourses that reinforce and dissolve this set of cultural notions, and in so doing, presents trees as vital indicators of physical and psychological well-being within and without her narratives. Chapter Four charts how Thomas Hardy engages with different and intersecting scales of arboreal, silvicultural, and localised history in The Woodlanders (1887). Firstly, it views the aesthetic and historical presentation of trees in this novel, and explores how narratives accumulate around these fictional entities, and their real Wessex counterparts. Through a study of the ‘Billy Wilkins’ tree, and its evolving place in this novel in particular, this chapter highlights Hardy’s significant use of fictional and non-fictional arboreal landmarks, and their silvicultural and textual inheritance. In tracing how the different inhabitants of Hardy’s sylvan culture encounter and read these sites, the reader comes to an understanding of the physical and storied existence of this human-arboreal community. Second, this argument shows how Hardy directs the reader (as outsider) to negotiate these spaces from bough to root, within and across a reading of the novel. Hardy uses the texture of Hintock woodlands as more than description: it is a terrain of personal association and local history, a text to be negotiated in order to comprehend the narrative trajectory. However, upon closer analysis of these arboreal environs, it is evident that these woodscapes are simultaneously self-contained and multi-layered in space and time. Chapter Four proposes that through this complex arboreal and topographical construction, Hardy invites the reader to read and ‘deep map’ this text within a physical and notional stratigraphical framework. This framework shares similarities with Gilpin’s writings and the geological work of Gideon Mantell; here, trees act as not only frames and borders on a horizontal plane, but also objects with roots and branches, reaching down into the strata and up towards the sky. In Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles (1891), layers of trees and texts accumulate and fade away in different forms, and these arboreal spaces demarcate both the narrative and topographical limits of this novel. In this text, trees can offer a plethora of different sorts of cover for Hardy’s heroine in her perambulations across Wessex. However, the layers of textual, historical, and picturesque associations that accumulate in different tree forms define the kind of screen that these sites provide. In focusing on Blackmoor Vale as extended arboreal boundary in Tess, Chapter Five examines how this site of ancient woodland—and its accumulating and fading associations across the narrative—defines Tess’s narrative and experience of landscape. In this late nineteenth-century text, the three-dimensionality and historicity of trees and woodland plays an active role in the creation of narrative, and in tracing Tess’s perception of such a broad terrain and her response to the



arboreal space, the reader can chart how closely Hardy’s plot works in relation to his construction of the verdurous environment. A historicised close reading of this woodland as realised in Tess highlights how tree-writing shaped both the ‘story-map’ of this novel and Hardy’s broader topography, and how the text engages with and contributes to pre-existing natural history literature. In scrutinising the relevance of the arboreal boundary as a space to view and direct the heroine’s movements throughout the narrative, the chapter offers an original framework for navigating the real and dream, extensive and contained, picturesque and cartographical landscapes that shape this work of fiction. Chapter Five argues that through this construction, Hardy presents one of the most significant examples of the silvicultural tradition upon the novel form. Trees in Nineteenth-Century English Fiction is not the product of one particular system of interpretation, but it is engaged with various studies from the environmental humanities. This book is concerned with literature and the environment, and how different forms of literature create and mediate the natural landscape for narrative purposes. In this focus, it certainly aligns with Lawrence Buell’s famous definition of ecocriticism,3 and responds to criticism in this field, but it is important to state that this study was never set out to be expressly ecocritical. In part, this is because Gilpin is a key touchstone throughout, and his aesthetic outlook is often side-lined in traditional ecocritical writing. This is illustrated through Jonathan Bate’s chapter on ‘The Picturesque Environment’ in The Song of the Earth, wherein the picturesque is rejected on account that it is concerned with ‘the carving up of the perceiver’s environment’ and the continuation of these values has subsequently ‘[exacerbated] […] ecological degradation’ (Bate, 2000: pp. 147, 138). Furthermore, Timothy Morton’s ‘Ecological Criticism’ challenges what he calls ‘[c]onventional ecocriticism’ through a questioning of what nature is for, but like Bate, draws attention to the negative effects of human perception (Morton, 2007: p. 2). In focusing on the construction of nature during the Romantic period, Morton explores how environmental art and human modes of perceiving nature constrain and destroy the very ecologies that we idealise through our viewpoint; he suggests that in ‘dissolving’ ideologies of nature as encouraged through art, ‘we render the ideological fixation inoperative’ (2007: p. 20). Morton would perhaps see the silvicultural tradition as representative of the very ‘ideological fixation’ described here, but this book explores the assumption that human views of trees and their value, as conceptualised through art, have impacted their real-life arboreal counterparts in a variety of ways, and vice versa. Morton states that ecocriticism is often ‘fixed on higher, steeper, more distant things’ (2007: p. 89); and as this study will show, drawing down (and up) to the level of the tree as both an environmental entity and product of nature is a way of comprehending and scrutinising these ‘more distant things’. In presenting Gilpin’s Forest Scenery as a key component of the silvicultural perspective, this book does not attempt to ‘rehabilitate’ the



picturesque as Michasiw does; however, it gives new impetus to understandings of the picturesque in environmental histories and ecocritical thinking. This study builds upon the arboreally focused research of Charles Watkins, Paul A. Elliott, Stephen Daniels, Tom Williamson, Della Hooke, and Oliver Rackham; as demonstrated through Chapter One, the accuracy of environmental, historical, and geographical information present in this book relies on and responds to this preceding body of work. Furthermore, the multi-species scholarship of Jane Bennett, Stacy Alaimo, and Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, and the interdisciplinary study of human/non-human materiality is key to developing an understanding of the relationships between trees, characters, and the environmental ramifications of these textual meetings across Chapters Two to Five. However abstract it might seem, the argument that follows uses the figure, shape, and ecology of the tree as methodological focus. Through a historicised close reading of these entities in literary writings of nature, this is an environmental study that explores the views and values which humans attribute to trees in their version of the natural world, and what this means for their physical and notional conceptualisation of space.

Notes 1 Price repeatedly refers to Gilpin as a form of authority on the picturesque, ‘whose ingenious and extensive observations on this subject [Price has] received great pleasure [from]’, but he often qualifies such statements by referring to Gilpin’s ‘theories’ as being ‘too vague’ in their lack of focus, reiterating how much of a ‘misfortune’ it is that their ideas should differ (Price, 1794: pp. 35, 55). 2 Christopher Hussey (1927) and Walter J. Hipple (1957) both situate Gilpin’s work in relation to Burke’s A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (1757). On Uvedale Price, see Andrew Ballantyne, ‘Genealogy of the Picturesque’ (1992) and Charles Watkins and Ben Cowell, Uvedale Price (1747–1829): Decoding the Picturesque (2012). On Richard Payne Knight, see The Arrogant Connoisseur: Richard Payne Knight 1751–1824, edited by Michael Clarke and Nicholas Penny (1982); and H.F. Clark, ‘Richard Payne Knight and the Picturesque Tradition’ (1947). 3 In The Environmental Imagination (1995), Lawrence Buell suggests that ‘“Ecocriticism” might succinctly be defined as study of the relation between literature and environment conducted in a spirit of commitment to environmentalist praxis’ (p. 430).

References Alaimo, Stacy. (2010) Bodily Natures: Science, Environment, and the Material Self. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Andrews, Malcolm. (1989) The Search for the Picturesque: Landscape Aesthetics and Tourism in Britain, 1760–1800. Aldershot: Scolar Press. Appleton, Jay. (1986) The Experience of Landscape. London: Wiley. Armstrong, Nancy. (1999) Fiction in the Age of Photography. London: Harvard University Press.



Ballantyne, Andrew. (1992) ‘Genealogy of the Picturesque’, British Journal of Aesthetics, 32(4): pp. 320–329. Bate, Jonathan. (2000) The Song of the Earth. London: Picador. Bennett, Jane. (2010) Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Bermingham, Ann. (1987) Landscape and Ideology: The English Rustic Tradition 1740–1860. London: Thames and Hudson. Buell, Lawrence. (1995) The Environmental Imagination: Thoreau, Nature Writing, and the Formation of American Culture. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Clark, Herbert Francis. (1947) ‘Richard Payne Knight and the Picturesque Tradition’, The Town Planning Review, 19(3–4): pp. 144–152. Clarke, Michael and Penny, Nicholas. (eds.) (1982) The Arrogant Connoisseur: Richard Payne Knight 1751–1824. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Duckworth, Alistair. (1994) The Improvement of the Estate. London: The Johns Hopkins University Press. Gilpin, William. (1804) Observations on the Coasts of Hampshire, Sussex, and Kent, Relative to Picturesque Beauty: Made in the Summer of the Year 1774. Facsimile of 1st ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014. Gilpin, William. (1794) Remarks on Forest Scenery and Other Woodland Views (Relative Chiefly to Picturesque Beauty) Illustrated by the Scenes of New-Forest in Hampshire (2 vols). 2nd ed. London: R. Blamire. Gilpin, William. (1792) Three Essays on Picturesque Beauty; on Picturesque Travel; and on Sketching Landscape: To Which Is Added a Poem, on Landscape Painting. Facsimile of 2nd ed. Farnborough: Gregg International. Gilpin, William. (1768) An Essay upon Prints Containing Remarks Upon the Principles of Picturesque Beauty. Facsimile of 1st ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014. Harrison, Robert Pogue. (1992) Forests: The Shadow of Civilization. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press. Henson, Eithne. (2016) Landscape and Gender in the Novels of Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot and Thomas Hardy. Oxon: Routledge. Hipple, Walter John. (1957) The Beautiful, The Sublime, & The Picturesque in Eighteenth-Century British Aesthetic Theory. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press. Hussey, Christopher. (1927) The Picturesque. Reprint. London: Frank Cass and Company, 1967. Mayhew, Robert. (2000) ‘William Gilpin and the Latitudinarian Picturesque’, Eighteenth-Century Studies, 33(3): pp. 349–366. Miall, David S. (2005) ‘Representing the Picturesque: William Gilpin and the Laws of Nature’, Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature & Environment, 12(1): pp. 75–93. Michasiw, Kim Ian. (1992) ‘Nine Revisionist Theses on the Picturesque’, Representations, 38(38): pp. 76–100. Morton, Timothy. (2007) Ecology without Nature: Rethinking Environmental Aesthetics. Reprint. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009. Price, Uvedale. (1794) An Essay on the Picturesque, as Compared with the Sublime and the Beautiful; and on the Use of Studying Pictures, for the Purpose of Improving Real Landscape. London: J. Robson. Readman, Paul. (2018) Storied Ground. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.



Ross, Alexander. (1986) The Imprint of the Picturesque on Nineteenth-Century British Fiction. Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press. Shakespeare, William. (2015) Macbeth. Edited by Sandra Clark and Pamela Mason. London: Bloomsbury Arden Shakespeare. Tsing, Anna Lowenhaupt. (2015) The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Watkins, Charles and Cowell, Ben. (2012) Uvedale Price (1747–1829): Decoding the Picturesque. Suffolk: The Boydell Press. Wenner, Barbara Britton. (2016) Prospect and Refuge in the Landscape of Jane Austen. Abingdon: Routledge. Williams, Raymond. (1973) The Country and the City. London: Vintage, 2016.

1 A silvicultural tradition

A silvicultural tradition is an ongoing series of writings that celebrate and reaffirm the presence of trees in the landscape: a long-standing ­network of texts that explore the relationship between arboreal space, human ­experience, cultural identities, and environmental history. Writers cross-reference and borrow anecdotes about significant specimens, forests, and woodlands from one another; and through this, there is an ongoing inheritance of silvicultural authority that can be traced across generations of tree-oriented study. This is a retrospective and enduring tradition of no fixed origin, but this book argues that the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries witnessed an expanse of specific arboreal awareness. This particular span of time saw significant and lasting developments in the perception, perambulation, and utilisation of environment; and this had a corresponding impact on an ­arboreal scale too. During the long nineteenth century, the continuation of parliamentary enclosures and increasing industrialisation meant that the landscapes of Britain were in a constant state of change. Notional and physical boundaries, often defined by the figure or grouping of the tree, were readjusted; landowners utilised trees to define the limits and aesthetics of their land to separate it from common use, and with this, a displaced rural population was moving into the country’s cities. With a growing urban populace, paradoxically, came a need for the preservation and creation of woodland, and a move towards the production of green spaces in the planning and caretaking of land, areas that were once again defined by the presence of trees and foliage. More specifically within this very broad course of events, the knowledge, perception, and use of trees developed significantly. In rural contexts, trees continued to form part of enclosed and politicised boundaries; deforestation and environmental pollution were emerging concerns; there were investigations into the benefits of trees to public health; developments in dendrological sciences, taxonomy, botany, and scientific forestry; an interest in arboretums, the preservation of woods and forests, and the planting of trees in parks and gardens. Moreover, as the following analysis illustrates, these dialogues cannot be considered distinct or absolute, but are often confluent with one another within a stream of silvicultural history

14  A silvicultural tradition and association. This multi-temporal mycorrhizal network of associated ­arboreal issues reflects the physical nature of the rooted and branching ­entities in question, and can be seen at work in the varied form and content of written silvicultural exchanges that discuss trees and tree culture(s). This chapter establishes this association of arboreal authority for the first time, and highlights the crucial role of William Gilpin in the d ­ evelopment of this silvicultural writing—and the perception of trees, woodland, and ­forests—in the long nineteenth century and beyond. This chapter ­provides an analytical overview and historicised contextualisation of Gilpin’s ­Remarks on Forest Scenery, and Other Woodland Views (Relative Chiefly to Picturesque Beauty) Illustrated by the Scenes of the New Forest in Hampshire (1791/1794); and scrutinises this text’s place and relevance in relation to preceding and succeeding tree-writing, simultaneously.1 Just like the ­picturesque and the politics of its aesthetics, the silvicultural network of writing is made up of intersecting and conflicting ideas about how, why, and to what purpose we perceive trees and tree cultures. Gilpin’s tree-writing is significant, not simply because it is part of a larger picturesque project, but because the very fluid form of this work allows it to engage with, and in some cases define, multiple strands of arboreal ideas and information, all at once. In form and content, Forest Scenery is a key touchstone for a productive understanding of complex arboreal interconnection(s), textual and otherwise. In 1791, Gilpin published his Forest Scenery as three books within two volumes. This text builds on the formal arrangement of Gilpin’s picturesque principles, aesthetic essays, and regional tour writings. Forest Scenery incorporates these elements more broadly within a focused and extensive study of trees, forests, and woodland spaces; and explores the human and non-­human relationships to be found therein, past and present. The first book takes a general view of single trees as individual objects, entities, and species; the second considers the aesthetic, formal, and historical qualities of trees in various combinations, from clumps and parkland scenery, to the forests of Britain; and the third consists of Gilpin’s own tour of the New Forest and its surrounding areas. The succeeding subsections of this analysis examine Forest Scenery’s books, and considers their content and relevance in relation to an ongoing network of silvicultural writing and context(s) into the nineteenth century. Following Gilpin’s own arrangement of ‘methodizing [his] remarks’ then, under three subsections this chapter considers trees ‘as single objects’; ‘under various modes of composition, from the clump to the forest’ (Gilpin, 1794, 1:iii), and then examines the New Forest as a specific case study, in order to reflect upon the human perception, navigation, and treatment of these tree spaces into the Victorian period. The fourth and final subsection of this chapter focuses on the subsequent developments in preservation and planting during a century of cultural, socio-political, scientific, and technological advancement. As a whole, this first study of a silvicultural tradition serves to provide an impression of the rich history of trees and tree spaces of interest during the long nineteenth century.2

A silvicultural tradition  15

Single trees and remarkable specimens In its entirety, Forest Scenery isolates and makes a case for trees as ‘the grandest, and most beautiful of all the productions of the earth’ (Gilpin, 1794, 1:1); the first book looks at trees as individuals from an aesthetic, formal, and historical viewpoint. In principle, for Gilpin, a tree is pleasing to the eye if its form is made up of a harmony of parts, if there is a looseness to its extremities, and if there is a certain poise to how the bole supports the branches. Whilst Gilpin acknowledges that these components are not absolute, without ‘form, lightness and a proper balance, no tree can have that species of beauty, which we call picturesque’ (1794, 2:6). However, there are incidental qualities of ‘an adventitious kind’ that can ‘often add great beauty to [a tree]’ (1:7); for instance, the ‘variety of mosses’, ‘lychens’, and ‘liver-worts’ on its bark (1:10,12); the ‘ragged, scathed, and leafless’ aspect of a blasted specimen (1:14); the parasitical plants such as ivy that grow up the trunk; the raised and ‘radical knobs’ of the roots that ‘heave up’ amongst the soil (1:20); the motion of the tree itself and the ‘chequered shade, formed under it by the dancing of sun-beams among it’s [sic] playing leaves’ (1:22). A tree can be picturesque through the coincidence of natural circumstances and external influences. In putting forward these ideas, Gilpin acknowledges that he is not fully conversant with ‘whatever names’ that the mosses and lichens are ‘distinguished’ as specifically, other than that they are ‘parasitical, as the botanist expressively calls them’ (1794, 1:12, 16). Equally, he admits that a number of his aesthetic views on the rough textures of old, hollow, or moss-covered trees value those ‘maladies, which our distressed naturalist bemoans with so much feeling’ (1:8). Despite Gilpin’s attempt to distance himself tentatively from the knowledge of botanists and naturalists, his work shows an awareness of these conversations that are occurring and developing in and around this arboreal subject matter. Across Forest Scenery, naturalists and natural historians interested in trees from Pliny onwards are consulted and referenced by Gilpin, and it is here where the ‘picturesque’ writer can be seen to engage with a silvicultural tradition of writing. In the case of the ‘distressed naturalist’ mentioned above, the author refers to an earlier ­horticulturalist, a ‘Mr Lawson’ (1:7) or William Lawson (1553/4–1635); he consults the naturalist and keeper of the Ashmolean, Robert Plot (1640–1696); and he refers to various members and transactions of the Royal Society more generally, including the naturalist Daines Barrington (1727/8–1800), and the natural philosopher Erasmus Darwin (1731–1802). The natural historian and ­famous diarist John Evelyn (1620–1706) is a key reference point for ­Gilpin throughout. John Evelyn’s Silva, or a Discourse of Forest-trees and the Propagation of Timber in His Majesty’s Dominions (1664) was a response to the arboreal ­destructions of the English civil war; through this treatise he wanted to draw attention to ‘concerns of the Improvement of the Royal Forests and other

16  A silvicultural tradition Timber-trees, for the Honour, Security and Benefit of the whole K ­ ingdom’ (Evelyn, 1776: p. 464). In Silva, Evelyn appealed to the ‘Nobility and Gentry of the whole nation’ and to the reader’s sense of patriotic duty in encouraging landowners to repair their woodlands and plant more trees, ‘since there is nothing which seems to threaten a weakening, if not a dissolution of the strength of this famous and flourishing nation, than the decay of her wooden walls’ (Evelyn, 1776: pp. 1, 582). This visible arboreal presence was of vital importance for Evelyn as it served to reinforce English cultural identity, to remind the spectator of the historical and cultural past, and it was necessary that these entities would continue to shelter the nation physically for generations to come. Beryl Hartley makes the case that this text was a collaborative work between Evelyn and other members of the Royal Society; for instance, Hartley suggests that John Lightfoot (a botanist Gilpin had correspondence with) was one of the many contributors in later editions of the work that ‘incorporated Linnaeus’s taxonomic system and binomial nomenclature, [and] brought Evelyn’s advice up to date’ (­ Hartley, 2010: p. 233). In this case, in aligning Forest Scenery with Evelyn’s text, however subconsciously, Gilpin is already engaging with a pre-existing and ongoing network of arboreal conversations; at the very least, the repeated textual signposting to Silva situates his own tree-writing in the context of one of the most influential arboreal works ever written. Subsequently, there is also evidence to suggest that Gilpin’s work was being read by such notable environmental figures of the time, with varying responses. For example, the Royal Society fellow Robert Marsham writes about this work (in a somewhat scoffing tone) in a letter to Gilbert White, and this statement is recorded in The Natural History of Selborne (1789): I presume you have seen Gilpin’s Book of the Views in the new F ­ orest, & noticed […] where he says the chestnut on M.AEtna is 204f. in ­circumf. Which he unluckily writes Diameter: as if the Tree was not large enough! (White, 1877, 2:274–277) Gilpin mistakes (or is misinformed of) the circumference of the tree in this instance, and is criticised subsequently for a lack of attention to such minutia and detail in his writing. However, as Gilpin’s own comments suggest, he never intended to be a naturalist in his own right; yet, there is a tension here as he directly and indirectly engages with this discourse throughout Forest Scenery. Much more than this, in subsequent tree-writing and catalogues into the nineteenth century, Gilpin himself features alongside these writers as an authority. As early as 1827, Gilbert Thomas Burnett even went as far as to call him a ‘natural historian’ in his own right (1827: p. 4; quoted in Hartley, 1996: p. 154). Moreover, as this chapter will highlight, Forest Scenery is referenced in the environmental works of Jacob George Strutt, John Claudius Loudon, Rebecca Hey, William Howitt, William Stephen Coleman, Charles Alexander Johns, Robert Tyas, and Mary Roberts. Even

A silvicultural tradition  17 across the pond in Walden (1854) Henry David Thoreau consults ‘Gilpin, who is so admirable in all that relates to landscapes’ for a discussion of ­forest borders (Thoreau, 2008: p. 257). Beyond general and formal aspects of trees in Forest Scenery, Gilpin catalogues the ‘principal characteristics of picturesque beauty, in most common [deciduous and evergreen] trees we have in England’ (Gilpin, 1794, 1:105); multiple specimens are discussed in terms of their appearance, qualities, and use, and are assessed according to the picturesque writer’s principles. The oak, ash, and elm are considered to be superior trees because they ‘are both the most useful, and the most picturesque’, they are visually appealing species in themselves and utilitarian in terms of their timber production too (1794, 1:45). As Gerry Barnes, Toby Pillatt, and Tom Williamson suggest, these three trees in particular predominate both physically and in the aforementioned tree-writings during this period, and ‘[two] main factors ensured their popularity: an ability to thrive in a wide variety of contexts and the wide range of uses to which their timber or wood could be put’ (Barnes, Pillatt, and Williamson, 2017: p. 103). For Gilpin, these trees unite picturesque and utilitarian ideas physically and notionally in a single entity; this is nowhere more apparent than in their branch ramification and spray wherein

Figure 1.1  A non. (1823) A Gnarled and Hollow Old Oak Tree (Quercus robur L.) Sheltering a Shepherd and His Sheep [Etching after J.G. Strutt]. Photograph courtesy of Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

18  A silvicultural tradition ‘industry and activity pervade every part’ (1794, 1:107). The appearance of the branches and knots is both aesthetically pleasing, and suggestive of a kind of productivity in the tree’s natural formation. Though Gilpin admits that ‘many circumstances will make a difference; soil and climate especially’ (Gilpin, 1794, 1:116), the ramification and spray of these species define the ‘particular character’ of these three trees (1:106). The spray of the oak is ‘thick, close, and interwoven’, creating a ‘picturesque roughness’ (1:110); the ash ‘is much more simple, running in a kind of irregular parallels’ creating a ‘beautiful sweep’ (1:111); and the elm ‘has a more regular appearance […] forming its shoots more acutely with the parent branch’ (1:112). Meanwhile, the beech is also included in the study of spray and ramification as a point of contrast, albeit not a favourable one; as the ‘hanging spray of the beech, […] is often twisted, and intermingled disagreeably’ giving ‘something of the idea of an intangled [sic] head of bushy hair’ (1:113). Gilpin details the differing appearance and form of branches from these species, and also provides his own illustrations to complement these descriptions (Figure 1.2). Despite the fact that these qualities are judged mainly in visual and subjective terms, this close analysis of specific species, forms, and textures is beyond mere painterly and pictorial concerns. It is here, Hartley argues that the author ‘separates his close observation and detailed recording of tree species (which mark him as a naturalist) from his picturesque description of them’ (Hartley, 1996: p. 152). Once again, there is a tension of sorts between the perceived aesthetic and naturalist intentions within Forest Scenery, they are situated alongside rather than interwoven with one another. Hartley makes the case that early nineteenth-century tree studies were increasingly naturalistic in their visual and verbal depictions of trees, and therefore more successful in uniting these qualities. This was due to a ‘faithful representation’ of trees more akin with the taxonomical and botanical interests of contemporary natural history studies, than traditional and classical representations (1996: p. 168). Christiana Payne’s history of Silent Witnesses: Trees in British Art, 1760–1870 echoes this sentiment, and summarises in detail how there was a growing interest in naturalism during landscape art of the period (Payne, 2017: p. 63). Landscape p ­ aintings by John Constable and Samuel Palmer, drawing manuals by Alexander Cozens and George Barnard, and extravagantly illustrated books on trees by Jacob George Strutt and H. W. Burgess demonstrate a focus on detailing ‘character’ and ‘anatomy’ accurately in tree portraiture (2017: pp. 63–66, 13). Gilpin’s late eighteenth-century arboreal work anticipates—or at the very least, comes at an early point during—these developments in arboreal study. However far Forest Scenery can be considered a work of natural history in its strictest sense is something that this chapter will continue to explore. This text certainly transcends the realms of generic, antiquated, and artistic depictions of trees; Gilpin is concerned with trees on a macroscopic and microscopic scale, and this inevitably makes an incursion

A silvicultural tradition  19

Figure 1.2  Illustrations of Branch Spray and Ramification. William Gilpin. (1791) Remarks on Forest Scenery and Other Woodland Views (Relative Chiefly to Picturesque Beauty) Illustrated by the Scenes of New-Forest in Hampshire (2 vols). London: R. Blamire, 1:107.  By courtesy of The University of Liverpool Library, SPEC Y79.3.552  v.1.

20  A silvicultural tradition into ‘scientific’ realms. In turn, this raises interesting issues about where nature writing meets science, and what constitutes natural history knowledge in the first place. The three initial subsections of this chapter trace where Gilpin’s mode of arboreal observation encounters, and can be seen to develop these ­i ntersecting forms of understanding. Regardless of Forest Scenery’s place in the domain of natural history, Gilpin’s discussions and illustrations of individual trees and species still find their way, verbally and visually, into these more strictly ‘naturalistic’ tree-studies. Take, for example, John Claudius Loudon’s magnum opus, Arboretum Britannicum (1838). This is an eight-­volume study, of four volumes of text and four volumes of complementary plates, that aims to ‘[diffuse] more generally, among gentlemen of landed property, a taste of introducing a greater variety of trees and shrubs in their plantations and pleasure-grounds’ (Loudon, 1838a, 1:v). To quote Paul A. Elliott’s, Charles Watkins’s, and Stephen Daniels’s study of The British ­Arboretum, within his work ‘Loudon was interested in the problem of balancing systematic botanical collections with landscape gardening aesthetics and the importance of the distinctions between the Linnaean and Jussieuian systems from the earliest stages of his career’ (Elliott, Watkins, and Daniels, 2011: p. 88). Arboretum Britannicum is a seminal arboreal text that influenced the proliferation and botanical organisation of arboretums and tree collections within the British Isles and beyond, in both aesthetic and botanical terms. Despite the fact that he favours the ‘gardenesque’ tree, ‘planted by art’ (Loudon, 1838a, 1:196) over the ‘picturesque’ one ‘subjected to natural causes’ (1:196), Loudon pays significant attention to Gilpin across this text, he cites ‘our usual authority’ (3:1966), the author of Forest Scenery, when discussing the appearance of oak, ash, elm, and beech for instance, and he even goes as far as copying Gilpin’s illustrations of the spray of these species into the body of his own text, and analysing these images alongside similar studies by Jacob George Strutt (Figure 1.3). On numerous occasions, Gilpin’s arboreal perspectives are lifted and inserted into nineteenth-century tree studies. This textual transfer can be seen in the form of a direct reference to his authority, as exemplified above; or passages are transposed and unaccredited in the creation of a new work or tree catalogue. In the case of Robert Tyas’s Woodland Gleanings (1838), the preface states that the ‘picturesque descriptions are chiefly from the Forest Scenery of Gilpin, with here and there a sentence or two from Evelyn’s Sylva’ (Tyas, 1838: p. ii). Woodland Gleanings is combined from other sources, the majority of which are taken directly from Forest Scenery and then published as something new, though Gilpin is not always credited by name in the text. This is not to say that Gilpin’s work had deserted the cultural imagination by this point: Forest Scenery was still being published into the nineteenth century in itself. In 1834, Thomas Dick Lauder published an extensively edited version which included a commentary of Gilpin’s work interspersed throughout the original discussion, and Gilpin’s illustrations were removed

A silvicultural tradition  21

Figure 1.3  Branches and Spray by William Gilpin and Jacob G. Strutt. J. C. Loudon (1838) Arboretum et Fruticetum Britannicum (8 vols). London: Longman, 3: 1794.  By courtesy of The University of Liverpool Library, SPEC Y83.3.440 v.3.

22  A silvicultural tradition and replaced by alternative treescapes. The text is abundant with Lauder’s claims such as ‘Mr Gilpin has fallen into an error here’ (Lauder, 1834, 2:10), ‘We think Mr Gilpin is peculiarly hard on the Hawthorn’ (1:195), and ‘we are disposed to think that Mr Gilpin hardly does justice to the elm’ (1:191). In addition to this, where Gilpin has been ‘at variance’ with the ‘author of Sylva’ on ‘the combustibility of the larch’, Lauder states that ‘old Evelyn is right’ (1:146). Lauder comments on Gilpin’s opinions and wades in when he is ‘at variance’ with what he perceives to be the correct information. Furthermore, such criticism of Gilpin’s work also continues into ­silvicultural dialogue, as well as referencing Gilpin in their own tree-­ writing, writers cite Lauder’s authority alongside the original too. Robert Tyas incorporates much of Gilpin’s original text in Woodland Gleanings, for instance, and beside this, he also includes Lauder’s criticism of Gilpin’s hawthorn discussion: High as we admit Gilpin’s taste for the picturesque to be, we are ­compelled to differ from him in his opinion of the Hawthorn. He ­observes that it has little claim to picturesque beauty; he complains that its shape is bad, that it does not taper and point like the holly, but is a matted, round, and heavy bush. We are glad to find, however, that Sir T. Lauder thinks differently; he remarks, that “even in a picturesque point of view, it is not only an interesting object by itself, but produces an interesting combination, or contrast, as things may be, when grouped with other trees.” (Tyas, 1838: p. 37) Tyas is not the only one to pick up on Lauder’s rehabilitation of the h ­ awthorn; Mary Roberts, now a largely forgotten natural history writer,3 states in her Voices from the Woodlands: Descriptive of Forest Trees, Ferns, Mosses, and Lichens (1850) that: Strange it seems that Gilpin, who loved trees of every shape and hue, should have cared little for the hawthorn; but an historian of woodland scenery, who often sought out his favourite haunts, has thus ably spoken in its praise:—“You may see that picturesque tree,” he said, “or shrub, according to its locality, hanging over rocks [or] its aged boughs ­overshadowing some peaceful cottage, its foliage half-concealing the window, whence sounds of cheerfulness came forth.” (Roberts, 1850: pp. 156–157) Though Roberts does not refer to Lauder explicitly, the quotation from the anonymised ‘historian of woodland scenery’ is actually a paraphrased version of his commentary in the 1834 edition of Forest Scenery (see, Lauder, 1834, 1:195).

A silvicultural tradition  23 Even in Loudon’s Arboretum Britannicum, a text in which Gilpin is c­ onsulted heavily, Lauder’s commentary supersedes the original when it comes to a discussion of the beech: On Gilpin’s observations on the beech, Sir T. D. Lauder justly observes, that they afford “one of the instances in which the author’s love for the art of representing the objects of nature with the pencil, and his associations with the pleasures of that art, have very much led him astray.” (Loudon, 1838a, 3:1967) In this case, Lauder’s observations are ‘just’ and Gilpin has been led ‘astray’ by artistic convention; the author of Forest Scenery is once again marginalised within the assumption that he is only concerned with artistic ­representation. Similarly, this criticism can be found in Our Woodlands, Heaths, and Hedges: A Popular Description of Trees, Shrubs, Wild Fruita, ETC. With Notices of Their Insect Inhabitants (1859), a study composed by painter and natural historian, William Stephen Coleman: [We] must, as a matter of course, dissent from the opinion of Gilpin, the highly gifted author of “Forest Scenery”, who has, and as we think, unjustly, impugned the ornamental character of this generally favourite tree; and this, because he had some crotchets of his own about landscape composition, and the shape that trees ought to take to make them good subjects for the pencil. The Beech did not happen to fit itself to his theory, so he quarrelled with it, and called it hard names. (Coleman, 1859: p. 16) Again, though Lauder is not referred to directly, the identification of ­‘crochets about landscape composition’ and trees as ‘good subjects for the pencil’, however directly, are closely akin to the nature of Lauder’s ­complaints too. The repeated criticisms of the hawthorn and the beech via Lauder are not isolated cases here, but these criticisms become almost anecdotal touchstones in nineteenth-century discussions of these species in any tree text; these instances form part of the multi- and inter-textual form of arboreal conversation occurring within and across the period. Nor are these examples the only reproaches of Gilpin’s work in Forest Scenery, by Lauder and/or other writers more generally, but their common appearance in tree catalogues makes them significant examples of how Gilpin’s authority is shaped by his continued presence (and appropriation) in tree-related discourse. In these writings, Gilpin’s Forest Scenery becomes a palimpsest to be plundered and added to; and yet the fact that Gilpin’s own observations and foibles continue to inform silvicultural dialogue simultaneously reaffirms his authority in this multi-generational discussion of arboreal environments. However, this shared knowledge is not just made up of formal

24  A silvicultural tradition observations on particular specimens, Gilpin discusses tree biographies of notable individual trees, and these narratives contribute towards—and in some cases define—the lasting presence of particular sites in tree-writing and in the cultural imagination more broadly. Silva, forest scenery, and trees of ‘remarkable longevity’ Gilpin himself was not exempt from the practice of lifting passages of ­arboreal anecdotes and quoting them within his own text; in fact, this is integral to the end of the first book, and to the practice of tree-writing, more generally. After the discussion of various individual species, Gilpin goes on to identify the celebrated characters of specific remarkable trees. In a footnote, the author acknowledges that ‘many’ of the trees identified in this section from across Britain and the world ‘are mentioned by Mr Evelin, and the rest are collected from the topographical remarks of travellers and historians’ (Gilpin, 1794, 1:123). The author acknowledges that such a list of specimens could be lengthy, and so he rejects trees that ‘have either been only casually mentioned’ in the past, and those that have been valued by timber merchants (1:123). Instead, Gilpin is concerned with trees that ‘have somewhat more of history, and anecdote annexed to them’ (1:124). There are around thirty-six specimens mentioned in this section, and as Gilpin ­suggests, many of these biographies come from other writers that came ­before him: Pliny, Robert Plot, William Stukeley, Erasmus Darwin, and William Camden are notable authorities throughout. As Gilpin notes h ­ imself, ‘Evelin’ is a key source in discussions of the ‘Lime of Niestad’, ‘Lime of Cleves’, and the ‘Arbor de Rays’ in the East Indies, for example (1:133–134, 136–137, 158). The trees that Gilpin seeks authority for in describing are presumably in locations beyond that which the Vicar of Boldre would travel to, in terms of distance and economic cost. However, the compiling, cross-referencing, and cross-hatching between these writings of different genres, locations, and temporalities constitutes a silvicultural tradition that transcends such limitations. This is a shared nexus of arboreal knowledge wherein specific authors can feature as notable authorities on certain sites of interest, regardless of their own association with the site. Moreover, it is evident that Evelyn and Gilpin predominate in discussions of notable individual specimens and their histories, in particular; as exemplified in The Spirit of the Woods (1837), wherein Rebecca Hey states that ‘Evelyn and Gilpin, those biographers of the forest, mention several instances of remarkable longevity. […] To these authors we refer our readers for all the various legends, historical or ­fanciful […] which have done honour to our woods’ (Hey, 1837: pp. 3–4). Just as ­Gilpin aligns his work with Evelyn’s compendium of trees, nineteenth-­century writers situate their own studies alongside Silva and Forest Scenery in the same manner. Evelyn and Gilpin, ‘those biographers of the forest’ become key figures in the proliferation and dissemination of remarkable trees and their histories; and certain narratives are popularised across decades of tree-writing. For Gilpin, trees can be remarkable if they are associated with key historical

A silvicultural tradition  25 figures such as the Queen Elizabeth’s Oak and the [William] Wallace Tree (Gilpin, 1794, 1:150–151, 147–148); if they are products of notable historical moments, such as the ‘largest tree’ brought into Britain to make a main mast in ‘queen Ann’s time’, an ‘account’ taken from ‘Mr. Evelin’ (1:129–130); if they are of religious significance, such as the Cedars of Lebanon (1:130–132); if they are of literary relevance, as with the Oaks of Chaucer at Donnington Castle and Hern’s Oak of Shakespearean fame (1:137–138, 149–150); simply because of their size and/or location, as with the Chestnut on Mount Etna (1:132); and if they are of botanical interest, such as the ‘monstrous bush’ of the ‘Boabab’ Tree of Senegal (1:156–157). Despite this, as with the popular case of the ‘Upas Tree’ hoax, readers and tree-writers (but not all ­naturalists) do not always privilege fact over fiction; as Hey suggests, ‘various legends, historical or fanciful’ characterise a number of popular tree biographies (Hey, 1837: p. 3). The Upas Tree The Upas Tree or ‘poison-tree’ of Java (Figure 1.4) was supposed to be so toxic a specimen that ‘[nothing] that breathes, or vegetates, can live within its influence’, and ‘the whole dreadful area is covered with sand, over which lie scattered loose flints, and whitening bones’ (Gilpin, 1794, 1:161). In Forest Scenery, Gilpin gives the account taken from a surgeon named Foersch from the East India Company, supposedly from 1774. Gilpin recounts how, at the time, criminals were sent to procure the ‘poisonous gum’ of the tree, though about ‘one in ten escapes’ with their life (1:162); and he also tells how the Emperor of Java utilised poison-tipped arrows as a horrific kind of execution method too. In the 1834 edition of Forest Scenery, Lauder expostulates that he must ‘undeceive the reader of this fine romantic fable […] and tell the truth, and nothing but the truth’: The falsehood of [Foersch’s] account will be best exposed by the following abridgement of the information contained in a most valuable essay on the Oopas, or Poison-Tree, of Java, addressed to the Honourable Thomas Stamford Raffles, the lieutenant-governor, by Dr Thomas Horsfield, which, we are assured, the reader will not consider tedious, when the interest of the subject is considered. (Lauder, 1834, 1:227) Lauder then paraphrases this essay into sixteen additional pages of experiments supposedly undertaken by Dr Horsfield using the poisonous sap on dogs, cats, monkeys, oxen, fowl, and humans. In this case, the mythical tree becomes the object of a distasteful scientific experiment. However, as Cheryl Blake Price’s article on ‘Vegetable Monsters: Man-Eating Trees in Fin de Siècle Fiction’ summarises, the story of the Upas ‘took hold of the Victorian imagination’ irrespective of its truth; ‘writers such as Erasmus Darwin, Thomas Carlyle, Charlotte Brontë and Charles Dickens use the upas as a

26  A silvicultural tradition

Figure 1.4  Henry Ince. (1839) ‘The Upas Tree’, in Ince, H. (ed.) The Wonders of the World in Nature and Art. London: Grattan & Gilbert, p. 564. R ­ eproduced by kind permission of The Illustration Archive.

A silvicultural tradition  27

Figure 1.5  George Cruikshank. (1842) People Reaching for Alcoholic Drink Falling from a Pile of Barrels of Liquor Likened to the Upas-tree; Skeletons Litter the Ground [coloured etching]. Photo courtesy of Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0  International (CC BY 4.0).

28  A silvicultural tradition metaphor in their writing’; and these accounts then come to inform stories about ‘man-eating trees’ in Fin de Siècle literature (Price, 2013: p. 311). Moreover, in 1876, George Cruikshank even used the Upas in a satirical illustration for the Temperance Movement, in which the effects of alcohol are equated to the poisonous sap of this famed tree (Figure 1.5). Writers like Gilpin circulated this arboreal anecdote, to the extent that its accuracy becomes irrelevant; and in this case, the silvicultural tradition supersedes the scientific and blends with the fictional. Whilst the Upas Tree is perhaps an extreme example, this anecdote serves to show the multiple genres and forms of writing that are utilised and converge alongside one another, not only in Forest Scenery, but also in the wider network of arboreal writing in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Lauder seeks to comment upon many of the trees in Gilpin’s d ­ iscussion of significant specimens and their biographies; much more than this, the ­editor adds several examples of his own to the original list. However, G ­ ilpin’s ­‘Remarkable’ trees of the New Forest remain unedited; it is here where ­Gilpin recalls ‘celebrated trees’ of the area such as the William ­Rufus site, the Groaning tree of Badesley, Cadenham Oak, Dibden Yew, and Beaulieu Oak (Gilpin, 1794, 1:164–177). These are trees isolated by the author, and noted for their age, size, location, and/or story. This is an arboreal landscape that Gilpin lived and worked in for a large portion of his life; this is not the ‘remarks of [other] travellers, and historians’, but largely Gilpin’s own ‘observations on this celebrated tract of country’ (1:iv). The following discussion explores the case of the ‘Cadenham’ or Cadnam Oak, an important example from this part of Forest Scenery that demonstrates Gilpin’s arboreal authority and originality in the context of an ongoing silvicultural tradition, and considers the discourse that he engages with and appears within subsequently. The ‘Cadenham’ or Cadnam Oak Gilpin’s personal encounter with this tree from the New Forest is described as follows: Another celebrated tree, which I shall present to the reader from New-forest, is the Cadenham oak, which buds every year in the depth of winter […] Having heard of this oak, I took a ride to see it on the 29th of december, 1781. It was pointed out to me among several other oaks, surrounded by a little forest stream, winding round a knoll, on which they stood. It is a tall, straight plant of no great age, and apparently vigorous, except that it’s [sic] top has been injured; from which several branches ­issue in the form of pollard shoots. […] I engaged one Michael Lawrence, who kept the white hart, a small ale-house in the neighbourhood,

A silvicultural tradition  29 to send me some of the leaves to Vicar’s hill, as soon as they should appear. The man, who had not the least doubt about the matter, kept his word, and sent me several twigs, on the morning of the 5th january, 1782; a few hours after they had been gathered. The leaves were fairly expanded; and about an inch in length. From some of the buds two leaves had ­unsheathed themselves, but in general only one. (Gilpin, 1794, 1:169–170) Gilpin goes to see the tree and provides a visual and locational description of the site. Instead of returning himself however, he asks a local landlord to send him some of the leaves when they appear eventually in early January. Upon inspection of the leaves, the author records their appearance, shape, and size. Moreover, whilst he cannot account for this early germination, Gilpin sends them to a well-known naturalist for further clarification: Through what power in nature this strange, premature vegetation is ­occasioned, I believe no naturalist can explain. I sent some of the leaves to one of the ablest botanists we have had, the late Mr Lightfoot, author of Flora Scotica, and was in the hopes of hearing something satisfactory on the subject. […] He assured me, that he neither could account for it in any way; nor did he know of any other instance of premature vegetation, except the Glastonbury-thorn. (Gilpin, 1794, 1:170–171) This passage suggests that Gilpin does not possess the knowledge to offer a conclusive explanation himself, and so by sending the leaves to John Lightfoot, he can explore (or at least facilitate) the answering of this question, legitimately and scientifically. Whilst Lightfoot can offer no explanation, Gilpin comes to the somewhat reasonable conclusion that the germination is gradual, escalated, or slowed down by the ‘mildness, or severity of the weather’ (1:171). Alternative theories from the local area are also reproduced; reports that ‘people gather buds from other trees’ and ‘pretend to pluck them’ from the Cadnam Oak itself; or that some account for the ­phenomenon ‘by supposing that leaves have been preserved over the year by being steeped in vinegar’ (1:174–175). Nevertheless, Gilpin remains ‘well convinced this is not the case’ as Mr Lightfoot ‘had no such suspicion’ of the evidence presented to him (1:175). Reports of this tree continue into silvicultural discussion of the nineteenth century. In 1833, The Saturday Magazine published an article entitled: ‘The Cadenham Oak, in the New Forest, Hampshire’; and in this piece, the anonymous author remarks that ‘Mr Gilpin, who lived about fifty years since, gives, in his entertaining work on Forest Scenery, a very interesting account of the tree, in which he seems to have placed its peculiarities in a true light’ (D. I. E., 1833: p. 238). As well as giving an account of the tree and rejecting

30  A silvicultural tradition any superstitious views of the subject, the author evaluates possible causes of the phenomenon. They suggest that ‘Dr Maton, in his interesting notices of the Western Counties, referring to the Glastonbury Thorn has suggested whether [the thorn] might not be a specimen […] originally brought into this country by pilgrims from the East’ (1833: p. 239). The author of the article then quibbles whether the same might not be said of the Cadnam Oak: ‘[may] not it, or, at least, the oak from which it sprung, have been introduced by some eastern pilgrim from the East [?]’ (1833: p. 239). From such a perspective, this suggests that the oak can be seen as a kind of exotic ‘other’ like the Upas, a product of another space and time, which therefore explains away its indefinability without providing any real answer. However, despite ‘Mr  Gilpin’ describing the tree as ‘healthy and vigorous’ some ‘fifty years back’, the article then comments on the tree’s current state as ‘almost in the last stage of dissolution’ (1833: p. 239). Nevertheless, the ‘good people of Cadenham’ can rejoice at the fact that a ‘younger tree’ from its acorns ‘stands by its side’ (1833: p. 239). The Saturday Magazine continues to circulate Gilpin’s authoritative perspective, continues to speculate over its origins, but also provides new information in the presence of a second tree. Four years later, in December 1837, this article and the tree(s) it describes are mentioned in the journal of the young writer and naturalist, Emily Shore (1819–1839): It is a small half-withered tree, with part of the trunk gone, and only one bough left; it stands on a rising ground close to the road, on the banks of a rill, with a vigorous young tree by it, just as represented in the Saturday Magazine. We have been talking about the tree lately, and resolving to examine it at Christmas [when] it really does shoot forth. This evening Mr Trower, who had visited it in his walk with Henry ­Mallet, brought me two little twigs from it, which he had found with great difficulty high up in the tree. One of these twigs has two young leaves perfectly formed, and the other one smaller ones. The largest leaf is about two inches long. (Shore, 1991: pp. 230–231) Shore does not comment upon the accuracy of The Saturday Magazine’s assumptions, but like Gilpin, the physical presence (and size) of the leaves on its twigs in December seems to confirm this unusual phenomenon in the eyes of a naturalist. Taking Shore’s interest as an example, the Cadnam Oak is still very much an object of interest to be visited and puzzled over in the late 1830s. In 1838, the tree is noted in John Claudius Loudon’s botanical compendium of trees within the British isles: ‘[some] oaks bud at Christmas, like the Glastonbury thorn; as, for example, the Cadenham oak in the New Forest, near Lyndhurst, mentioned by Parkinson, and by various writers down to the time of Gilpin’ (Loudon, 1838a, 3:1735). This is once again a written reminder of the arboreal and cultural network that Gilpin’s

A silvicultural tradition  31 writings form a significant part of; and later in the same volume, Loudon quotes ­Gilpin’s account of the oak at length amongst other ‘remarkable’ trees across the country (1838a, 3:1761). Yet, he offers no theory of his own on its germination (despite his own ‘botanical’ focus), nor does he mention the adjacent younger specimen.

Figure 1.6  A non. (1862) ‘The Cadnam Oak’, Leisure Hour, 11(573): pp. 807–808.  Reproduced by kind permission of the Database of Mid-Victorian Illustration.

32  A silvicultural tradition In an 1862 issue of The Leisure Hour periodical, there is an anonymous first-person account and illustration of the Cadnam Oak: To my surprise, instead of finding it a mere branchless trunk, very much decayed, and nearly destroyed by ill-usage, it proved to be, as regards its head, a fine tree, amply foliaged—in fact, more densely so than the generality of the oaks about the forest. Yet, on closer inspection, the stem, whence spring the huge branches with their large masses of leafage, is little more than a mere half-shell of bark, which has had its interior nearly grubbed out by the knives of curiosity mongers. (Anon, 1862: p. 807) The oak bears evidence of its own popularity for New Forest tourists by this point; it has been violated by travellers and ‘curiosity mongers’ wanting pieces of the tree to make ‘snuff-boxes and other relics’ (1862: p. 807). The author then refers the reader to familiar passages from Gilpin’s Forest Scenery and the aforementioned The Saturday Magazine article for a discussion of the phenomenon and its history, but beyond this, they hand the tree over to the reader to ‘further investigate the subject’ (1862: p. 807). The tree is both an organic entity and an object of antiquarian interest; however, its apparent fame appears to be the cause of its possible demise. Despite this, there is also evidence to suggest that the tree did not disappear as quickly as The Saturday Magazine or The Leisure Hour articles proposed; as the 1909 OS map of the area highlights, the oak is still a physical landmark identified in the village of Cadnam in the succeeding century (Figure 1.7). Many subsequent uses and versions of the oak’s narrative, even into the twentieth century, are similar in form and content. A late written reference of a visit to the actual tree, and not just its recorded biography, can be found in a 1936 edition of the Journal of the Forestry Commission. This text is

Figure 1.7  Cadnam Oak on 1909 25” OS map LXIV – 05. Photograph courtesy of Christopher Tower New Forest Reference Library at the New Forest Heritage Centre.

A silvicultural tradition  33 intended for the sharing of direct tree experiences and information between Forestry Commission staff working at sites across the country. In this case, writers and readers would possibly possess a more extensive knowledge of trees, woods, and forests than the average reader. The author of the article and New Forest ranger at the time, D. W. Young, like many before him, regarded the Cadnam Oak ‘purely as a superstitious legend’, and yet he states that: Not knowing the exact position of the tree, I wrote to a friend interested in these things. He responded by leaving some twigs at my house two days before Christmas. Each of these twigs carried a few green leaves and a number of buds on the point of breaking. The green leaves were somewhat shrivelled by frost, but there was no question that they were newly-flushed leaves and not merely survivors from the summer, and about one in eight of the buds was just on the point of bursting. I visited the tree myself on 14th January and though the newly flushed leaves were more shrivelled by frost there were a number of shoots an inch to an inch and half long, green-barked and obviously the growth of the last three weeks. (Young, 1936: p. 46) About a century and a half later, we get an echo of Gilpin’s own encounter with the Cadnam Oak. Young asks a friend to provide him with leaves, the presence of which clarify that this tree is not merely a ‘superstitious legend’, and this is then reaffirmed by Young’s own visit to see the physical tree itself. Furthermore, to substantiate his own observations, Young then quotes Gilpin’s Forest Scenery at length, and like Gilpin, he defers to Lightfoot and comments that ‘[where] angels of this Mr. Lightfoot’s stature fear to tread fools should be chary to rush in, but one is sorely tempted to speculate over such an interesting phenomenon’ (1936: p. 47). Similarly to Gilpin again, Young comes to the conclusion that the tree must be reacting to the weather, to ‘external stimuli provided by the mild conditions’, and yet he puzzles over the fact: That a tree should flush leaves in the coldest back-end experienced for 30 or 40 years is a rather different matter. It suggests to me an atavistic tendency. […] This miss of a beat in the ordinary rhythm no doubt protects our trees from the severity of winter. Perhaps in the prototype the rhy’thm was complete and the Cadnam Oak is an example of [a] throwback, but it is very inconsiderate of it to show such wanton disregard of the decent rules of the game mechanistically minded botanists have provided for it. The tree appears to be over 200 years old and its days are numbered. We have collected some of its acorns and hope that some of its progeny will develop the same uncanny habits. (Young, 1936: p. 47)

34  A silvicultural tradition Young cannot account for the tree’s continued behaviour beyond suggesting that it misses a beat in the ordinary rhythm of things because it is a ‘throwback’, a specimen of an unexplainable ancestral tradition that is outside the ‘decent rules’ of botanical knowledge. The tree defies any ­scientific explanation known at this point, and yet it is not merely the product of superstition either. Gilpin’s assumptions or methods are not replaced by any alternative conclusion; and with the disappearance of the tree itself as evidence, the Cadnam Oak seems to fall back into the realms of a merely ‘uncanny’ ­anecdote. In Young’s narrative, there is no mention of a younger tree next to the Cadnam Oak, which suggests that it was either disregarded or was no longer there at that point in time. Moreover, the Forestry Commission have no record of the acorns taken by Young, and though there is an old oak in the vicinity, this is not the Cadnam Oak, nor does this specimen bud during the winter months (Daponte, 2019).4 This tree and Gilpin’s account of it are mentioned in various tree-­writings and contexts, and despite the fact that the old cross road where it was ­situated is now overwhelmed by roundabouts, it still remains a folkloric anecdote, a ‘freak’ or ‘phenomenon’ of nature for the most part. As recent as 2011, the Cadnam Oak featured in Julian Hight’s Britain’s Tree Story, a compendium, for The National Trust, of notable ancient trees that have been lost or felled over time, but their stories are preserved by the records of various tree-­ writings. In discussing the New Forest, Hight references the Cadnam Oak, and it is Gilpin’s study of the tree that provides the evidence of this specimen; nevertheless, this extract is quoted from Loudon’s usage of Gilpin’s passage (Hight, 2011: p. 94). It is not just the tree itself (or the much ‘copied and pasted’ description of the botanical phenomenon) that forms part of ‘Britain’s Tree Story’ and silvicultural tradition, but Gilpin’s encounter with it is intrinsic to the ongoing cultural and collective memory surrounding this tree too. As the second subsection of this chapter will ­elucidate, this ­multi-temporal silvicultural cross-hatching is not just on an individual tree or ‘remarkable specimen’ basis, but is also evidenced in Gilpin’s thoughts (and their textual afterlives) on trees in groups and combinations.

From clumps to forests: trees in combination Moving on from significant individual trees, Forest Scenery proceeds to discuss trees in various combinations; and it considers each kind of grouping in terms of its form, visual appearance, and impact on the viewing of ­natural and man-made landscapes. This then develops into a discussion of forest history, deforestation, and the forests of Britain, more generally. Much like the first book, analysis of outward arboreal appearance evolves into a broader discussion of human engagement and relations with trees, a treatise that verges on (and often assimilates with) natural history discourse. In the movement from clumps to forests, Gilpin gradually shifts from trees as part of ‘parkland scenery’ to ‘the chief object of our pursuit, the wild scenes

A silvicultural tradition  35 of nature—the wood—the copse—the glen—and the open-grove’ (Gilpin, 1794, 1:199). It is not just the formation of trees in themselves that are of ­i mportance, but their situation within an environment informs the varied standard of responses to them. The politics of parkland Gilpin starts with ‘clumps’ (and their place in park land) which he admits to have a ‘rather relative meaning’; in scenes nearby, ‘we call three or four trees a clump. But in distant and extensive scenery, we scruple not to use the term for any smaller detached part of a wood, tho [sic] it may consist of some hundreds’ (Gilpin, 1794, 1:179). Gilpin weighs and balances large and small clumps, the unity of deciduous specimens and evergreens, and the placement of old and young trees together. To include ‘clumps’ or ‘belts’ in a discussion of landscape is a shorthand acknowledgement of the improvements of Capability Brown; a couple of years later, this characteristic would become central to the falling out between Brown’s successor, Humphry Repton, and the later picturesque theorists, Uvedale Price and Richard Payne Knight. Price was particularly scathing of Brown’s arboreal aesthetics in An Essay on the Picturesque, as Compared with the Sublime and the Beautiful (1794); to quote Charles Watkins and Ben Cowell, he ‘envisaged clumps as “compact bodies of soldiers” and suggested that taking the first letter away from the name of the clump “would most accurately describe its form and effect”. The belt of trees […] meanwhile, was likened to a snake swallowing its own tail’ (Watkins and Cowell, 2012: p. 74). Though Gilpin does not recommend a polished scene within his own picturesque principles, he did not hold, or at least, did not verbalise such strong opposing opinions on Brown within Forest Scenery. Across Gilpin’s tour writings, he visits and discusses a number of landed estates and parks on his travels, and many of these places were owned by the readers of his circulating manuscripts.5 With this in mind, it is perhaps impossible to read his remarks on these environments (and artificial tree formations) as wholly representative of any unbiased opinion. In volume two of Forest Scenery, and on a visit to the seat of a ‘Mr Drummond’ for ­example, he is particularly complimentary about the arrangement of Brownian ‘clumps’ of trees within the park: This abundance of old timber gives the house, tho [sic] lately built, so much the air and dignity of an ancient mansion, that Mr. Brown, the ingenious improver of it, used to say, “It was the oldest new place he knew in England.” The clumps particularly he has managed with great judgement. We observed some combinations of ash, and other trees, which were equal to any clumps we have ever seen. They adorned the natural scene, and were just such as the picturesque eye would wish to introduce in artificial landscape. (Gilpin, 1794, 2:202–203)

36  A silvicultural tradition The ‘clumps’ formulated by Brown, that ‘ingenious improver’, are qualified as picturesque to the eye of the observer; yet, Gilpin emphasises their value within an ‘artificial landscape’, specifically. Park scenery is ‘composed of clumps, interspersed with lawns’, but in this environment Gilpin’s visual expectations are higher: ‘[as] the park is a scene planted by art, or, if ­naturally woody, artificially improved, we expect a beauty, and contrast in it’s [sic] clumps, which we do not look for in nature’ (1:192). There is intention in a park’s formulation, and its arboreal appearance is therefore held to a different critical standard by the spectator. However, clumps were not only sites of contention in aesthetic circles; into the nineteenth century in particular, the politicisation of these spaces increased with the practice of tree maiming upon private property, orchards, and parkland. On 6th May 1826, thirty young trees and an established cedar were cut down by attackers on Lord Palmerston’s Broadlands estate, as a form of protest. As Carl J. Griffin’s article, ‘Protest Practice and (Tree) ­Cultures of Conflict: Understanding the Spaces of “Tree Maiming” in Eighteenth- and Early Nineteenth-Century England’, highlights, these trees were ‘part of a broader planting scheme […] completed by Capability Brown in 1780 which combined both formal parkland and informal “clumped” planting’ (Griffin, 2008b: p. 98). Trees planted in ornamental groupings such as these became a symbolic assertion of the gentry’s environmental, economic, and political power, and for this reason these specimens became collateral ­damage in service to socio-political protest. Griffin elucidates upon this in ‘“Cut down by some cowardly miscreants”: Plant Maiming, or the Malicious Cutting of Flora, as an Act of Protest in E ­ ighteenth- and ­Nineteenth-Century Rural England’; these acts that focused upon ornamental or capital-producing arboreal space should be viewed: not only as an attack upon the individual but also as acts that criticised the enrolment of trees, which were vital in the struggle to sustain ­plebeian life, as symbols of power and ostentation and also challenged the ‘gentrification’ of otherwise productive rural space. (Griffin, 2008a: p. 36) The practice of tree maiming was an objection, to not only the on-going enclosures or loss of common land, but also to the appropriation of a valuable natural resource as a means to establish and assert power, visually and notionally. In the nineteenth century, this criminalised practice also took place on timber plantations and orchards, ‘spaces of both dramatic landscape change and of substantial capital investment’ (2008b: p. 99): the latter of which being a space unmentioned by Gilpin in Forest Scenery. Tree spaces that were manufactured as a means to establish and elevate the owner’s social and/or economic position became representative of human agency and limitations in a rural landscape; this relationship is explored more fully in the second chapter of this book.

A silvicultural tradition  37 The natural history of the forest After a somewhat concise discussion of clumps and parkland in Forest Scenery, Gilpin hastens to move on and consider groups of trees in ‘the wild scenes of nature’, and then categorises these forms under ‘the term wood’, which encompasses ‘every extensive combination of forest trees, in a state of nature’ that cannot be defined as a forest in its own right (Gilpin, 1794, 1:199). This includes copses (‘forest trees intermixed with brushwood’ that are ‘periodically cut down’ (1:199)); glens (a ‘chasm’ in ‘mountainous country’ that is ‘adorned with wood’ (1:205)); and open groves (‘trees arising from a smooth area’ (1:211)). Each of these different groups are then considered and assessed from a picturesque viewpoint. This focus upon differentiation and definition speaks to Gilpin’s desire to identify and categorise trees and tree spaces in visual terms; but the need to characterise these spaces and their environments also speaks to the impulses of classification and natural history study. This is nowhere more apparent than in the study of forests that succeeds, develops, and predominates over these aforementioned tree groupings, and ‘in a manner comprehends them all’ (1:219). Forests are varied, they contain scenes of wood, pasturage, and heathland; Gilpin discusses them from close up and far away, or as he describes it, in terms of the ‘foreground’ and ‘distance’ (Gilpin, 1794, 1:221). Quite simply, a view of a forest from a distance is reliant upon the irregularities of the ground, variety of trees, and overall shape from afar. When Gilpin refers to forest scenery as a foreground, he means ‘the appearance, which it’s [sic] woods present, when we approach their skirts, or invade their recesses’, and this includes a consideration of the ‘internal parts of the forest’ (1:221, 223). The author admits that this is not only the intermixture of trees in themselves, but also the addition of a number of things, from man-made structures such as cottages, castles, bridges, and aqueducts, to the natural objects to be found therein, such as pools, plants, shrubs, weeds, and wildflowers. The impact of seasons and weather on the internal parts of a forest is also taken into consideration here; these contributing factors offer ‘variation’ to the scene, creating ‘incidental beauties’ as part of a foreground or distance (1:244–243). In discussing the internal parts of the forest, there is a consciousness of the interconnected human/non-human relationships within this environment in Gilpin’s writing that David S. Miall would refer to as ‘proto-ecological’; trees and treescapes are considered by Gilpin in terms of the relationship that they have with their surrounding climate, sky, and ground (Miall, 2005: p. 76). However, it must be noted that this ‘proto-ecological’ thinking about forests is also the product of aesthetic scrutiny. For example, in discussing the plants of a forest, the ‘fern is most picturesque’ in form, with its ‘brightgreen hue in summer’ and ‘ocher tint in autumn’ (Gilpin, 1794, 1:229); they are beautiful in a ‘natural scene’, but ‘no painter would endeavour to represent them with exactness’, it should be left to the spectator ‘to find out

38  A silvicultural tradition a resemblance’ (1:231). Gilpin is not concerned with botanical accuracy in artistic representation, but together with trees, these plants provide a kind of visual harmony between the components of the natural scene. Similarly, the meteorological effect of mist makes ‘ramification appear to great advantage’ (1:246), and winter as a season provides great beauty when considering the ‘different tints of [a tree’s] spray’ (1:272); in this case, the mutability of climate has an impact on, and allows for a better visual understanding of a changing forest. Once again, Gilpin’s reading of arboreal space in micro and macro terms seems to exist in a liminal space between formal interests and scientific ones; the natural circumstances of a forest allow for a visual study and appraisal of its demesnes, and for the author in question, these forms of observation appear to coalesce, however consciously. To some extent, this proximity to natural history should be seen as part of Gilpin’s formal choices within his own text; this is not so much about making visual appearance a subject of more importance by any kind of alignment with natural history, but a product of the broad nature of natural history’s parameters and content. After all, at this point in time, natural history as a genre of writing and study was not differentiated into separate areas such as botany, geology, zoology, meteorology, or archaeology; it was simply any kind of viewing, collecting, and recording of the natural world that later developed into individual disciplines. In fact, in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and arguably even today, natural history seems to have encompassed any form of investigation into ‘observable phenomena’ (Browne, 2003). In the context of this nebulous and developing field, a consideration of visual appearance and form was (and is) intrinsic to any kind of natural history study; observation rather than experimentation has always been the central tenet of this diffuse field. In subsequent sections, Gilpin prioritises a consideration of the human and non-human in forest history; the discussion turns to the relationship(s) between humans and the forest, humans and forest animals, and humans as forest animals. Gilpin even goes as far as distinguishing the presence of early man’s place in this environment: That man was originally a forest-animal appears from every page of his early history. Trace the first accounts of any people, and you will find them the inhabitants of woods; if woods were to be found in the countries in which they lived. Caves, thickets, and trunks of trees, were their retreats: and acorns their food; with such beasts, as they took in hunting; which afforded them a precarious supply. (Gilpin, 1794, 1:281) Gilpin’s discussion is firmly situated in an older context of other natural historians, which in itself develops from scrutiny of Pliny’s ‘picture’ of a wooded coast (1:271). Additionally, it can be positioned in relation to ­philosophical discourses on primitivism: Gilpin’s consideration of man as a ‘forest animal’

A silvicultural tradition  39 has an affinity with Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s discourse on the ‘state of nature’ and ‘man in a savage and domestic situation’ in A Discourse upon the Origin and the Foundation of the Inequality among Mankind (Rousseau, 1761: pp. 9, 30).6 Gilpin goes on to discuss how ‘[as] civilisation increased, man began to feel, that the forest could not afford him the conveniences he wished’, stating that ‘[when] man […] relinquished the forest, we have no farther [sic] connection with him. His haunts, and habits are no longer the object of conjecture. They become the subject of recorded history’ (1:287–288). Gilpin is interested in this form of natural and historical context, insofar as it can be a means of imaginative conjecture associated with the forest and landscape, a means to create a notional prospect of the arboreal and human past. These moments connect a vague and un-recorded version of the past with a current view of a natural prospect. In the acknowledgement that man is no longer a ‘forest animal’, Gilpin states that in man’s absence, the ‘forests of the earth became the possession of the brute creation’ (Gilpin, 1794, 1: 294). The author then provides an overview of animals in forests across the world: in the forests of Malabar and Bengal, ‘the tyger roams’; the forests of India are ‘inhabited also by the gentle and inoffensive elephant’; the ‘monkey inhabits the woods both of Africa and ­India’; the ‘cougar’ lives in the ‘wide forests of Brazil, and Paraguay’; in ‘North-­ America the moose-deer seems intitled to the appellation of lord of the forest’; the ‘woods of Germany nourish the wild boar’; the ‘forests of the Pyrennes’ are host to ‘famished wolves’; and in ‘the gloomy forests of Lapland, where the pine is covered with black moss, the hardy rein-deer browzes [sic]’ (1:288–294). This zoological itemisation, much like the discussion of the forests and human inhabitants of the past, is not within the bounds of Gilpin’s personal experiences; presumably, this knowledge is gathered and collated from the author’s own reading and research into the observations of others instead. In the consideration of forests generally then, Gilpin presents and values a perspective where space and time are equally malleable to the observer’s eye. However far such imaginative conjecture allows for a picturesque ­reflection upon distant arboreal places and their pasts, these anecdotes are utilised as a way of prefacing man’s role in the destruction of these non-­ human spaces too: But tho man had deserted the forest as a dwelling […], and had left it to be inhabited by beasts, it soon appeared, that he had no intention of giving up his right to dominion over it. […] He began amain to lay about him with the axe. The forest groaned; and receded from it’s ancient bounds. It is amazing, what ravages he made in his original habitation, through every quarter of the globe. (Gilpin, 1794, 1:295) At this point, the ‘forest’ becomes anthropomorphised in a military analogy as it is described as ‘groaning’ and ‘receding’ from man and his axe;

40  A silvicultural tradition man is presented in villainous terms, as a ravager of ‘his original habitation’. ­Gilpin outlines several brief examples from across the globe in an attempt to p ­ rovide various reasons for the world-wide decline of forests. The ­felling of timber is the result of colonisation, for the preparation of sugar cane planting and cultivation in the West Indies, for example; it has fallen and been used for fuel during war time, as in Gilpin’s anecdote of the siege of ­Gibraltar; and yet, the author also acknowledges that it is the product of natural circumstances, as with the breaking of frost and dissolving of snow on higher ground that crushes trees in the northern regions of Greenland and Siberia (1:297–299). In the main, Gilpin’s tone is certainly accusatory toward humankind around the globe, but Britain does not escape censure either. In fact, the final sections of volume one elucidate upon the destruction of our forests in detail, ‘[as] Britain became more cultivated, it’s woods of course receded. They gave way, as in other places, to the plough, to pasturage, to ship-building, to architecture’ (1:304); human progress of varying sorts converged upon Britain’s forests, to devastating effect. Once again, Gilpin turns to prehistoric times as a distant starting point, stating that ‘our woods were often cut down, merely for the sake of tillage and pasturage’, as evidenced from ‘the great quantities of subterraneous trees dug up in various parts of England’ (Gilpin, 1794, 1:304). The author refers to the research of Dr Plot who suggested that trees were felled and placed on the ground, as a way ‘to make way for the plough’ across bog and marshy ground (1:305); as archaeological evidence shows, forests were literally levelled to make way for the progress of man. Alongside such origins of human industry and from the times of Alfred the Great in England, Gilpin also suggests that our ‘ancient kings’ and every ‘petty prince’ appropriated ‘most of our forests’ for their own power, hunting, and ‘amusement’ (1:306). The author bemoans how ‘our English forests are obliterated’, and ‘many have been suffered through mere negligence, to waste away—the pillage of a dishonest neighbourhood’ (1:307). Within this broad backdrop of human progress, blame is placed in the safety and ignorance of a distant past and in humankind’s continued abandon; forests have been squandered by every level of society, as society itself was formed through the cultivation of the individual and the community. As the third subsection of this chapter will show, Gilpin’s case study of the New Forest in book three of Forest Scenery offers a concentrated analysis of the human engagement with and impacts on an individual forest.

Gilpin and the New Forest In painting a rather drab picture of our forests, Gilpin suggests that though the ‘picturesque eye’ has ‘nothing to do with the affairs of the plough, and the spade’: At the same time, it is more than probable, that if at least some of our ancient forests, in different parts of the kingdom had been preserved,

A silvicultural tradition  41 the ends of public utility might have been answered as well as those of picturesque beauty. (Gilpin, 1794, 1:308) Utilitarian ideas of preserving, rather than appropriating forests, are not part of Gilpin’s picturesque study for instance, yet such consideration would certainly facilitate better observations of the environment in these circumstances. Unlike Evelyn before him and Loudon after him, Gilpin does not offer any suggestions about countering deforestation or actually recultivating these spaces in any physical sense; instead, he seeks to record and itemise the forests of Britain, as a means to ‘preserve the remembrance of as many of them, as [he] can’ (1:309). Starting in Scotland, and working his way down the country, Gilpin lists the forests to be found there, their current state, ownership, and any historical anecdote of relevance; these moments vary in detail from stating the mere existence of a particular forest, to outlining the specimens, inhabitants, and picturesque qualities to be found therein. Unlike Gilpin’s catalogue of single trees, this itemisation is somewhat lacking in detail, given the broad scope of ground that he manages to cover in a matter of pages. However, the very nature of Gilpin’s overview suggests that preservation of these spaces also occurs in a notional context, these forests are to be recorded and remembered in the collective imagination and via a silvicultural tradition. As the first volume concludes, Gilpin turns to the site which ‘hath given occasion to these remarks, and is besides the noblest scene of the kind in England’, the New Forest (1:339); the author’s intimacy with this arboreal space provides him with the capacity to record the history and importance of this site in detail, and it is this authority which forms his legacy as a writer of trees. Forest-law, deforestation, and decay In the third book of Forest Scenery the author continues his previous discussion of deforestation and decay in much more specific detail, and focuses on a terrain he was much more familiar with. As the author summarises, the New Forest was gradually and legally disafforested in the reign of Edward I, disafforested areas of land becoming ‘distinguished by the name of purlieus of the forest’ (Gilpin, 1794, 2:15); and yet, forest- and game-laws still presided over some of these areas, which meant that the actual boundaries of the forest and land ownership therein were issues of much contention (Griffin, 2019: p. 239). However, Gilpin’s ‘descriptive view’ of the New Forest considers ‘the forest in it’s ancient, and most extended state, limited by the bay of Southampton on the east, by the river Avon on the west, and by the sea on the south’ (Gilpin, 1794, 1:16). However, before moving on to his tour of this broad area, Gilpin’s study of the New Forest is foregrounded by a discussion of its complex history and inhabitants, from its initial designation of a forest in 1079, through the convolutions of forest-law and game-law,

42  A silvicultural tradition disafforestation, and their respective impacts upon the forest’s boundaries (2:16). At this point, Gilpin appears to be aligning Forest Scenery with ­another earlier and influential text, John Manwood’s A Treatise of the Lawes of the Forrest (1598). Manwood was a judge in the New Forest at the end of Queen Elizabeth’s reign, and to quote Robert Pogue Harrison, at that time he wrote the treatise to outline, ‘in systematic fashion the ancient laws pertaining to the afforestation and preservation of the wilderness’; and he bemoaned that ‘few of the ancient laws were still being enforced, and he lamented the widespread laxity regarding their enforcement’ (Harrison, 1992: p. 70). Gilpin even quotes Manwood’s suggestion that ‘the slender, and negligent execution of the forest-law hath been the decay and destruction […] of great wood and timber’ (Gilpin, 1794, 2:28). In a similarly Manwoodian fashion, Gilpin does not criticise forest-law in itself in Forest Scenery, rather, he criticises the negligent manner in which those laws were, and had been enforced by its officers and abused by its inhabitants, resulting in the gradual decay of the forest. The author acknowledges that natural circumstances, such as the loss of oak and dominance of beech, warm summer weather, and forest fires, have contributed to ‘extreme decay’ in parts of the forest (Gilpin, 1794, 2:35). ­Nevertheless, there is a definite sense that for Gilpin, humans are central to the depredation of trees and timber in the New Forest. To elaborate upon this complex context, Gilpin cites his own personal experiences and encounters within the forest. The author recalls a story of ‘[not] many years ago’, when two under-keepers cut down the young timber of the forest without distinction, and without measure, which they made up into faggots, and sold: and for this paltry gain I have been informed, they committed waste in the forest estimated at fifty thousand pounds damage. (2:33) Even individuals in a role of authority take wood from the forest for their own ‘paltry gain’ and economic benefit; those that are assigned to protect the landscape have also been responsible for its arboreal losses. This lack of regulation resulted in further confusion and destruction, as summarised by Griffin: Given the relative paucity of on the ground officers, that the forest boundary was contested, and that no systematic cartographic ­survey of the forest existed, opportunities “to manoeuvre” were further ­i ncreased. Squatting and encroaching was only one such way in which local populations took advantage of the dissonance in forest government; poaching and (especially) the stealing of wood were also persistent “abuses”. (Griffin, 2019: p. 241)

A silvicultural tradition  43 As Gilpin records from his own experience, trespassers encroach ‘on every side’ of the forest; squatters ‘build their little huts, and inclose their little gardens, and patches of ground, without leave, or ceremony of any kind’ (Gilpin, 1794, 2:39). As well as poaching and deer-stealing, borderers of the forest ‘depend on the precarious supply of forest pilfer’ (2:40). Gilpin recalls his ‘occasional intercourse with a forest-borderer, who had formerly been a noted deer-stealer’, who could ‘drink with the under-keepers without suspicion’, and who ‘had killed, on an average, not fewer than an hundred bucks a year’ (2:43). Alternatively, there is also evidence that Gilpin does not wholeheartedly condemn all of the forest-borderers, as some squatters’ sites can be ‘habitations of innocence’ (2:46). As in the case of the ‘ancient widow’, Gilpin recalls dwelling ‘on the edge of the forest’: ‘[he] visited her frequently in her last illness, and found her very intelligent in scripture, and well versed in all the gospel-topics of consolation’ (2:46–47). Gilpin places these anecdotes of dubious and pious behaviour alongside one another, presumably as a form of comparison in characterising the borderers inhabiting the edges of the forest. Man is no longer a forest animal, but is described in almost parasitical terms in this context. Gilpin seems to acknowledge that in some cases this habitation is a necessity; as with the widow who was taken to live there by her husband, as the ‘habitation of her life’ (Gilpin, 1794, 2:47). This form of living and/or working in the forest is problematic when it becomes destructive, and is therefore detrimental to the forest’s environs. This discussion of forest-borderers struck the conscience of Henry David Thoreau, living his own wild and liminal existence during the 1840s, and the passage led him to reflect upon the nature of his own life at Walden Pond: But I was interested in the preservation of the venison and the vert more than the hunters and wood-choppers, and as much as though I had been the Lord Warden himself; and if any part was burned, though I burned it myself by accident, I grieved with a grief that lasted longer and was more inconsolable than that of the proprietors; nay, I grieved when it was cut down by the proprietors themselves. (Thoreau, 2008: p. 224) This language of ‘venison’, ‘vert’, and the ‘Lord Warden himself’ is transposed from Gilpin’s New Forest to Concord, Massachusetts, in the mid-­ nineteenth century; it reflects a consciousness about preserving the forest, not in accordance with forest-law or economic value, but for the forest’s sake in itself as a valuable natural environment to the (transcendental) human experience. As Gilpin’s work and its inheritance suggests, the appropriation of the New Forest by man and law is a complex problem that became manifest at the physical boundaries of the forest. Once again, Gilpin offers no solutions to these socio-political or socio-economic problems, aside from the centrality of faith in his role as the Vicar of Boldre; moreover,

44  A silvicultural tradition in this role, Gilpin also acknowledges that even he benefits from an annual ‘twelve load’ of wood for fuel and repairs of his own, designated to him by the ‘regarders’ of the forest (Gilpin, 1794, 2:20). Gilpin’s invested proximity to these scenes allows him to comment upon this forest in the terms of an authority, and from a privileged status therein. As the final book of Forest Scenery suggests, this study of the New Forest and the author’s view of that environment is not simply about the aesthetic appearance of the trees in this landscape; but Gilpin’s knowledge of this place, its past, and present allows for a multi-layered investigation into the human perception and utilisation of this environment, in its many forms. A non-human ecology Alongside the human populace of the New Forest, Gilpin demonstrates an extensive awareness of its animal occupants, and their place within its bounds. As Stephen L. Stover suggests, ‘[grazing] of domestic animals has been a significant use of the New Forest throughout its history, and since the fifteenth century efforts to conserve and propagate timber have competed with it’ (Stover, 1985: p. 32); in Forest Scenery, Gilpin records how both wild and domestic animals continue to have an impact upon this arboreal ecology. Sheep, Cattle, Swine, Hares, Rabbits, Horses, Mules, Deer, Insects, and the ‘feathered inhabitants of the forest’ are discussed at length (Gilpin, 1794, 2:293); this is no zoological itemisation, but a careful consideration of these species and their relationship to their forest habitat. For instance, Gilpin observes how the horses of the forest ‘pound with their fore-feet, the prickly tops of furze […] in some degree for mastication’, and so, this behaviour has a visible result upon the appearance of the terrain (2:251). However, animal behaviour is also the result of human interference, as with the case of swineherd and their role in the pannage season (2:112–113); the ‘replenishing [of] the forest so much with asses’, as a means to allow for the breeding of more mules, presumably for sale and agricultural work (2:269–270); and the historical popularity and gradual decline of stag-hunting having an effect upon numbers of these animals in particular parts of the forest (2:278). This discussion even digresses to criticise the human treatment of ­animals; more specifically, the author reflects upon the ‘barbarian custom’ of horse docking and advocates that this form of ‘cruel mutilation’ should be stopped (2:255, 264). Several years later, this passage would be quoted at length in Thomas Young’s An Essay on Humanity to Animals (1798): Concerning the fashionable cruelty of cutting the tails and ears of horses, I shall content myself with quoting the arguments of Mr. Gilpin. “On this subject I cannot forbear digressing a little (and I hope the reader will not be too fastidious) on the great indignity the horse suffers from the mutilation of his tail and ears. Within this century, I believe, this barbarous custom of docking horses came in use; and hath passed

A silvicultural tradition  45 through various modifications, like all other customs which are not founded in nature and truth.” (Young, 1798: pp. 109–110) Gilpin’s digression forms an essay of fifteen pages, wherein he considers the specifics of docking, quoting the different modes such as the ‘short dock’, ‘nag-tail’, and ‘nicked-tail’, and elaborates upon the impacts of this fashionable practice upon the appearance and well-being of the animal (Gilpin, 1794, 2:255–256). Whilst this may seem to be a departure from the form and content of Gilpin’s usual writings, he judges the horse by the same standard as he does with other objects of his attention: We criticize a building by the rules of architecture; but in judging of a tree or mountain, we judge by the most beautiful forms of each, which nature hath given us. It is thus in other things. From nature alone we have the form of a horse. (2:261) Gilpin values and scrutinises the quality of a horse in its most natural state, as he would ‘a tree or mountain’. Whilst the author assesses forest animals as part of a forest environment, they are also judged in their own capacity, and by our response and treatment of them. Young quotes this argument in full as part of his own work, and does not comment upon this statement or the topic any further than ‘quoting the arguments of Mr. Gilpin’; in this case, the relevance of Forest Scenery even transcends the interests of tree-writing. However, these observations upon the New Forest’s animals also inform subsequent nineteenth-century discussions of forest animals in silvicultural writing. For instance, in Mary Roberts’s Voices from the Woodlands (1850), she defers to the ‘authority of Gilpin’, ‘who delighted in the wildest haunts of the New Forest’, in a discussion of the ‘obstinate, headstrong, and unmanageable’ character of swineherd and hogs (Roberts, 1850: pp. 117, 113, 117). Similarly, in William Howitt’s The Rural Life of England (1838), he refers to Gilpin’s ‘curious account of herding the hogs in this forest, which has been so frequently quoted that most readers must be familiar with it’, and so he does not elucidate upon this ‘account’ any further (Howitt, 1838, 1:322). Howitt also refers to the account of the New Forest horse in Forest Scenery, wherein Gilpin ‘supposes that the peculiar breed of wild horses with which this forest abounds, are a race descended from the Spanish jennets, driven ashore on the coast of Hampshire in the dispersion of the invincible Armada’ (1:322). Despite the conjectural quality of such an anecdote, Gilpin’s suggestion is considered to be a valid one, and even in Lauder’s edition of Forest Scenery, the editor claims that ‘there may be some truth’ in ‘Mr G ­ ilpin’s description of the New Forest horse’ as they compare with corresponding historical descriptions of such horses that were introduced into America ‘by the Spaniards’ (Lauder, 1834, 2:264–265). Gilpin’s knowledge of these

46  A silvicultural tradition various species is not strictly of zoological concern, but it is place-specific, forest-specific, and even localised to particular parts of the New Forest’s topography. Gilpin’s localised knowledge equips him with the wherewithal to write confidently upon the nature and creatures of the New Forest. If natural ­h istory as a branch of scientific knowledge is concerned with observing and recording phenomena closely, then Forest Scenery is certainly conversant with this category of study. The nineteenth century saw the popularisation of science on a scale never seen before, and as Janet Browne summarises, natural history ‘remained a favourite topic of books and magazines, ­lectures, exhibitions, and museums’ and with this, ‘[lively], picturesque description became the accepted norm, often featuring accounts of animal behaviour’ (Browne, 2003). Into the Victorian era then, nature writing met scientific thought in the popularisation, visualisation, and dissemination of ­natural history. In the cases of Roberts, Howitt, and Lauder, Gilpin’s ‘picturesque’ New Forest observations serve to propagate and delineate their own ­naturalistic knowledge to their reader. However, Gilpin’s work is not just a vehicle to make these writings more ‘lively’ to a layperson. When viewed independently, Forest Scenery is reflective of the time spent within that environment, and is not just restricted to the trees of the New ­Forest, but the wider ecologies therein. This work is both picturesque and informative to the reader of natural history in its focus, but Gilpin’s nature writing in Forest Scenery cannot be easily contained within either of these categories. This very liminality allows these observations a certain kind of mobility within naturalistic studies of the nineteenth century, but this ­complicates their performative and informative role(s) in the transfer of scientific thought. The possibility that Forest Scenery can be an authority text and a tool for popularising the reader’s understanding of this environment complicates, retrospectively, what constitutes natural history knowledge in an already wide-ranging definition of this scientific field. Navigating the New Forest In outlining the method and purpose of his actual tour of this topography, Gilpin quotes Manwood’s reasons for preserving the laws of the New F ­ orest, and he hones in on the suggestion that alongside the protection of deer, it should be taken care of for its ‘“comeliness and beauty”’; and he proceeds ‘with more confidence’, as ‘on such authority [he] may consider the scenery of the forest as essential to the very existence of it’ (Gilpin, 1794, 2:58). ­Gilpin asserts his own work’s significance through aligning his own purpose with that of Manwood’s original suggestions; from this perspective, Forest Scenery’s picturesque observations support the established reasons for preventing any further decline or decay. In order to provide an encompassing view of the New Forest and its scenes, the author looks at a map of the New Forest, and ‘drawing an imaginary line from Ringwood on the Avon, to

A silvicultural tradition  47 Dibden on the bay of Southampton, the whole forest easily divides itself into four parts’ (2:51). This division seems rather straightforward, and in fact, several pages later, he claims that this portioning of areas is ‘arbitrary’, as he must stick to the ‘rout [sic] prescribed by the surveyors of the highways’ in order for the reader to follow him (2:59). These rather basic navigational techniques suggest that Gilpin’s knowledge of the New Forest and its scenes is actually somewhat lacking, as it follows a prescribed route anyway. In addition to this, the tour itself often follows a similar formula to the others that have come before it: inclusive of picturesque scenes of various parts of the forest, estates, landmarks, and anecdotes of cultural and/or historical interest which are considered under the spectator’s eye. Nevertheless, Gilpin’s tour of this terrain is suggestive of a different kind of familiarity with these scenes. Despite the fact that he would not be expected to be conversant with every square inch of the New Forest, Gilpin’s navigation of this space is not comprehensive; for instance, in veering off the ‘highway’ to consider the internal parts of the forest, Gilpin acknowledges that as there were ‘a great variety of paths to mislead us, we were obliged to put ourselves on horse-back under the conduct of one of the under-keepers’ (Gilpin, 1794, 2:101). In this respect, Gilpin’s route-finding skills are limited, and are superseded by those of an ‘under-keeper’, a supposed enforcer and caretaker of forest-law; with this, his perspective changes from being on foot to being lead on ‘horse-back’ within a forest he is supposedly familiar with. The reader can only follow this route if they take a similar course of action to himself. However, in contradiction with a supposed lack of information, Gilpin continues to hold a certain familiarity with these scenes: Instead of holding the great road, as before […] we turned short, to the left, into the open part of the forest, toward a noted land-mark, called Marl-pit-oak; well known to the deer-stealer; who on this, or some neighbouring tree, often takes his stand, in the dusk of a summer evening. (1:102) Gilpin’s tour of the New Forest is peopled with the very individuals, ­personages, and even animals that he outlines to the reader separately. However, this final passage is rather vague as to whether he refers to the aforementioned specific deer-stealer that he knows personally, or whether he refers to the ‘deer-stealer’ as a stereotype of a personage in existence within the forest, as the rather romanticised image of the figure ‘in the dusk of a summer evening’ might suggest. Either way, through this process, Gilpin positions himself as an authority, but also at a distance from these personages and their own localised forms of knowledge. Gilpin cannot navigate the internal scenes of the forest as the ‘under-keeper’ can, and though the ‘Marl-pit-oak’ is a ‘land-mark’ to the local inhabitants, it does not make its way into Gilpin’s catalogue of notable New Forest trees. Nevertheless,

48  A silvicultural tradition in this process Gilpin demonstrates his knowledge of this landscape and its occupants (and their practices), positioning himself somewhere between these inhabitants and the reader themselves. Despite this localised, but maybe not inherent, awareness of this terrain, Forest Scenery demonstrates an intimate acquaintance of this area and its history in a way that Gilpin’s other tours do not. The interest in natural history knowledge as an extension of his own observations that Gilpin demonstrates in earlier sections, blends here with his scrutiny of picturesque scenes. For instance, he states that in the first book he ‘mentioned the d ­ ifferent effects of soil, and climate on trees’ and in the ‘New-forest these observations are well illustrated’ in the ‘character’ of the oaks therein, as they are ‘twisted into the most picturesque forms’ (Gilpin, 1794, 2:73). ­Gilpin’s work is self-­referential, directing the reader back to earlier parts of the text, but this allows him to put these observations in an environmental context, rather than as a form of anecdote alongside his picturesque considerations. In addition to this, a number of the single trees of note that Gilpin identifies in the first book are then discussed a second time in light of their environs, as they are approached on the tour. For example, in recalling the tree ‘on which the arrow Tyrrel glanced’, causing ‘[King] Rufus’s death’, the author notes that the ‘scene is a sweet sequestered bottom’, a place open to the west, ‘where the heath was never probably covered with wood, [and so] the king could there only have been incommoded by an evening sun’ (2:78). In thinking about this site in relation to its surrounding scenery, Gilpin fleshes out the anecdote in question, situating the stream of silvicultural history in his (and his reader’s) present. Similarly, the narrative of the oak at Beaulieu Abbey is repeated here: Among these ruins, I remember, some years ago, to have seen a very extraordinary instance of vegetation. The main stem of an oak arose in contact with a part of the wall, which was intire; and extended one of it’s [sic] principal limbs along the summit of it. […] In a great storm, which happened on the 27th of February 1781, both the wall and the tree were blown down together. (2:141–142) The same incident is repeated in a historical and then an aesthetic context, but in the second instance this historical narrative is more personalised with the use of a personal pronoun, ‘I remember’. This is a moment of a­ ssociation for Gilpin as a spectator, which brings together the view of the picturesque eye and the memories of the terrain; the assimilation of the mind and eye with the ideas of the landscape allows for his shared conception of this environment with his reader. In these cases, the silvicultural tradition of shared tree-stories is not just a series of anecdotes copied and pasted into a catalogue of significant trees, these sites are transposed into Gilpin’s d ­ irect experiences with his arboreal surroundings, and this is presented as an ­opportunity for his reader to participate in the landscape too.

A silvicultural tradition  49 The afterlives of Gilpin’s (arboreal) memory This process of anecdote and personal experience is repeated in tree-­writings of the nineteenth century, as Gilpin becomes subsumed into a site-specific arboreal narrative himself on the basis of his authority on trees, forests, and the New Forest more generally. In 1822, landscape painter Jacob George Strutt published his Sylva Britannica; or Portraits of Forest Trees Distinguished for their Antiquity, Magnitude, or Beauty, a series of etchings and historical descriptions of individual trees, and the maple of Boldre churchyard is included within this compendium: It is not however solely from consideration of its size that [the maple in Boldre churchyard] is introduced in these pages, but also from a desire on the part of the author to pay a tribute of well-deserved respect to the memory of so excellent and accomplished man, as him by whom it has been chronicled; the late Rev. William Gilpin; who […] chose [the maple] for his last resting spot […] Nor can a work professing to illustrate Forest Scenery […] conclude with a portion of it which belongs to England better than with a tribute of respect to a name so connected with its object, and adorned with so many virtues as that of GILPIN. (Strutt, 1830: pp. 126–127) This tree is mentioned by Gilpin in Forest Scenery, but here it becomes associated with the author in question; it is a significant tree to include in this collection, due to the fact that it is associated with the notional and p ­ hysical remains of William Gilpin. Furthermore, Strutt even suggests that no work of ‘Forest Scenery’ can omit the works and thoughts of ‘GILPIN’; he ­becomes subsumed within the landscape—a form of localised a­ ssociational history within a certain physical environ—and he is recognised simultaneously as an authority on that terrain and the abstract concept of ‘Forest Scenery’ more generally. The tree becomes representative of Gilpin’s ­memory and knowledge as an arboreal thinker; as in Rebecca Hey’s The Spirit of the Woods: [beneath] a large maple in Boldre churchyard, in accordance with his own request, lie the remains of the Rev. William Gilpin, […] and to which the author of this little work is indebted for much valuable information, which she takes this opportunity of gratefully acknowledging. (Hey, 1837: p. 277) In The Forest Trees of Britain (1847), Charles Alexander Johns references Strutt’s passage above, and refers to the tree as the ‘largest maple now ­existing in Britain, and the only one to which any particular interest ­attaches itself’ as it overshadows ‘the grave of Gilpin’ (Johns, 2014, 1:124–126).

50  A silvicultural tradition In being connected in this way, ‘he has given to the Maple a deeper interest than it ever possessed before’, and in Johns’s estimation the tree becomes more remarkable through its Gilpinesque association (1:125–126). In each of these cases, the maple tree provokes an admission of Gilpin’s authority as a tree-writer, which subsequent writers such as Strutt, Hey, and Johns seek to align with in their own works. In William Howitt’s discussion of ‘The New Forest’ in The Rural Life of England, before Howitt enters the forest he wishes he could have the ‘venerable William Gilpin’ as a ‘guide’, and a couple of pages after the anecdote of the Tyrrel site, Howitt refers to Gilpin’s Forest Scenery as a reference point for his own foray into the environs of the New Forest: ‘[much] interesting information respecting this fine old forest is to be found in “Gilpin’s Forest Scenery”. The Rev. William Gilpin lived at Boldre, in a sweet old parsonage, in a fine situation, facing noble woods’ (Howitt, 1838, 1:321–322). Howitt then goes on to discuss his visit to Gilpin’s grave with Mrs Southey, and so the picturesque writer becomes part of the experience of this terrain; he becomes a recorder of silvicultural history, and a part of its heritage in the New Forest. Gilpin inherits and transforms the aesthetic and historic discourse of silviculture, and this in itself finds another afterlife into the nineteenth century. In John R. Wise’s popular guide to The New Forest: Its History and Its Scenery (1863), the author recognises Gilpin’s importance, but side-lines his relevance to the nineteenth century in a footnote: Some mention should here be made of Gilpin, a man who, in a b ­ arren, unnatural age, partook of much of the same spirit as Cowper and Thompson, and whose work should be placed side by side with their poems. Unfortunately, much of his description is now quite useless, as the Forest has been so much altered. (Wise, 1863: p. 15) With an admission that Lauder’s edition is ‘far better’, Wise places Gilpin alongside the pastoral poets of the previous age, his work, at this point, is a version of a romanticised past, rather than an accurate representation of its current state (1863: p. 15). Whilst, as the following pages will show, the New Forest changed in many respects, this rejection of Gilpin’s viewpoint was not universal in these circumstances. In fact, in an attempt to save the author’s memory and reputation from Lauder’s ‘uncalled for’ alterations, ‘additions and corrections’, which ‘greatly detracts’ from the ‘value of [the 1834] Edition’, the natural historian Francis George Heath presented and published a new edition of Gilpin’s Forest Scenery in 1879 (Heath, 1887: p. x). Heath uses the later 1794 edition of Forest Scenery as the chosen text, and his additions are limited; the editor only intervenes in the text as a means to respond to Gilpin’s critics, to cite, and even insert correspondence with other tree-writers about specimens mentioned in this compendium. Whilst Lauder criticises Gilpin’s assumption that the ‘“little feelers”’ of Ivy are their root

A silvicultural tradition  51 system, Heath quotes Shirley Hibberd’s ‘Monograph of the Ivy’ to support the author’s conclusions (Heath, 1887: pp. 34–35). Heath responds to Wise’s rejection of the Cadnam Oak anecdote, with the claim that he has seen it himself (Heath, 1887: p. 227); and he defends Gilpin’s inclusion of the Upas Tree by saying that ‘many writers who well know the truth of the matter still indulge […] in imagery suggested by the fable of the poisonous valley’ (1887: p. 189). Furthermore, there are several instances where trees mentioned by Gilpin are found to be still in existence, ‘still in full vigour’ (1887: p. 93).7 There is a definite sense that Heath is trying to validate Forest Scenery’s importance in the latter half of the nineteenth century; trees are still alive and present, and many of Gilpin’s assumptions have been supported. Though, Heath is aware that times have changed and dendrological knowledge has developed; for example, whilst Gilpin mentions three species of willow, at the time of Heath’s edition there were ‘two hundred varieties named as existing in English collections’ (1887: p. 91). Gilpin’s text still has a place in arboreal discussion; Heath’s correspondence with nineteenth-century arboreal authorities and in relation to this edition continues the silvicultural discussion(s) occurring within and around its pages, placing the observations presented in a contemporary environmental context. Gilpin’s Forest Scenery is not unaware of the state of the nation’s trees and woodland in the nineteenth century, as Heath outlines in his introduction. At a time when ‘public feeling on the subject of our woodlands has undergone a vast change’, the ‘greenwood shade […] has given place to hot and dusty streets’ and ‘Railways, mines and manufactures have obliterated […] the forest lawn’, and a ‘population rapidly augmenting […] have—­necessarily— levied heavy contributions upon the woods and fields’, Gilpin’s text has a place more than ever (Heath, 1887: p. vi). This text is ‘redolent of the forest air, and will surely give pleasure and afford delight, wherever, in the wide world, exists an Englishman’s love for rolling wood and forest lawn’ (1887: p. xxiii). In a changing (and international) era, Forest Scenery ­presents the reader with a reminder of the nation’s forests and arboreal appreciation in any situation. Unlike Wise’s rejection of this as a distant past, Heath seeks to demonstrate that this text (and the views expressed in it) still has an ongoing and memorial value at a time of arboreal upheaval. S ­ tarting with the state of the New Forest in this nineteenth-century milieu, the following final section of this chapter summarises the perception, preservation, and utilisation of trees, forests, and woodlands at this time. This discussion foregrounds the key arboreal context(s) relevant to the succeeding chapters, and draws attention to the issues growing out of the silvicultural network discussed thus far.

A changing woodscape: preservation and planting into the nineteenth century The New Forest’s heritage continued to be of national and historical interest into the Victorian era. Parliament passed the New Forest Deer Removal

52  A silvicultural tradition Act in 1851, and this attempt at disafforestation sought to remedy the neglect of the medieval forest laws, criticised earlier by Manwood and Gilpin. In getting rid of the deer, the forest was to be improved for commoners and visitors alike, and in taking away these animals, it was hoped that poaching and such criminal activities would subside. However, with this supposed dissolution of royal control, the crown was still allowed to enclose 10,000 acres for the planting and felling of profitable timber, and they would ‘no longer [be] restricted to the planting of broadleaved species’ (Stagg, 1992: p. 148). However, this act caused much discontent amongst commoners, as David Stagg has highlighted, because any improved land ‘would have been no compensation’ to these individuals, as they would lose their pannage and turbary rights, simultaneously (1992: p. 148); in this sense, the act was seen to be an initial attempt by the officers of the forest to expel commoners and enclose on a larger scale. In 1868, a report on the state of the forest caused a national outcry, with the fear that the site would be gradually enclosed from the public for future generations; this resulted in recommendations for amendments to the act by a committee in 1875, and the subsequent 1877 New Forest Act put a stop to any further enclosures. The public’s investment in such forest space was not limited to the New Forest: the ownership and enclosure of these sites continued to be of n ­ ational concern. For instance, as Brian Short highlights: At Epping Forest an 1874 lawsuit upheld commoners’ rights, as did a Royal Commission which first reported on the matter in the following year. In 1876 the Commons Act was passed, allowing for the better regulation of forests and commons, through representative local bodies and conservators. (Short, 1999: p. 128) Forests in England, and more specifically, how they were managed in ­accordance with localised and public interests was of increasing cultural, social, and political interest across the nineteenth century. This was an interest based upon issues of access, developing tourism, pre-existing ­agriculture, and the advances of scientific forestry; each of these concerns complemented and jarred against one another, to varying extents.8 This n ­ etwork of issues and demands shaped the way that trees and tree spaces continued to be preserved and utilised as national possessions. With g­ rowing industrialisation and urbanisation, forests were a space to value for recreation and as a ­reminder of the nation’s heritage. At the same time, improved transport meant that accessibility to these forests was possible for more visitors; for example, the opening of the Southampton and Dorchester Railway in 1847 allowed more visitors to access the environs of the New Forest. As Paul Readman considers in Storied Ground, the preservation of the New Forest for the purposes of heritage and tourism, which Gilpin popularised, assisted the rights of the commoners that were striving to keep the forest

A silvicultural tradition  53 landscape unenclosed (Readman, 2018: p. 179). However, as time went on after the 1877 act, it became increasingly clear that as the forest was being used for grazing and as ‘the Office of Woods [were] unable to throw up protective enclosures around saplings, even of a temporary kind, the old forest was falling into decay’ as a result of this legal preservation (2018: p. 188). Much more than this, as the example of the tourist’s appropriation of pieces of the Cadnam Oak shows, the popularity of the forest was also taking its own toll. Conservation of some kind was necessary. However, with the continental and international development of scientific forestry (the mapping and rotation of wood for the purposes of growing timber), the move away from traditional woodland management and coppicing in the latter half of the nineteenth century, and the further plantation of conifers on cleared land, this meant that the nation’s woodlands were becoming increasingly coniferous too (Watkins, 2014: p. 223). With regard to Epping Forest, this management was feared and criticised by William Morris in a series of letters to the Editor of the Daily Chronicle in 1895.9 On 22nd April, Morris bemoaned the fact that the beloved hornbeam of the area will be gradually replaced, by the ‘authorities’ who will ‘plant vile weeds like deodars and outlandish conifers instead’ (Morris, 1996, 4:268). However, as his visit to Epping Forest highlights, the treatment of the forest as it stood at this time was not satisfactory either, as the author recorded in a subsequent letter on 8th May: I am compelled to say, from what I saw in a long day’s inspection, that though no doubt acting with the best intentions, the management of the forest is going on a wrong tack; it is making war on the natural ­aspect of the forest, which the Act of Parliament that conferred it on the ­Nation expressly stipulated was to be retained. The tendency of all these ­fellings is on the one hand to turn our London forest into a park, which will be more or less like other parks, and on the other hand to grow sizeable trees, as if for the timber market. (1996, 4:274–275) From Morris’s letters it is clear that any parliamentary act that served to protect common access was not working to preserve the nation’s forests, and the treatment (and further planting) of forest trees was changing the way that these spaces were perceived and used. As Charles Watkins has outlined, with the founding of the Forestry Commission at the start of the twentieth century, and with the ‘rise of modern forestry’ that was already in place at the end of the nineteenth, the nation witnessed ‘the collapse of traditional woodland practices, which would not be removed until interest in conservation management gathered momentum at the end of the twentieth century’ (Watkins, 2014: p. 223). Forests were changing as the nineteenth century continued, and yet, as Morris’s letters suggest, public valuation of these spaces and their heritage never altered or subsided.

54  A silvicultural tradition Furthermore, as Morris’s facetious prediction that Epping Forest would become a London park indicates, the span of the nineteenth century witnessed a changing attitude and approach to the planting and management of arboreal space more generally, and this was not only in rural areas and forests, but in urban locations too. As the result of health concerns and developments in the dendrological sciences that were under way in an increasingly industrial environment, the earlier part of the century saw the building of parks, gardens, and arboretums for the first time, and an interest in green belt spaces that might bridge the country and the city. Whilst John Claudius Loudon argued that ‘too many trees and shrubs impede the free circulation of air’ (Loudon, 1843: p. 20) and that ‘country residences […] are rendered unhealthy by the superabundance of trees’ and the possibility of miasmatic vapours (Loudon, 1838a, 1:221), paradoxically, he was also one of the key thinkers pushing for more green space, for more ‘breathing places’ in urban environments during the first half of the nineteenth century. In 1829, and in response to the proposed enclosure of Hampstead Heath, Loudon produced his ‘Hints for Breathing Places for the Metropolis’ in his Gardener’s Magazine. This was essentially a nationwide green belt plan to suspend endless metropolitan advancement. Loudon stated that: Our plan is very simple; that of surrounding London, as it already ­exists, with a zone of open country, at the distance of say one mile, or one mile and a half from what may be considered the centre, say from St. Pauls. (Loudon, 1829: p. 686) These alternating ‘country zones’ would emanate outwards and across the country in tree-like rings, and would allow for ‘breathing places’ for all ­(Figure 1.8). In these ‘zones’, Loudon would introduce ‘all the plants, trees, [and] shrubs which would grow in the open air’ (Loudon, 1829: p. 689). The idea of the green belt—a green space planted with trees surrounding a town or city—is situated between the rural and the urban; but in the utilisation of this concept, Loudon’s concentric rings would bring the country back into the city. Being accomplished, ‘there could never be an inhabitant who could be farther than half a mile from an open airy situation’ (1829: p. 687). Loudon’s plans for practical reasons were never actually realised, but in their emphasis on the careful placement of green (and arboreal) space, they reflect a desire to create more freedom of movement between these physical and notional domains. This desire for more trees and woodland in cities and towns manifested itself in the nineteenth-century’s proliferation of parks and arboretums; though his green belt plans were never actualised as he idealised, Loudon played a vital and influential role in this process. Of course, pleasure gardens and botanical collections in cities preceded the Victorian age, but generally speaking, access was often under private subscription and/or for entertainment purposes. With the passing of time, the nineteenth century saw parks and the specimens therein become more diverse in a botanical sense and more accessible for a greater percentage

A silvicultural tradition  55

Figure 1.8  John Claudius Loudon. (1836) ‘Reviews’, Architectural Magazine, and Journal of Improvement in Architecture, Building, and Furnishing, and in the Various Arts and Trades Connected Therewith, 3(30): pp. 360–383 (p. 382). Photograph courtesy of ProQuest British Periodicals Collection.

56  A silvicultural tradition of the population too; yet, the purposes of scientific knowledge and recreation were often at odds with one another when it came to the caretaking and maintenance of these spaces. As Paul A. Elliott, Charles Watkins, and Stephen Daniels discuss extensively in The British Arboretum (2011), the opening of the Derby Arboretum in 1840—funded by the Strutt family, and envisioned by Loudon—was integral to this process. On its opening day, the Derby Mercury records Joseph Strutt’s speech; it is here where he outlines his reasons for establishing the arboretum; in the desire for uniting ‘information and amusement’, the trees and walks are ‘so arranged and described, as to offer the means of instruction to visitors’ (17 September, 1840: p. 4). Much more than this, it is open to all visitors and members of Derby: I dedicate these gardens to the public; and I will only add, that as the Sun has shone brightly on me through life, it would be ungrateful in me not to employ a portion of the fortune which I possess, in promoting the welfare of those amongst whom I live, and by whose industry I have been aided in its acquisition. (1840: p. 4) In this context, it is hard not to see a metaphor of photosynthesis at work in Strutt’s words. As the ‘Sun’ and its fortunes have shone on him and facilitated his own growth, Strutt wishes to impart some of the same health, leisure, and educative benefits on the townspeople of Derby, of all classes. The structure of the arboretum itself enabled these benefits, as individual specimens from Britain and around the world were planted in the arboretum so that visitors could see them, and do so in accordance with the pages of the Arboretum Britannicum. As Elliott, Watkins, and Daniels suggest: ‘[the] relationship between written, textual and planted arboretums was underscored by the fact that copies of the book were placed in the north lodge for the perusal of visitors whilst entertaining extracts were reproduced in Loudon’s catalogue and guide’ (Elliott, Watkins, and Daniel, 2011: p. 146). There was a close relationship between the textual and physical arboretums, and the correspondence of the two was vital to the further botanical and visual understanding of these trees by the spectator and reader. Loudon’s work in both senses led to the development of more arboretums within the country’s towns and cities, such as those in Nottingham and Lincoln. It also facilitated the planting of more trees in urban settings and contexts, and this extended to the planting of spaces in cemeteries and burial grounds for instance, spaces that were used more frequently for recreational purposes too. Moreover, the suburban garden also became a site for the planting of various exotic trees, as John Claudius Loudon encouraged his reader to do in the Suburban Gardener and Villa Companion (1838), ­Arboretum Britannicum, and in his prolific Gardener’s Magazine. In fact, there came to be an expanse of garden literature aimed at this audience, with Joseph Paxton’s Magazine of Botany (1833–1848) and Shirley Hibberd’s The

A silvicultural tradition  57 Town Garden: A Manual for the Management of City and Suburban Gardens (1855). As Paul A. Elliott suggests, such work was ‘followed enthusiastically by middle class—and increasingly working class—green fingered enthusiasts of both sexes’, and writers of both sexes participated in the dialogue of this literature too (Elliott, 2016: p. 16). Jane Loudon’s body of horticultural and botanical work, which was produced to support the production and ­financial troubles of the Arboretum Britannicum, also demonstrates a keen interest in and knowledge of arboreal care. In her Instructions in Gardening for Ladies (1840) for instance, the author relays advice on the transplantation of trees, in detail (Loudon, 1840: pp. 59–69). The suburban garden became a site to put this advice into practice, and to recreate and transplant ideas from public arboretums and parks. However, as the British Arboretum puts forward, arboretums and parks became sites for urban leisure, and this was often in tension with their significance as ‘botanical educational institutions’ (Elliott, Watkins, and Daniels, 2011: p. 211); much more than this, the industrial climate and changes in fuel consumption took its toll upon the trees themselves: One of the greatest threats to urban arboretums was the increasing smoke caused by domestic chimneys and Victorian industry, especially after the 1830s when many manufacturers moved decisively to adopt steam power which added to the black clouds belching from heavy industry furnaces. (2011: p. 224) In a number of ways, the urban environment shaped the way that trees were viewed, but the very nature of this industrialisation had an impact upon their treatment and survival in these places. However, the health of arboreal specimens within these sites also resulted in active changes to urban planting, and the planting of more hardy species such as the London Plane. Moreover, it also led to the scrutiny of smoke pollution and its impacts upon public health, and subsequent campaigns into air purification into the ­Edwardian period (Elliott, 2016: p. 294). The planting of trees in urban places resulted in further awareness of botanical knowledge and recreation space for many more people of different classes, but the detrimental effect upon trees in this placement was enlightening in itself. What the process of industrialisation was doing to the health of trees in a visual sense, and to the people that valued these specimens, also had an influential effect upon the considered treatment of these individuals, respectively. Developing industrialisation and a growing population was having a ­corresponding impact upon rural spaces too. This was not only a result of the popularity of forest excursions and a tourist industry with more agency, but in the development of more plantations, generally. Plantations of timber for raw material were certainly being established, but the demand for fruit produce resulted in extensive orchard planting across the counties. Whilst

58  A silvicultural tradition orchards have been in existence since the early modern period and on landed estates for generations, the development of the railways meant that commercial orchards could send their fruit across the country with more ease and at a lower cost. As such, pre-existing orchards were growing, and new ones were being planted across the century; some of the bigger orchards even ran their own trains, and Lord Sudeley’s Toddington Orchard Company had its own railway terminus (Masset, 2012: p. 17). As David Harvey argues, the nineteenth century was a ‘formative period’ for Kent’s apple orchards in particular: In the early nineteenth century Kentish fruit was so expensive in the northern markets that it was available only to the upper income classes, but with the coming of the railways the price of Kentish fruit fell in the northern markets as to become generally available to all except the poorest classes. (Harvey, 1964: p. 95) Technological developments meant that more types of fruit could be available to more people of varied class status and across a broader geography. The coming of the railways meant that people could not only visit forests and woodlands with more ease, but they could also benefit from increasing pomological cultivation in their home (and diet) as well. The railways did not just reshape the land, but they also reshaped the nation’s approach to all kinds of arboreal space and its by-products. Tree technologies and transplantation techniques were also of national importance. Taking The Illustrated London News in the 1850s as an example, multiple articles are included in its pages that record such advances; in 1850, the paper reports on the successful transplantation of a large a­ pricot tree in Ipswich and remarks upon the ‘contrivance’ of this process that used wooden planks to support the tree’s roots (2 March, 1850b: p. 149). In 1853, the appearance and working of the ‘Barron’s machine’ was recorded, a ­machine that was tested by the Royal Horticultural Society as a new mode of transplanting trees with ‘as much of the root as possible’ (12 March, 1853: p. 200). In 1855, the paper recounts ‘an interesting application of the working of the apparatus for transplanting trees of a large size; the invention of Mr. McGlashen’ that was shown in the gardens of the Horticultural Society at Chiswick (22 September, 1855: p. 357). Trees were the subject of technological advancement, and their care and placement was of national concern. In 1884, there was even a Forestry Exhibition in Edinburgh that exhibited objects of cultural interest such as ‘a chalet from Balmoral’ from the Queen, and William Gladstone, a keen tree-feller, sent ‘a presentation axe’; but it also presented objects and techniques of note from across the world: ­‘machinery for cutting timber, carpenters’ tools, foresters’ tools, gunstocks, wood prepared for railway purposes, wood pulp from paper-making […] specimens of inlaid work, veneers, picture frames, gums and resins, seeds,

A silvicultural tradition  59 and models of transplanting machines’ (12 July, 1884: p. 37). As The Illustrated London News outlines, the Forestry Exhibition was a demonstration of the vast collection of international industries and technologies that were of pre-existing and developing interest to the various domains of arboriculture and agriculture. However, alongside technological developments, The Illustrated London News also reported on individual and localised specimens of interest. ­Frequently, the paper includes detailed anecdotes of notable specimens of significant girth and age, and if they have fallen, they are described almost in the manner of an obituary. Take for instance, the account and illustration of the cedar stuck by lightning at Henley-on-Thames in 1852, a ‘magnificent’ and ‘remarkably large tree’, then ‘surrounded with a railing to preserve it from the curiosity of spectators’; this ‘prostrate giant’ is mourned, but also preserved as a monument for visitors to pay their respects (August 28, 1852: p. 168). Alternatively, in 1856, the paper reports on an elm tree that had been blown down in Hyde Park; a specimen that ‘fell a victim’ to the ‘high wind of [a] Wednesday afternoon’ (17 May, 1856: p. 536). The journalist reporting equates Evelyn’s lamentation of ‘the thinning of the woods at his own dear Wotton’ after a storm, with the Londoner’s ‘regret [of] the loss of a fine old tree in the Parks’ (1856: p. 536). Much more than this, it is emphasised that it is a ‘most airy and healthy spot’ and one ‘most rural in character’ (1856: p. 536). The Londoner is aligned with the nation’s most famous arboreal thinker, and the spot is valued all the more for its health benefits and the fact that it is ‘truly rural’, this tree and spot transcends its own urbanity (1856: p. 536). With these anecdotes in mind, it is therefore unsurprising that the treatment of old elm trees in Hyde Park became one of the key points of public debate surrounding the production of the 1851 Great Exhibition. The interconnection between trees as valued national and historical possessions to be preserved, and as entities subject to advancements in technology and knowledge, can be summed up in the treatment of these elm trees, and in the newspaper reportage of Prince Albert’s ‘part trade fair, part festival, part shopping mall, part art gallery and museum’ (Shears, 2017: p. 1). The choice of the southern part of Hyde Park for Joseph Paxton’s crystal palace was a subject of contention, as it would involve the cutting down of several trees in the park. A number of Conservative MPs and papers heavily criticised the initiative, as John R. Davis records, Colonel Charles Sibthorp drew attention to the fact that the ‘“parks were the property of the ­people”’; meanwhile, John Bull ‘waxed poetic in support of the trees in Hyde Park, evoking all the patriotic feeling it could in support of English Oaks’ ­(Davis, 1999: pp. 73, 76). Of particular significance were two elms of notable age, and despite political affiliation, there is a definite sense that public opinion was concerned with the fate of these specimens. This is evidenced in Punch’s response to the dilemma in the summer of 1850, with a poem that features two elms or ‘Hamadryads’ talking to ‘Punch’ stating that “as we cannot bite, we bark”; they then go on to list the people that they have seen

60  A silvicultural tradition pass under their branches, and the final verses mark their acceptance of the fact that a “mausoleum” of “glass and iron” will be placed over their “green and happy grave” (1850c: p. 32). The poem veers from angry to sentimental, with the crystal palace becoming a “mausoleum” to their memory rather than a symbol of human progress (Figure 1.9). The Illustrated London News, aligned with more Liberal views of the case, reported on Paxton’s plans in July 1850, stating that though several timber trees would be required to come down, this would exclude ‘the large old elms opposite to Prince’s Gate’ (6 July, 1850a: p. 13). In this case, the large dome of the palace was built to

Figure 1.9  A non. (1850c) ‘The Talking Elms, or The Hamadryals of Hyde Park’, Punch, 19: p. 32.  By courtesy of The University of Liverpool Library, SPEC Per AP101.P1 v.19.

A silvicultural tradition  61 incorporate space for these specimens, and therefore these trees were key features within the exhibition, enclosed within the technological feat of the palace, and were to be viewed alongside all the international objects and items of interest therein (Figure 1.10). The trees remained as entities of historical interest, framed within the advancements of the industrial age. In rural and urban terms, trees were representative of the nation’s past and a product of its future, on a localised and international scale. To some extent, this has always been (and will always be) the case, but the long nineteenth century witnessed a concentrated confluence of these different arboreal outlooks, and more so than any other period beforehand. Exchanges in silvicultural discussion across various forms and genres of literature, from the Arboretum Britannicum to The Illustrated London News, demonstrate how these networks of tree knowledge and observations intersect, develop, and conflict. In tracing these textual connections, it can be seen how the human framing of these entities and spaces impacted upon their treatment, and their preservation in physical and textual forms. Gilpin’s Forest Scenery is a vital text in this context because it has many points of contact with varying and ongoing arboreal discussions. The very nature of Gilpin’s tree-writing encourages the reader to view the aesthetic, formal, and historical aspects of the conversation, alongside the natural, ecological, scientific,

Figure 1.10  W. Lacey. (1851) The Great Exhibition in the Crystal Palace, Hyde Park, London: the transept looking north [steel engraving after J.E. Mayall]. Photograph courtesy of Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0  International (CC BY 4.0).

62  A silvicultural tradition and socio-political ones as well. To understand this form of observation and its authority, is necessary in order to comprehend the scale of how trees as non-human objects, became (and are) sites of human agency and navigation, in an actual and notional sense. The silvicultural tradition and all the interrelated conversations happening on multi-temporal and inter-textual levels provide a rooted and branching map of this cultural history.

Notes 1 Gilpin published two editions of Forest Scenery in 1791 and 1794. For the most part, I will be referring to the later edition as this was the author’s last comprehensive edit of the text in his lifetime. As Francis George Heath highlighted in Gilpin’s Forest Scenery (1887), Gilpin made a number of edits for a third edition, but he died four years before these alterations ‘duly appeared in 1808’ (Heath, 1887: p. ix). 2 Whilst this chapter provides an overview of the history of trees to contextualise later chapters, for further reading, I would refer my reader to the ­environmental, geographical, and historical scholarship of Charles Watkins, Paul A. Elliott, Stephen Daniels, and Tom Williamson, to name a few in particular. These s­ tudies offer detailed historicised readings of the many different kinds of arboreal space during the long nineteenth century, the key points of which I highlight here. 3 For a biography of this lesser-known natural historian, see Gillian Lindsay’s article, ‘Mary Roberts: A Neglected Naturalist’ (1996). 4 This information on the status of the Cadnam Oak site was provided through email correspondence with the Forestry Commission and a present-day New Forest ranger. 5 Gilpin sent out many of his manuscripts to knowledgeable and often upper class contemporaries for feedback on his work before publication. As S ­ tephen ­Bending notes in ‘Vile Things: William Gilpin and the Properties of the ­Picturesque’, texts were ‘handed around among the great and the good, including the royal family, and that various excisions were made prior to publication in order not to offend the living (though the dead, Gilpin noted, were another matter)’ ­(Bending, 2017: p. 594). 6 In this text, Rousseau explores the concept of primitivism, and how the Earth left to its own natural Fertility and covered with immense Woods, […] offers at every Step Food and shelter to every Species of Animals. Men, dispersed among them, observe and imitate their Industry, and thus rise to the instinct of Beasts. (Rousseau, 1761: pp. 17–18) 7 Heath references specific trees mentioned by Gilpin that are still in existence. For instance, the ‘Occidental Plane’ at ‘Vicar’s Hill’ now ‘spans 85 feet’, and Heath notes that ‘[nothing] is more remarkable […] than the fact that the renowned Tortsworth Chestnut is still alive’ (Heath, 1887: pp. 93, 189). 8 As Chapter Four of this book demonstrates, developments in arboricultural machinery and technology had an impact upon woodland traditions and agricultural practices in the nineteenth century. Meanwhile, the Bank Holiday Act of 1871 established public holidays for the first time, and with the introduction of the railways and improved transport connections, this meant that a late nineteenth-century public had more time and agency to visit popular tourist spots and green spaces. However, as the cases of Epping Forest and New Forest show, there was not always the conservation and infrastructure to protect these

A silvicultural tradition  63 places in their increasing popularity. See Paul Readman, Storied Ground: Landscape and the Shaping of English National Identity (2018) for a comprehensive overview of how our national landscapes (and identity) developed amidst the ­advancements of modernity; in part two, Readman pays particular attention to the preservation of the Lake District and the New Forest (pp. 91–92). 9 Morris’s letters on Epping Forest were published in the Organization & ­E nvironment journal in 1998. John Bellamy Foster introduces the letters in this issue, stating that Morris argued against ‘the gradual conversion of a forest into a landscaped park’, advocated to ‘remove the decision-making power over the felling of trees’ from the committee, and suggested that it should be left in ‘the hands of the public’ (Bellamy, 1998: p. 92).

References Anon. (1884) ‘The Forestry Exhibition, Edinburgh’, The Illustrated London News, 12 July, Issue 2630: p. 37. Anon. (1862) ‘The Cadnam Oak’, The Leisure Hour, 573: pp. 807–808. Anon. (1856) ‘Large Elm-Tree Blown Down in Hyde Park’, The Illustrated London News, 17 May, Issue 800: p. 536. Anon. (1855) ‘New Mode of Transplanting Trees’, The Illustrated London News, 22 September, Issue 762: p. 357. Anon. (1853) ‘Apparatus for the Removal of Large Trees’, The Illustrated London News, 12 March, Issue 612: p. 200. Anon. (1852) ‘Cedar Tree Struck by Lightning’, The Illustrated London News, 28 August, Issue 576: p. 168. Anon. (1850a) ‘Design by Joseph Paxton for a Building for the Great Exhibition of 1851’, The Illustrated London News, 6 July, Issue 434: p. 13. Anon. (1850b) ‘Removal of a Large Apricot Tree, at Ipswich’, The Illustrated London News, 2 March, Issue 415: p. 149. Anon. (1850c) ‘The Talking Elms; or the Hamadryads of Hyde Park’, Punch, 19: p. 32. Anon. (1840) ‘Opening of the Derby Arboretum’, The Derby Mercury, 23 September, Issue 5646: p. 4. Barnes, Gerry, Pillatt, Toby, and Williamson, Tom. (2017) Trees in England: ­Management and Discourse since 1600. Hatfield: University of Hertfordshire Press. Bending, Stephen. (2017) ‘Vile Things: William Gilpin and the Properties of the Picturesque’, Huntington Library Quarterly, 80(4): pp. 585–607. Browne, Janet. (2003) ‘Natural History’, in Heilbron, John. L. (ed.), The ­Oxford Companion to the History of Modern Science. Available at: https://www-­ (Accessed: 3 January 2020). Burnett, Gilbert, Thomas. (1827) ‘Amoenitates Querneae’, in Burgess, Henry William (ed.), ­Eidodendron: Views of the general Character and Appearance of Trees Foreign & Indigenous as connected with picturesque Scenery. London: J. Dickinson, pp. 1–26. Coleman, William Stephen. (1859) Our Woodlands, Heaths, and Hedges: A ­Popular Description of Trees, Shrubs, Wild Fruita, ETC. With Notices of Their Insect ­Inhabitants. London: Routledge. Daponte, Richard. (2019) Email to Anna Burton, 14 February. Davis, John R. (1999) The Great Exhibition. Stroud: Sutton Publishing. D. I. E. (1833) ‘The Cadenham Oak, in the New Forest, Hampshire’, The Saturday Magazine, 3(94): p. 238.

64  A silvicultural tradition Elliott, Paul A. (2016) British Urban Trees: A Social and Cultural History, c. ­1800–1914. Winwick: The White Horse Press. Elliott, Paul A. Watkins, Charles. and Daniels, Stephen. (2011) The British ­Arboretum: Trees, Science and Culture in the Nineteenth Century. London: ­Pickering and Chatto. Evelyn, John. (1776) Silva: Or, A Discourse of Forest-Trees, and the Propagation of Timber in His Majesty’s Dominions (2 vols). Edited by Alexander Hunter. York: J. Dodsley. Foster, John Bellamy. (1998) ‘William Morris’s Letters on Epping Forest’, Organization and Environment, 11(1): pp. 90–92. Gilpin, William. (1791) Remarks on Forest Scenery and Other Woodland Views ­(Relative Chiefly to Picturesque Beauty) Illustrated by the Scenes of New-Forest in Hampshire (2 vols). London: R. Blamire. Gilpin, William. (1794) Remarks on Forest Scenery and Other Woodland Views ­(Relative Chiefly to Picturesque Beauty) Illustrated by the Scenes of New-Forest in Hampshire (2 vols). 2nd ed. London: R. Blamire. Gilpin, William. (1791) Remarks on Forest Scenery and Other Woodland Views ­(Relative Chiefly to Picturesque Beauty) Illustrated by the Scenes of New-Forest in Hampshire (2 vols). London: R. Blamire. Griffin, Carl J. (2019) ‘Squatting as Moral Ecology: Encroachment and “Abuse” in the New Forest, England’, in Griffin, Carl J., Jones, Roy, Robertson, Iain. J. M. (eds.), Moral Ecologies: Histories of Conservation, Dispossession and Resistance. London: Palgrave, pp. 235–263. Griffin, Carl J. (2008a) ‘“Cut down by some cowardly miscreants”: Plant ­Maiming, or the Malicious Cutting of Flora, as an Act of Protest in Eighteenth- and ­Nineteenth-Century Rural England’, Rural History, 19(1): pp. 29–54. Griffin, Carl J. (2008b) ‘Protest Practice and (Tree) Cultures of Conflict: Understanding the Spaces of “Tree Maiming” in Eighteenth- and Early Nineteenth-Century England’, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 33(1): pp. 91–108. Harrison, Robert Pogue. (1992) Forests: The Shadow of Civilization. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press. Hartley, Beryl. (2010) ‘Exploring and Communicating Knowledge of Trees in the Early Royal Society’, Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London, 64(3): pp. 229–250. Hartley, Beryl. (1996) ‘The Living Academies of Nature: Scientific Experiment in Learning and Communicating the New Skills of Early Nineteenth-Century Landscape Painting’, Sciences in History and Philosophy of Science Part A, 27(2): pp. 149–180. Harvey, David. (1964) ‘Fruit Growing in Kent in the Nineteenth Century’, Archaeologia Cantiana, 79: pp. 95–108. Heath, Francis George. (ed.) (1887) Gilpin’s Forest Scenery. London: James Nisbet. Hey, Rebecca. (1837) The Spirit of the Woods. London: Longman. Hibberd, Shirley. (1855) The Town Garden: A Manual for the Management of City and Suburban Gardens. London: Groombridge and Sons. Hight, Julian. (2011) Britain’s Tree Story. London: National Trust Books. Howitt, William. (1838) The Rural Life of England (2 vols). London: Longman. Johns, Charles Alexander. (1847) The Forest Trees of Britain (2 vols). Facsimile of 1st ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014.

A silvicultural tradition  65 Lauder, Thomas, Dick. (ed.) (1834) Remarks on Forest Scenery, and Other Woodland Views by the Late William Gilpin, A.M (2 vols). Edinburgh: Fraser & Co. Lindsay, Gillian. (1996) ‘Mary Roberts: A Neglected Naturalist’, Antiquarian Book Monthly, 23(2): pp. 20–22. Loudon, Jane. (1840) Instructions in Gardening for Ladies. Facsimile of 1st ed. ­Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013. Loudon, John Claudius. (1843) On the Laying Out, Planting, and Managing of ­Cemeteries; and on the Improvement of Churchyards. London: Longman. Loudon, John Claudius. (1838a) Arboretum et Fruticetum Britannicum, or The Trees and Shrubs of Britain (8 vols). London: Longman. Loudon, John Claudius. (1838b) The Suburban Gardener and Villa Companion. ­London: Longman. Loudon, John Claudius. (1829) ‘Hints for Breathing Places for the Metropolis’, ­G ardener’s Magazine, 5: pp. 686–690. Manwood, John. (1598) A Treatise of the Lawes of the Forrest. London. Masset, Claire. (2012) Orchards. London: Shire Library. Miall, David S. (2005) ‘Representing the Picturesque: William Gilpin and the Laws of Nature’, Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature & Environment, 12(1): pp. 75–93. Morris, William. (1996) The Collected Letters of William Morris, Volume IV: 1893– 1896 (4 vols). Edited by Norman Kelvin. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Payne, Christiana. (2017) Silent Witnesses: Trees in British Art, 1760–1870. Bristol: Sansom & Co. Price, Cheryl Blake. (2013) ‘Vegetable Monsters: Man-Eating Trees in “FinDe-­Siècle” Fiction”’, Victorian Literature and Culture, 41(2): pp. 311–327. Price, Uvedale. (1794) An Essay on the Picturesque, as Compared with the Sublime and the Beautiful; and on the Use of Studying Pictures, for the Purpose of Improving Real Landscape. London: J. Robson. Readman, Paul. (2018) Storied Ground: Landscape and the Shaping of National Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Roberts, Mary. (1850) Voices from the Woodlands: Descriptive of Forest Trees, Ferns, Mosses, and Lichens. London: Reeve, Bentham and Reeve. Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. (1761) A Discourse upon the Origin and the Foundation of the Inequality among Mankind. London: R. and J. Dodsley. Shears, Jonathon. (2017) The Great Exhibition, 1851: A Sourcebook. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Shore, Emily. (1991) Journal of Emily Shore. Edited by Barbara Timm Gates. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press. Short, Brian. (1999) ‘Conservation, Class and Custom: Lifespace and Conflict in a Nineteenth-Century Forest Environment’, Rural History, 10(2): pp. 127–154. Stagg, David. (1992) ‘Silvicultural Inclosure in the New Forest from 1850 to 1877’, Hampshire Studies: Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club and Archaeological Society, 48: pp. 143–159. Stover, Stephen L. (1985) ‘Silviculture and Grazing in the New Forest: Rival Land Uses over Nine Centuries’, Journal of Forest History, 29(1): pp. 32–42. Strutt, Jacob George. (1830) Sylva Britannica; or Portraits of Forest Trees ­Distinguished for their Antiquity, Magnitude, or Beauty. London: A. J. Valpy. Thoreau, Henry David. (2008) Walden. Edited by Stephen Allen Fender. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

66  A silvicultural tradition Tyas, Robert. (1838) Woodland Gleanings. London: Robert Tyas. Watkins, Charles. (2014) Trees, Woods and Forests: A Social and Cultural History. London: Reaktion. Watkins, Charles and Cowell, Ben (2012) Uvedale Price (1747–1829): Decoding the Picturesque. Suffolk: The Boydell Press. White, Gilbert. (1877) The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne (2 vols). ­Edited by Thomas Bell. London: John Van Voorst. Wise, John. R. (1863) The New-Forest: Its History and Its Scenery. London: Smith, Elder and Co. Young, D. W. (1936) ‘Cadnam Oak’, Journal of the Forestry Commission, 15: pp. 46–47. Young, Thomas. (1798) An Essay on the Humanity to Animals. London: T. Cadell and W. Davies.

2 Arboreal boundaries and silvicultural ‘improvement’ in the literary landscapes of Jane Austen

I was sitting alone in the dining room, when an odd kind of crash startled me—[…] I then went to the window, which I reached just in time to see the last of our two highly valued Elms descended into the sweep!!!!! [sic] The other […] taking a more easterly direction sunk amongst our screen of chestnuts and firs, knocking down one spruce fir, beating off the head of another, & stripping the two corner chestnuts of several branches, in its fall. […] Two [trees in Hall’s meadow] were blown down, & the other so much injured that it cannot stand. (Austen, 1997: p. 57)

In a letter to her sister Cassandra, Jane Austen records (with some horror) several moments of arboreal destruction during a storm at Steventon in 1800; framed by the window, she witnesses the fall of ‘two highly valued Elms’ into the ‘sweep’ and ‘screen of chestnuts and firs’. In depicting this sublime moment of terrestrial chaos, Austen reveals the worth she places on the multiplicity of trees and tree species in the surrounding landscape.1 The uprooting of these elms, chestnuts, and firs is described in anthropomorphic terms: as one tree sinks to the ground, it knocks down a spruce, ‘beating off the head of an another’ in the fall, whilst another tree is ‘so much injured that it cannot stand’. The violence of this demise is mirrored by Austen’s affected response to the scene, as she goes on to say that as no one was hurt she can mourn these entities, but also ‘greive [sic]’ in ‘some comfort’ (1997: p. 57). Trees are non-human entities of great visual and emotional value to Austen here, not of equal significance to human life in this context, but collectively they are bound up with, and characterise the parameters of her everyday existence. In this recollection, there is a sense of these trees being figured as what Jane Bennett refers to as ‘vibrant matter’, there is a ‘vitality intrinsic to [the] materiality’ of these trees and their environment as an ‘assemblage’ (Bennett, 2010: pp. xiii, 21). These specimens ‘act as quasi-agents or forces within trajectories […] of their own’; but their vitality resides in the connection that they have with one another, the scene described, and the outlook of the human observer (2010: p. viii). As the following chapter

68  Arboreal boundaries considers, Austen’s valuation of trees and woodland as sites of interconnecting agency finds a correspondence in the framing of arboreal space in the narratives of her fictional works. Moreover, in the representation, description, and discussion of trees and tree space(s), the author demonstrates a keen awareness of a silvicultural tradition of literature that informs these real, written, and ‘vibrant’ environments. Through the figure of the tree as object, arboreal boundary, and conversation piece, I investigate the contextual and complementary concerns of picturesque aesthetics and enclosures, and how these issues inform the representation and assemblage of actual physical space and character in Austen’s novels. In examining Gilpin’s Forest Scenery (1791) and Austen’s Sense and Sensibility (1811), Mansfield Park (1814), and Emma (1815) in light of the silvicultural tradition in particular, this chapter will come to an ­understanding of how the object of the tree with all its associated space(s) and discourses provides a means to examine and mediate a discussion of ‘improvement’ in all its guises. The following argument does not reiterate the conclusions of the well-trodden area of ‘improvement’ in Austen studies; rather, it uses these dialogues to illustrate how, for Austen, Gilpin, and their critics, trees cannot be confined to one discourse or locale, and these sites therefore complicate any physical or notional sense of a contained environment. Looking at Austen’s trees in this way allows for a focused study of how, for the author and her silvicultural contemporaries, trees are a site where a range of intersecting and accumulating ideas gather and associate, rather rapidly. Considering the role of tree(s) in this context forces the reader to reconsider pre-existing (and often long-standing) perceptions of Austen’s chosen environments and literary landscapes. Trees are found within all of the author’s fictional environs, domestic, and otherwise; and in scrutinising what the placement and discussion of these sites gestures towards, allows for a review of Austen’s own environmental knowledge and agency.

Silvicultural dynamism: arboreal conversations and Characterisations Though Austen would not necessarily feature highly on a list of ­nineteenthcentury authors that maximise description of landscape in great detail, the descriptive placement and manifestation of trees in her writings creates a dynamism within the unfolding of these fictional environments, and this occurs on a number of narrative levels. In Pride and Prejudice (1813) for instance, an arboreally focused view from the windows of Pemberley frames the extent of Mr Darcy’s estate. The ‘high woody hills behind the house’ are indicative of the far reaches of the scene and of Darcy’s land ownership, whilst the ‘beautiful oaks and Spanish chestnuts’ that are ‘scattered over the intermediate lawn’ draw the observer’s eye to the aesthetic value of the specific native and non-native varieties nearby (Austen, 2013c: p. 295). The description of one kind of tree space moves into another as an eye would

Arboreal boundaries  69 travel over the scene presented at the window. On a broader scale in Persuasion, the framing of the narrator’s view of Up Lyme and the trees that characterise that setting marks a movement in space, time, and different kinds of trees, all at once: [The] woody varieties of the cheerful village of Up Lyme; […] where the scattered forest trees and orchards of luxuriant growth, declare that many a generation must have passed away since the first partial falling of the cliff prepared the ground for such a state, where a scene so ­wonderful and so lovely is exhibited [and] these places must be visited, and visited again, to make the worth of Lyme understood. (Austen, 2004: p. 125) The transition from ‘the woody varieties’ to the ‘scattered forest trees and orchards of luxuriant growth’ is not only indicative of the different kinds of arboreal place that characterise the vicinity, but their position marks out their age, extent, and value within the surrounding area. Much more than this, such a scene ‘must be visited, and visited again’ by the observer, to fully understand that locale. The temporal shift between different kinds of tree space in the description creates an accumulative movement in space and time that transcends the scale of the narrative in question. These trees are not simply scenic description, but for the narrator (and spectator) they are markers of the past, present, and possible future(s) here. These specimens are not visited directly by any characters, but they create a kind of incremental effect in visual and historical terms for the reader as spectator to tap into; these trees are not simply a scenic backdrop, but they gesture outwards from their fixed stance to alternative times, places, and ideas. Moreover, in Austen’s writings, this shift between tree subjects and spaces also happens on a conversational level. This can happen as part of a dialogic exchange between characters, as the following conversation between Sense and Sensibility’s Marianne Dashwood and Edward Ferrars illustrates: “It is very true,” said Marianne, “that admiration of landscape ­scenery is become a mere jargon. Every body pretends to feel and tries to ­describe with the taste and elegance of him who first defined what ­picturesque beauty was. I detest jargon of every kind, and sometimes I have kept my feelings to myself, because I could find no language to describe them in but what was worn and hackneyed out of all sense and meaning.” “I am convinced,” said Edward, “that you really feel all the delight in a fine prospect which you profess to feel. But, in return, your sister must allow me to feel no more than I profess. I like a fine prospect, but not on picturesque principles. I do not like crooked, twisted, blasted trees. I admire them much more if they are tall, straight, and flourishing.” (Austen, 2013d: pp. 112–113)

70  Arboreal boundaries This aesthetic and arborescent discourse highlights that the characters themselves are aware of the kinds of “jargon” surrounding landscape ­observation, and trees as objects in particular. Marianne’s opinion is bound up with Gilpin, “who first defined what picturesque beauty was”, but even she is aware that the popularised language of this mode has become “worn and hackneyed” through over-usage. Meanwhile, Edward rejects the rugged, picturesque tree, in favour of a neater, healthier, and “flourishing” specimen. However, these perspectives are not simply binaries, but they are products of different arboreally informed viewpoints. Austen’s awareness of these perspectives illustrates both a knowledge of Gilpin’s work (and the cultural responses to it) and an attentiveness to how his ideas are placed in the context of other tree-writings. Janine Barchas identifies the presence of Evelyn in Austen’s writings, ­using aspects from the above dialogue to demonstrate her overall point that: ‘[as] the battle between Sense and Sensibility is fought out in the ­story’s many arboreal passages, Austen may spar with the author who famously combined the nation’s practical view of trees with their a­ esthetic appreciation’ (Barchas, 2013: p. 154). Austen may engage with Evelyn and Gilpin here, but in ‘sparring’ with these authors on these points, she is demonstrating an awareness of an inter-textual and multi-­temporal conversation. Edward Ferrars’s more practical view of landscape jars against Marianne Dashwood’s sensibility for the ‘rugged’ landscapes of the Gilpinesque variety, but these predilections mimic a textual dialogue of tree-writing, rather than a set of opposing personal perspectives. The ‘blasted’ tree is identified by John Evelyn as a tree that has been ‘lightning struck’ (Evelyn, 1776: p. 429). To prevent further deterioration Evelyn ­argues that ‘the blasted parts of trees [should] […] be cut away to the quick’ (1776: p. 458); the damaged limbs of the tree should be removed to allow for regrowth. However, Gilpin places much value on the aesthetic benefits of this object in Forest Scenery: [the] blasted tree has often a fine effect both in natural and in artificial landscape. In some scenes it is almost essential. When the dreary heath is spread before the eye […] what more suitable accompaniment can be imagined, than the blasted oak, ragged, scathed and leafless. (Gilpin, 1794, 1:14) A comparison of these perspectives unavoidably introduces the question of purpose: should a tree be visually compromised to improve the prospect of future growth, to be “tall, straight and flourishing”, or should a ‘blasted’ tree be left alone to improve aesthetic variety in the landscape? These queries certainly feed into wider debates about aesthetics versus utility, but it must be remembered that the penchant for a “tall, straight, flourishing” tree is equally the product of Edward’s own personal visual preferences, rather than any utilitarian impulses on his part.

Arboreal boundaries  71

Figure 2.1  G. Walker. (1807) A Path, with Two Cows on the Left of it and a Blasted Tree on the Right [lithograph]. Photograph courtesy of Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0  International (CC BY 4.0).

Rodney Edgecombe argues that at this point in the novel, ‘Edward’s r­ ejection of blighted trees, to some extent derives from his seasonal, dynamic vision of landscape’ and the fact that ‘[blighted] trees are fixities freeze-framed [functioning as a] habitually static way of responding to prospects’ (Edgecombe, 2001: p. 619). Furthermore, in composing this arboreal ­passage from ‘several angles’, Austen ‘endorses and mocks in the same breath, [she] all but fulfils a central dictum of [Gilpin’s] picturesque, viz., that “picturesque ­composition consists in uniting in one whole a variety of parts”’ (2001: p. 620). It is unnecessary to commit to either critical perspective on Austen’s picturesque stance, as Edgecombe states, she ‘endorses and mocks [this mode] in the same breath’, and there is a critical consensus that this attitude is evident throughout her fictional work. Edgecombe suggests that Austen’s varied responses to Gilpin’s work can be compartmentalised into the very aesthetic frame that he suggests is made from a ‘collation of freeze frames’ (2001: p. 619). However, it is the collection of ‘freeze frames’, the gathering and shifting of different arboreal views in this passage that drives this discussion and characterisation, simultaneously. Though Austen’s fiction features no reference to the kind of specific and inter-textual tree anecdotes found in Evelyn’s and Gilpin’s writings, such as the Cadenham Oak for instance, the characters within her fiction (and

72  Arboreal boundaries the author herself) are well-versed in tree-writings and ideas of various sorts, and this is revealed through their dialogue. In speaking of Marianne ­Dashwood for example, Edward Ferrars suggests that “she would have every book that tells her how to admire an old twisted tree” (Austen, 2013d: p. 107); this could be many books of the period of course, but given the ­context described above, it certainly would not be a stretch to see an allusion to Forest Scenery in such a speech. Marianne puts this into practice in her vocalised effusions on the trees and leaves of Norland, as she misses the “feelings [which] they, the season, the air altogether inspired!” (2013d: p. 101); her memorial appreciation for these spaces is bound up within an aestheticised and romanticised outlook. Much more than this, Marianne’s identification of Gilpin as a man of ‘taste’ in this passage converges with Gilpin’s own views expressed in Forest Scenery, with wider silvicultural responses of the period, and ideas that also intersect with the broader concerns of arboreal responsibility and ownership. Marianne herself is certainly using the kinds of ‘jargon’ that she also condemns in the same speech, but the diversity of arboreal strands evident here reinforces the ­author’s awareness of the intersecting conversations being had around trees and tree spaces at the time. Moreover, this complex nexus of arborescent information and exchange informs the author’s approach to the characterisation of men and women in her novels. Gilpin puts forward that the kind of arboreal discourse one participates in is reflective of their person; interpreting and comprehending the l­anguage, value, and diversity inherent in tree topics defines character. Understanding the articulation of these forms of knowledge will enable a study of A ­ usten’s own approach to arboreally inspired characterisation and communication. In Gilpin’s understanding and differentiation of trees as ‘timber’ for ­monetary gain and as an attribute of picturesque beauty for instance, it is clear that he was aware of the link between his own writings on the picturesque and the improvements of enclosure. In fact, this can be identified as a recurring motif in the arboreal discourse of Forest Scenery. In discussing the ‘incidental beauty’ to be found in the ‘felling of timber’, Gilpin argues that a man of ‘taste’ will be ‘the best improver and direct the felling of the axe with the most judgement’ (Gilpin, 1794, 1:277). In Forest Scenery, Gilpin acknowledges the co-existence of trees as objects of aesthetic and monetary value, and to some extent tries to unite the two purposes within the picturesque imagination: The oak, the ash, and the elm, are commonly dignified […] by the title of timber trees. But the picturesque eye scorns the narrow conceptions of a timber-merchant […] though it must be owned, the three species already characterised, are both the most useful, and the most picturesque. We esteem it fortunate, when the idea of picturesque beauty coincides with that of utility, as the two ideas are very often at a variance. (1794, 1:45)

Arboreal boundaries  73 Although Gilpin idealises the union of picturesque aesthetics and utility, he detests the valuation of trees solely in terms of monetary gain rather than aesthetic worth. The man of ‘taste’ works in antithesis to the timber-­ merchant, as their conception of arboreal ‘value’ is inherently different. Gilpin abhors the figure of the timber-merchant and the value he places on trees, going as far as to say that ‘[he rejects] all such trees […] [that] have had their value merely ascertained by a timber-merchant’s rule’ (1794, 1:123). An individual’s appreciation and valuation of trees and timber was undoubtedly a means to register taste. In Gilpin’s more didactic work, in his parable of two gentlemen and their estates in Moral Contrasts (1798) for example, he juxtaposes two characters with notably Austen-esque names, James Leigh (a bad landowner) with Frank Willoughby (an admirable one).2 Leigh has ‘no idea’ of ‘taste, in any shape’, and all his ‘projects were in opposition to nature’, whilst in ­Willoughby’s ‘improvements, and whole economy’ there was ‘nothing but propriety, and proportion’ (Gilpin, 1798a: pp. 32, 39, 55). Furthermore, G ­ ilpin differentiates these men by their approach to woodland: in order to raise money for his debts ‘all [Leigh’s] timber was cut down and sold’ and ‘many thousand trees were felled, which were still in a growing state’ (1798a: pp. 89–90). Alternatively, all of Willoughby’s ‘trees were well-grown’, ‘his trees; and his shrubs were healthy’, and ‘what timber he cut down, was only such as called for the axe; and in its room he planted thousands of trees all over his domains’ (1798a: pp. 92, 93, 94). As Stephen Daniels records, the ‘importance of trees and woodland to the appearance and economy of landed estates made their mismanagement, especially their bulk felling to pay gambling debts or realize quick profits, a recurring reason for censure’ (Daniels, 1988: p. 46). Willoughby cares for his woods and plantations, whereas Leigh only sees such space in terms of monetary value. In Gilpin’s parable, a landowner’s approach to his arboreal environs marks him as a gentleman. Gilpin’s varied writings show that the perception of trees and timber on an estate is not merely aesthetic, and yet, it is equally onerous to perceive them simply in a serviceable capacity too. A landowner of ‘taste’ recognises the value of ancestral trees and plantations of timber equally. Old trees are entities to admire and to take guardianship of, and whilst timber is a profitable resource, these trees should be felled with discretion and just cause; a gentleman’s moral, economic, and political worth is defined partly by his methods and approach to arboreal conservation. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the picturesque tour and parliamentary enclosures were both concerned with the negotiation of a parameter, the border between the privately cultivated landscape and the untamed natural environment. Moreover, these discourses encounter and intersect around the object of the tree. Trees were felled to pay for the enclosure of land; they sheltered and marked an estate’s boundary, and were necessary for a picturesque ­aesthetic. Choosing specimens to fell, cultivate, and protect was a balancing act of aesthetic taste, agricultural knowledge, and economic valuation for the landowner.

74  Arboreal boundaries A landowner’s assessment of trees is a means to define their character amongst the community of characters that often rely upon them within the narrative. For instance, from the beginning of Sense and Sensibility, it is made clear that Henry Dashwood protects the ‘valuable woods’ that ­border Norland for the next generation: ‘[the] whole was tied up’ so that his son cannot fell them to pay for any enclosures (Austen, 2013d: p. 4). This is extended later on in the novel when John expostulates on the value of Colonel Brandon’s arboreal borders: “everything is in such respectable and excellent condition! And his woods, I have not seen such timber anywhere in Dorsetshire, as there is now standing in Delaford Hanger!” (2013d: p. 425). Austen questions John’s judgement and perception, not through a narratorial interjection, but through his avaricious coveting of Brandon’s timber, or rather the monetary “value” that it represents. John then proceeds to question the “value” of the living on Brandon’s estate that is given to Edward Ferrars (2013d: p. 334). Like Leigh in Gilpin’s parable, John is marked as an irresponsible landowner, and this is often discernible, not by any physical actions, but by his own responses and choice of words. By contrast, Emma’s Mr Knightley is a landowner of responsibility, much like Gilpin’s Willoughby. In paraphrasing a conversation between the Knightley brothers, the narrator recounts how ‘[they] talked of their own concerns and pursuits […] The plan of a drain, the change of a fence, the felling of a tree, and the destination of every acre for wheat, turnips, or spring corn’ (Austen, 2013a: p. 107). Unlike John Dashwood’s arboreal effusions in Sense and Sensibility, there is not the sense here that Knightley is being criticised for ‘the felling of a tree’; as in this context, the felling of a tree is simply part of his wider plans for agricultural productivity, rather than monetary gain. For Knightley, a tree is not simply timber, but these specimens are to be cultivated for a variety of benefits, and this is further ­exemplified through his treatment of the Donwell orchard. Miss Bates’s proclamations on Knightley’s apple-trees characterise him as a constant figure in the community and an ideal landowner: “He sends us a sack every year; and certainly there never was such a keeping apple anywhere as one of his trees—I believe there is two of them. My mother says the orchard was always famous in her younger days. But I was really quite shocked the other day—for Mr. Knightley called one morning […] and he asked whether we were not got to the end of our stock. “I am sure you must be,” said he, “and I will send you another supply; for I have a great many more than I can ever use […] I will send you some more, before they get good for nothing.” (2013a: p. 257) Knightley’s “famous” apple-trees act as an object of anecdotal potential, a pomological marker of history and a symbol of his standing in the community.3 On John Evelyn’s terms, Knightley would be considered an ideal landowner as these trees function as a means to provide charity amongst the

Arboreal boundaries  75 poorer members of Highbury. Evelyn’s ‘stile’ of discourse surrounding fruittrees attempts to make a case for planting fruit as well as timber trees. In Silva: or, A Discourse of Forest-Trees, and the Propagation of Timber in His Majesty’s Dominions (1664), Evelyn repeatedly refers to the ‘publick utility’ and the ‘useful’ nature of these specimens, suggesting that these trees are ‘both for ornament and profit’ (Evelyn, 1776: pp. 413, 414). If ‘every person whatsoever, worth ten pounds per annum’ planted fruit-trees in their hedges, Evelyn points out that they would undoubtedly benefit from the ‘pleasure and profit of their delicious fruit’ (1776: p. 414). In the context of the silvicultural tradition of tree-writings that Evelyn and Gilpin are a part of, the aesthetics and utility of trees should not be wholly distinct, but viewed as interconnected concerns . Moreover, as this silvan dialogue continues Evelyn changes his tone slightly, pleading to the conscience of the ‘noble owners, Lieutenants, ­Rangers and Ingenious Gentlemen’ of the gentry (Evelyn, 1776: p. 585): It would therefore be a most charitable work, to plant fruit and ­forest-trees, for the benefit of the poor, upon commons and other waste grounds, and such places where they would thrive; and where persons are willing to be thus employed for the use of the indigent. (Evelyn, 1729: p. 271)4 Planting fruit-trees becomes a work of charity, and this is where they ­provide ‘of greatest emolument to the whole nation’ (1776: p. 414). Evelyn proceeds with this rhetoric, arguing that there is ‘virtue and pleasure’ when ‘[gentlemen] […] delight themselves in the Goodliness of their trees, as other Men generally do in their dogs and horses’ (1776: p. 585). Here the dialogue of ‘pleasure and profit’ becomes one of ‘virtue and pleasure’. Evelyn appeals to the patriotic duty and the conscience of his readers; planting fruit-trees is a ‘useful’ endeavour as it results in both individual and national profits. Knightley shares the fruition, the ‘great many’ apples of these trees, but he invites his neighbours to aesthetically appreciate these spaces as well, to “walk about [his] gardens […] and sit under trees” (Austen, 2013a: pp. 385– 386). In maintaining these spaces, Knightley allows for arboreal, aesthetic, and historical continuity, and through this, he is judged as a gentleman and a landowner. On finding him absent at Donwell Abbey, Mrs Elton comes to the conclusion that he must have disappeared “perhaps into his woods” (2013a: p. 499). Comparably, Harriet Smith mistakenly considers him to be a potential suitor ‘in the lime walk at Donwell’ (2013a: p. 446). Knightley’s central role in this group and his relationship with his fellow Highburians is linked intrinsically to his utilisation of trees and woodland; as such, the community that shares this natural munificence (however consciously) associates him with an arboreal landscape. The reference to ‘taste’ in terms of the treatment and discussion of trees by these characters illustrates the author’s understanding of trees as entities with multiple meanings, readings

76  Arboreal boundaries

Figure 2.2  John Evelyn. (1706) Sylva, or a Discourse of Forest-trees, and the ­Propagation of Timber in His Majesty’s Dominions. 4th ed. London: R. Scott, p. 354.  Photo courtesy of Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0  International (CC BY 4.0).

Arboreal boundaries  77 informed by an ongoing silvicultural conversation. This in turn becomes a register for characterisation and communication. Though landownership and agriculture are often considered to be the ­domains of men during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Austen does not limit these kinds of conversations, characterisations, ‘taste(s)’, or knowledge just to the male persons in her novels. Take Fanny Price in Mansfield Park as an example, Fanny’s reaction to the possible felling of an avenue at Sotherton evokes a similar elegiac tone to Marianne Dashwood’s views of Norland’s trees: “Cut down an avenue! What a pity! Does it not make you think of ­Cowper? “Ye fallen avenues, once more I mourn your fate unmerited.” [Edmund] smiled as he answered, “I am afraid the avenue stands a bad chance, Fanny.” “I should like to see Sotherton before it is cut down, to see the place as it is now, in its old state; but I do not suppose I shall.” (Austen, 2013b: p. 66) Fanny attaches lines from William Cowper’s poem The Task (1785) to this space, and even quotes the same section of Cowper’s poem that Gilpin ­alludes to in elaborating the stature of trees in Forest Scenery (Gilpin, 1794, 1:121). Both writers refer to stanzas in close proximity to one another in Book I of The Task, wherein the speaker reflects upon an imagined perambulation of a rural scene; within this, the speaker considers the ‘restless undulation’ of nature, whether this is to be found in the lasting presence of ‘fallen avenues’, or in the stance of an oak tree when faced with ‘the rude concussion of the storm’ (Cowper, 1785: pp. 18–21). Cowper is a literary lens for both authors in the consideration of trees, their natural form, and longevity; moreover, this is a discourse that Fanny Price is conversant with. Fanny has never laid her eyes on the avenue of trees in question, and yet she wishes to see “the place as it is now”, the place as a space imbued with aesthetic worth, so that she can imaginatively explore the prospect and ­narratives attached to and inspired by its old state. As with Marianne’s ­retrospective view of Norland, there is no tree in sight in the scene, the focus here is on the kinds of language that can be used to describe, imagine, and/ or recall the trees being discussed. Moreover, these conversations are not merely limited to romantic raptures in isolation. Austen takes care to characterise Fanny throughout Mansfield Park, as not only an admirer of nature but also a knowledgeable spectator. For instance, in a later rhapsody over an evergreen tree to Mary Crawford, she discusses the fact that her “uncle’s gardener always says the soil here is better than his own, and so it appears from the growth of the laurels and evergreens in general”, which leads into an enthusiastic discussion of how “[in] some countries we know the tree that sheds its leaf is the variety, but that does not make it less amazing, that the same soil and the same

78  Arboreal boundaries sun should nurture plants differing in the first rule and law of their existence.” (2013b: p. 244) Fanny is aware of ideas surrounding arboreal cultivation, and the kinds of specimens that suit different soils. As well as her literary, horticultural, and arboreal knowledge, Fanny’s consciousness of the fact that she is “rhapsodizing” limits any readerly judgement for excessive sensibility (2013b: p. 244). Fanny Price is admired by the narrator and reader in this novel because her vocalised veneration for these trees is not just aesthetic or literary, it is a set of considered, culturally, and arboreally informed perspectives. Kathleen Anderson makes the connection between Austen’s female characters and their affinity with trees, and considers how their environmental perspectives allow them to be part of their community. Anderson goes as far as to suggest Marianne Dashwood and Elizabeth Bennet are ‘arboreal beings’ in this process; ‘[they] grow into themselves in the landscape like trees, absorbing critical insights into their relationships with themselves, society, and moral absolutes’ (Anderson, 2018: p. 82). Moreover, I suggest that the majority of Austen’s characters absorb arboreal information; and these discourses help them to understand and discuss the world around them, and then exchange, develop, and communicate these perspectives to their peers. Of course, the instances of dialogue described in these texts can be taken simply as interchanges between characters, rather than serving as any kind of plot device, but when viewed collectively, the arboreal language being used across Austen’s oeuvre is demonstrative of a wider web of tree-related exchanges. Arboreal conversation and characterisation allows for the gathering of these ideas at a novelistic level, and this silvicultural engagement also has a significant socio-political function in these novels. Much more than this, this process can be traced from Austen’s earliest writings. Take for example, the following passage of free indirect discourse from Austen’s Northanger Abbey (1817): Delighted with her progress, and fearful of wearying her with too much wisdom at once, Henry suffered the subject [of the picturesque] to decline, and by an easy transition from […] the withered oak which he had placed near its summit, to oaks in general, to forests, the inclosure of them, waste lands, crown lands and government, he shortly found himself arrived at politics; and from politics, it was an easy step to silence. (Austen, 2006b: p. 113) This extract playfully suggests that Catherine Morland is improved by the  plethora of conversational topics that Henry Tilney draws upon from the landscape in front of them. There are various ironies at work here, as the narratorial voice seems to undermine the significance of Catherine’s ‘progress’ by simultaneously mocking her improver. Yet, the narrator does not

Arboreal boundaries  79 simply mock the hero, but the social sphere that constructs a list of desirable conversational topics to be covered. In Tilney’s attempt to emulate this social etiquette he misreads the situation entirely. In forgetting his audience, the polite discussion of the picturesque qualities of Beechen Cliff quickly descends into a political dialogue. To some extent, the narrator ridicules the capacity to turn a conversation from the simplest of objects, a ‘withered oak’, and utilise it as a form of shorthand to create a fashionable discourse. Tilney’s compilation of conversational topics can appear irrelevant and seems to exist as a vehicle that only furthers the narrator’s ironical purposes. However, upon a closer analysis, the development within this conversational manoeuvring is suggestive of a formal link between the ‘withered oak’, ‘oaks in general’, and ‘forests’, and this leads into theorising on ‘inclosure’ and ‘politics’. A similar movement between the kinds of tree spaces and ideas that are evident in the Northanger Abbey passage can be traced in how Gilpin frames the contents of Forest Scenery; as Chapter One outlines, in ‘methodizing his remarks’, he contemplates trees as individual objects, and then considers ‘trees under various modes of composition, from clump to the forest’ (Gilpin, 1794, 1:iii). In both cases, as with the examples cited above, trees are not encompassed within a single topic or setting, but many associated ones. There is a formal relationship suggested between the individual tree, clumps, forests, and from there to more abstract theorising on political or psychological ideas; and this movement characterises the very silvicultural tradition that describes and connects these spaces. Furthermore, this exchange is at the heart of Gilpin’s picturesque more broadly, a mode of observation that does not aim to capture the landscape in stasis, but to appropriate a cinematic term, it creates an effect somewhat akin to stop motion.5 Gilpin’s perspective admires individual views, images, and narratives framed within the environment, but it is the collection of these aspects that creates the dynamism of this outlook. Landscape is at once a perpetually changing and constant entity, on a physical and textual level. This Gilpinesque viewpoint of combined and oscillating components is much like Bennett’s consideration of vitality and materiality, wherein ‘elements of [any] assemblage work together’; in B ­ ennett’s Vibrant Matter, this ‘assemblage’ includes ‘humans and their (­ social, legal, linguistic) constructions’, and also includes, ‘some very powerful nonhumans: electrons, trees, wind, fire, electromagnetic fields’ (Bennett, 2010: p. 24). This interconnected vitality within any environment is made up of physical and conceptual elements, human and non-human agents that cannot be considered as distinct from one another. In Gilpin’s and Austen’s writings, individuals describing and/or talking about trees are unable to contain them to a single topic, and instead, their presence can inspire a web of associative discourse. The figure of the tree inspires a ‘vibrant’ view of environment, and as a part of this, it generates an accumulating and interconnecting network of discourses for characters and/or narrators to partake in, and for the reader as spectator to engage with. Furthermore, this textual assemblage of

80  Arboreal boundaries arborescent ideas allows for a reassessment of how far Gilpin and Austen are conversant with their wider environmental contexts.

Trees, improvement, and maintaining arboreal boundaries Previous critics have limited both of these writers in terms of the kinds of environmental issues and ‘improvements’ that are present in their work. As the above passage from Northanger Abbey shows, the tree is an object that can be used to discuss both picturesque aesthetics and the political concern of enclosures: two kinds of improvement that were part of the past and continuing present for Austen. Austen’s real and fictional landscapes were delineated by improvement, and in her lifetime continued to be shaped by aesthetic and agricultural revisions to the rural terrain. Just as the tree in the passage from Northanger Abbey above acts as a conversational catalyst, this same excerpt is discussed correspondingly by critics to suit and support different focuses of improvement in Austen’s work. Alistair Duckworth identifies ‘Tilney’s love of Gilpin and the picturesque’ (Duckworth, 1994: p.  96). However, Duckworth simultaneously challenges the critical focus on the presence of Gilpin’s picturesque in Austen’s novels; he implicitly argues that in this attention to how ‘enamoured of Gilpin on the picturesque’ ­Austen was, ‘literary critics have ignored the motif of estate improvements in Jane Austen’s fiction’ (1994: p. 39). Duckworth uses the above passage from Northanger Abbey to discuss ‘improvement’ in terms of landscape aesthetics but markedly disassociates this discourse from Gilpin’s picturesque writings; furthermore, he omits to address any corresponding form of agricultural improvement. Comparably, there is an omission to address aesthetic improvements in the criticism surrounding Austen and enclosures. For instance, Celia Easton asks, ‘Can we infer from this passage what Henry Tilney’s attitude towards the enclosure movement is?’, and she comes to the conclusion that Austen and her characters evade voicing an explicit opinion on this political concern of ‘improvement’ through enclosures, arguing that this is due to social circumstances and limitations placed on men and women (Easton, 2002: p. 82). In this sense then, any discussion of improvement draws attention to ­limitations within Austen’s work, and therefore places restrictions upon comprehending the author’s sphere of engagement and experience. Austen is distanced from the concerns of agriculture and enclosure because it is as Easton suggests, a ‘topic usually addressed by men’ within and without her novels: it is therefore considered acceptable that she should make such ­g laring contextual and historical omissions within these fictional works (Easton, 2002: p. 82). Comparatively, her attention to the aesthetic reshaping of the land has been contested because there continues to be a tension in understanding the convoluted relationship between improvement and the picturesque. Both landscape improvement and the picturesque are concerned with the formal composition of environment; however, where the

Arboreal boundaries  81 picturesque spectator engages with (a natural or tamed) landscape notionally, the landscape improver makes physical changes to a scene. Though these discourses are inherently linked through association, their aims and outcomes differ, and so criticism (as exemplified through Duckworth) has attempted to untangle their influences and histories. Therefore, a discussion of aesthetic improvement can become a means to disregard or draw attention to the influence or mockery of Gilpin within Austen’s aesthetic perspective. Due to this network of seemingly connected and contested lines of ­enquiry, it is therefore unsurprising that scholarship to some degree fails to reconcile these forms of improvement; yet, it is clear that this is not simply a problem specific to Austen’s work either. Whether critics consider Gilpin to be simply the father of the picturesque or a travel writer in his own right, there is a general consensus that Austen was captivated with his picturesque observations, and also influenced artistically by them to varying degrees. In these works, Gilpin to some extent removed himself from the concerns of improvement; he rejects the aesthetics of a tamed landscape in his Three Essays: ‘How flat, and insipid is often the garden scene; how puerile and absurd! […] the lawn and it’s [sic] boundaries, how unlike nature!’ (Gilpin, 1972: p. 57). Gilpin argues that the picturesque imagination should ‘[turn] the lawn into a piece of broken ground: [and] plant rugged oaks instead of flowering shrubs’ (1972: p. 8). As in Austen scholarship, critics of Gilpin detach his picturesque writings from agricultural improvement and enclosures too, or at the very least identify the problems in considering Gilpin as a commentator on the shifting of topographical margins. In turning to Forest Scenery more specifically, Benjamin Colbert highlights how ‘Gilpin’s assertion that the picturesque “has nothing to do with the affairs of the plough and the spade” disassociates the picturesque from any concerns of husbandry and enclosure’ (Colbert, 2010: p. 23). Colbert situates Gilpin’s relationship with enclosures within the wider, polarised discussion of aesthetics and utility: Gilpin frequently asserts the independence of picturesque beauty from “the affairs of the plough” yet almost as frequently qualifies his statements with sentiments of regret or reconciliation. […] Gilpin reinscribes the language of utility into aesthetic praxis, as when he describes the “useful machinery” that the “moving tree affords the painter”. Arch-­ formalist though he may be, Gilpin nevertheless attempts wherever ­possible to restore his aesthetic to a social and moral frame. (2010: p. 25) Whilst Colbert argues that Gilpin rejects the concerns of enclosure, he does not say that he overlooks the subject entirely: in fact, in Forest Scenery, there is the underlying sense of his desire to unite aesthetics with utility in some way. Moreover, if Gilpin fails to address themes of enclosure explicitly in a

82  Arboreal boundaries commentary, I would still concur with Colbert that the effects and aesthetics are certainly present in these writings; and like Austen, this can be read in the choice of arboreal terminology and the engagement with tree spaces in the landscape. The tree is an entity and environment wherein different ideas, values, and memories can intersect; trees are a physical component of landscape, but they are also a place where human concepts of perception, landownership, improvement, and navigation intersect. Austen’s use of the tree in her ­fiction, in conversation, becomes a space to discuss the broader environmental, political, and silvicultural concerns that define her actual and l­ iterary landscapes. The presence of trees in a conversation allows the speaker to gesture outwards to the concerns of ‘improvement’, aesthetics, and agriculture. Whilst critics may limit these authors within the parameters of their writing and experience, it is this notional and physical boundary of the tree that encourages them to discuss wider socio-political concerns. Austen does not make broad-sweeping statements about the picturesque, enclosures, or any kind of improvement, and this is because any opinion on these topics should not simply be seen in terms of a set of binary oppositions, they are complicated and wholly interconnected ideas. The manifestation of trees in Austen’s work, however, becomes a system for this writer to explore, rather than comment explicitly upon these issues. The following discussion will consider the more physical presence of tree space(s) in these novels, as a means to illustrate how the conception of landscape and its boundaries becomes another way to scrutinise and gesture towards the study of ‘improvement’ through silvicultural means. To take a later nineteenth-century example from Anthony Trollope’s ­parliamentary novel, The Prime Minister (1876) as a starting point, trees on an estate can become politicised markers on a societal level, big and small. At Plantagenet Palliser’s inherited ducal estate at Gatherum, the protagonist and a fellow politician make their way nearly a mile across the park [and] before Sir Orlando could bring about an opportunity for uttering his word. At last he did it somewhat abruptly. “I think upon the whole we did pretty well last session,” he said standing still under an old oak-tree. (Trollope, 1995: p. 174) The old oak tree becomes a marker of distance across the extent of Plantagenet’s estate and therefore his social power (at a mile in, they still have not met the boundary) but it also is a signifier for a political conversation to begin under its branches. Nevertheless, Plantagenet cuts Orlando short, ‘“I will think it over”, said the Duke. “You see that oak. That is the largest tree we have here at Gatherum, and I doubt whether there be a larger one in this part of England”’. The Duke stops the conversation on suffrage, using the oak, its size, and age, as a means to do so; it is a reminder of his superiority

Arboreal boundaries  83 in social and political terms, even within the confines of an estate (1995: p. 175). It is the physical tree that encourages and stifles political conversation in this social context; the tree may be distant from the house itself, and yet it is still within the parameters of the Duke’s domain. It is a symbol of freedom and containment that can be read and utilised in a number of ways. In Austen’s earlier writings, trees and tree spaces can similarly motion to social and political concerns beyond or within their physical span, but they are not as fixed in conceptual or actual terms as may first appear. For Austen, trees create a form of physical and imaginative agency. Take the following passage from Emma for instance: [The members of Highbury] insensibly followed one another to the ­delicious shade of a broad short avenue of limes, which stretching ­beyond the garden at an equal distance from the river, seemed the fi ­ nish of the pleasure grounds […] it was in itself a charming walk, and the view which closed it extremely pretty […] well clothed with wood […] It was a sweet view—sweet to the eye and the mind. English verdure, ­English culture, English comfort, seen under a sun bright, without ­being oppressive. (Austen, 2013a: pp. 390–391) On describing the communal visit to Donwell Abbey, the narrator partakes in a Gilpinesque critique of the avenue of lime-trees, piecing together a ­description of landscape that is ‘well clothed with wood’ and ‘sweet to the eye and mind’. Nevertheless, the narrator values this ‘sweet view’ in terms of the ‘English verdure, English culture and English comfort’ that it engages with aesthetically and imaginatively. This phrasing engages with the silvan rhetoric typical of Evelyn’s discourse; the repetition of ‘English’ signals that this ‘verdure’ is important on a cultural and countrywide basis. Fiona Stafford suggests that the ‘celebratory tone’ in the description of this rural environment ‘owed something to the national sense of relief at Napoleon’s defeat and the banishment of longstanding fears about a French invasion, but it also reflects Jane Austen’s deep gratitude for the quiet countryside’ (Stafford, 2008: p. 89). The ‘riches of a rural environment’ and how they are laid out, are to be valued for their own sake and read as a significant register for the concerns of the state (2008: p. 89). Moreover, it is the ‘verdure’, and the ‘delicious shade’ of the lime walk specifically which the members of Highbury use to navigate and explore the extent of Donwell’s physical bounds. Knightley’s estate and his variety of specimens are of aesthetic and arboreal importance on a communal level; they are ‘sweet’ for both the ‘eye and mind’ because the cultivation and layout of these spaces also makes them significant in national terms. In dealing with the values, politics, and aesthetics of landownership, it is inevitable that the silvicultural dialogue will come into contact with issues of social class and access. Knightley is one of the author’s most generous

84  Arboreal boundaries and socially aware heroes within his community, and yet, it must be noted that we are still dealing with a community of characters of and/or from a certain class in society. Whilst, for instance, Miss Bates is living in ‘Poverty’ and Harriet Smith has “no settled provision at all”, they are included within (and supported by) this rather privileged set of persons; they have no real social mobility, and yet they are not destitute or homeless (Austen, 2013a: pp. 91, 64). But does this mean that Austen’s novels should be disassociated from the ­socio-political concerns of enclosure, if this writing does not give voice, place, or agency to those living on the fringes of society? I would put forward that the answer to this question can be found not just in representations of character, but also in Austen’s treatment of physical and notional boundaries in her fiction. In critical terms, there is some agreement that Austen’s choice of location ­determines the issues she engages with. Raymond Williams’s well-known perspective characterises this trend; despite the fact that these novels ‘­remind’ us of the two types of improvement, Williams believes that Austen, ‘from inside the houses can never see [the effects of improvement upon class] for all the intricacy of her social description’ (1973: pp. 165, 167). Williams is of the opinion that Austen does not comment explicitly on issues from ‘the other side of the park wall’ (1973: p. 161). However, if Austen is concerned with the ‘inside’ of these estates, she engages with a bordered space that b ­ ecomes permeated with the very concerns it physically delineates. ­Austen is involved with the ‘outside’ at least indirectly, with the concerns that ­inhabit the bordered space on the periphery: landscape aesthetics and the effects of enclosure. Conversely, whilst Gilpin’s picturesque writings are well known for being associated with the rugged rather than polished aspects of nature, he mediates the limits of this rough and varied nature, often crossing the boundary between the wilderness and the park wall. On his tours, Gilpin repeatedly comes across the enclosed and ‘improved’ estates that are part of the foundation of the changing landscape of the ‘picturesque’ England that he was commenting upon at this time. From his initial writings on the gardens at Stowe to the estates that are part of the New Forest in Forest Scenery, ­critics have seemed to overlook the fact that these enclosed spaces unavoidably make up a vast amount of the landscape that Gilpin comments on. For ­example, on coming to ‘Kings-House’ at Lyndhurst in the New Forest ­Gilpin notes, [behind King’s-House] lies a pleasant sloping field, containing about six or seven acres, which is planted round with shrubs […] and secured from cattle by a railed fence. I mention this mode of inclosure only because I have often thought it a very good one. (Gilpin, 1794, 2:216) Gilpin’s picturesque observations unavoidably encounter the boundary as a form of space to be scrutinised. What these writers both have in common

Arboreal boundaries  85 is that their writings frequently negotiate the park wall or railed fence of an estate, very often a boundary lined with the picturesque object of the tree. Through close placement, the arboreal boundary can become representative of the solid park wall or railed fence, an obstacle synonymous with the distinct confines of enclosed land. Alternatively, the organic form of the tree at that barrier can create the visual appearance and notional effect of a somewhat blurred partition to the outside world. Either perspective is reliant upon the attitude and placement of the observer in question, and both are covered in subsequent textual examples. However, in both instances and through the associative potential of this space, the arboreal boundary ­signals towards the worlds beyond its (liminal or fixed) threshold. Trees as boundary markers Della Hooke notes that in examining the history of landscape through historical land documents, ‘the oak is often met as a boundary landmark’ because it is ‘linked to ancestral symbolism and perceptions of permanence’ (Hooke, 2010: p. 193). More generally, she notes that ‘the function of trees as boundary landmarks is frequently indicated’ in its ‘association with landownership’ (2010: p. 196). Trees have always been valued because they indicate the confines of an estate physically and aesthetically; they provide a visual marker to demarcate the borders and extent of a landowner’s domain. However, the margins and borders of land that these trees marked out were shifting continually. Furthermore, this change was beyond the context and period of Austen’s lifetime; though enclosures were most prevalent in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries due to the parliamentary enclosure acts, enclosures had been changing the topography of England since the sixteenth century. Maggie Lane suggests that if ‘a person from the preceding century had been able to revisit England in Jane Austen’s time’ the most notable change in the environment would be ‘this fundamental reworking and recolouring of the very fabric of the landscape, whereby England became a lush green patchwork’; Lane makes the case that in the course of a century, enclosures changed the state of the terrain completely (Lane, 1995: p. 20). However, the historian Briony McDonagh outlines how the process of land enclosure was a much more long-standing process (McDonagh, 2013: pp. 32–56). The shape of the land and the patches of green that make up the terrain have been mutating since before Gilpin’s Forest Scenery, and before Evelyn even wrote his treatises on arboreal improvement. Nevertheless, in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the parliamentary enclosures and the picturesque had a significant and ­comparative impact upon the conceptualisation of space and boundaries. Take, for ­example, Rachel Crawford’s opinion that ‘parliamentary ­enclosures became the epicentre of shifting national attitudes towards ­containment’ (Crawford, 2002: p. 4).

86  Arboreal boundaries Arguably, the parliamentary enclosures had a centrifugal effect, branching out to the mind-set of the nation, reinventing the way space was legally and imaginatively realised. This had a corresponding effect on the visualisation of the landscape: ‘the unimpeded view […] captures the sense of open fields radiating outward from human habitation, while ironically securing a new order of privately controlled and cultivated gardens’ (2002: p. 14). Landscape was at once legally contained and visually unhindered. This simultaneously bears a resemblance to Thomas Hothem’s reasoning behind the popularity of the picturesque at this time, as it allowed people to not only ‘imagine space in their increasingly confined surroundings’, but also to ‘understand and transform their own psychically charged ­environments’ (Hothem, 2010: p. 51). Political and picturesque advancements mutually complemented the aims of one another in this mediation of space. They physically contained space within a framework, whilst paradoxically ­providing the means for an individual to cultivate the limitations on the landscape that encompasses them. The arboreal boundary around a landed estate can suggest ‘permanence’, but at the same time its only true fixity was in the fact that it could be shifted physically or notionally, at the whim of the spectator and landowner. There is a discrepancy between viewing these arboreal spaces as indicative of ­i mmutability (a site that records the passing history of generations) and ­perceiving a space that was shaped by the surrounding historical events and processes. For Austen, Gilpin, and Evelyn, trees were objects imbued with memory and historical meaning. Their presence on an estate at once added to the pride of the owner and nation, contributed towards the aesthetic value, and could serve to contain and privatise one’s land from the wilderness beyond the park wall. However, the movement of the associated discourses surrounding the figure of the tree means that the arboreal boundary becomes a visual and notional form of shorthand, a symbol that gestures out at the world and culture beyond (and within) the park wall or railed fence. This section will explore how the arboreal boundary appears (and is discussed) in Gilpin’s and Austen’s writings in a number of guises; likewise, I will explore how this physical and notional boundary serves as a nexus where various kinds of improvement intersect and engage with one another. In Mansfield Park, Maria Bertram proudly locates the avenue at Sotherton for Mary Crawford: “Yes, it is exactly behind the house; begins at a little distance, and ­ascends for half a mile to the extremity of the grounds. You may see something of it here—something of the more distant trees. It is oak entirely.” (Austen, 2013b: p. 97) Maria Bertram’s ‘flutter’ of vanity does not simply indicate the value placed upon these trees, but also indicates Austen’s accuracy of detail in

Arboreal boundaries  87 the selection of the oak tree (2013b: p. 97). In discussing the composition of an English landscape, Gilpin argues that ‘the oak is the noblest ornament of a foreground, spreading from side to side, its torturous branches […] In a distance also it appears to equal advantage forming itself into beautiful clumps’ (Gilpin, 1786, 1:8–9). Therefore, the oak tree is a picturesque object that ­contributes towards the ‘rich distance’ of the landscape. Trees p ­ hysically ­enclose Rushworth’s land, and imaginatively direct the eye to acknowledge the extremities of the borders of Sotherton, forcing the spectator to recognise the importance of the estate and consequently the class and location of its occupants also. This is not an isolated case: in Pride and Prejudice, it is made clear how ‘trees gave the eye power to wander’ and ‘with a triumphant smile [Elizabeth and the Gardiners] were told [the circumference of the estate] was ten miles round’ (Austen, 2013c: p. 280). In giving the ‘eye power to wander’, trees challenge the perception of a boundary. The spectator at once cultivates freedom of space in being allowed to ‘wander’ and is limited to the space that these trees encircle, visually enabling the ­i mplementation of the political and picturesque frameworks. The further the eye has to wander in terms of spatial distance signifies the ‘power’ that the landowner has to cultivate these boundaries . Gilpin’s observations on the New Forest explore both sides of the ­arboreal boundary. In fact, the premise for Forest Scenery resides in ­Gilpin ­challenging his own conception of these boundaries. Gilpin opens this study by addressing the landowner Colonel Mitford, the man who gave him a living: [when] your friendship fixed me […] within the precincts of the New-­ Forest, I had little intention of wandering farther among its scenes, than the bounds of my own parish; or of amusing myself any more with ­writing on picturesque subjects. But one scene drew me on to another, till at length I traversed the whole forest. (Gilpin, 1794, 1:i) Gilpin goes beyond the confines of his own parish and in being faced with these boundaries, he finds himself compelled to contemplate ‘picturesque subjects’. Whilst Gilpin imaginatively cultivates the arboreal scenery that surrounds him for his own purposes, there is still the continuing sense that ‘beyond the boundaries of [his own] parish’, he comes into contact not with wilderness, but is faced with the contemplation of more boundaries: From clumps we naturally proceed to parkland scenery, which is generally composed of combinations of clumps, interspersed with lawns. When it consists of large districts of wood, it rather takes the name of forest scenery. The park, which is a species of landscape little known, except in England, is one of the noblest appendages of a great house […]

88  Arboreal boundaries

Figure 2.3  Illustration of Clumps of Trees. William Gilpin. (1791) Remarks on Forest Scenery and Other Woodland Views (Relative Chiefly to Picturesque Beauty) Illustrated by the Scenes of New-Forest in Hampshire (2 vols). London: R. Blamire, Vol. 1, p. 179.  By courtesy of The University of Liverpool Library, SPEC Y79.3.552  v.1. 

Arboreal boundaries  89 A great house, in a course of years, naturally acquires space around it. A park therefore is the natural appendage of an ancient mansion. (1794, 1:189) Once again, there appears to be a natural movement between associated tree-oriented subjects in Gilpin’s writing. Nevertheless, in the confines of his own arboreal distinctions, his discussion of ‘clumps’ inevitably leads him back to the enclosed space of the estate or ‘parkland scenery’. Trees form an arboreal boundary around an enclosed space as a ‘noble appendage’ to signify the extent of the parkland. However, Gilpin views the further appropriation of space around a ‘great house’ through enclosure and the redefinition of its boundaries, as something ‘naturally’ acquired. Gilpin seemingly overlooks any explicit reference to enclosure, but what this excerpt does highlight is that enclosure was an ongoing presence, as boundaries were continually changing (even established boundaries), radiating outwards or inwards with the progression of time and the acquisition of more land. Whilst this may seem contradictory, this shifting of boundaries can be seen at work in Austen’s writing. In Mansfield Park, Rushworth ­contemplates redefining the arboreal boundaries of Sotherton in light of the successful changes on a friend’s estate: “There have been two or three fine old trees cut down, that grew too near the house, and it opens the prospect amazingly, which makes me think that Repton would certainly have the avenue at ­Sotherton down” (Austen, 2013b: p. 65). Maria Bertram may proudly point out the extent of the avenue, but Rushworth wants to pull these “fine trees” down to “open the prospect” as a means to improve the aesthetics of the estate. Rushworth undoubtedly intends these changes as a way of m ­ aking Sotherton more picturesque, rather than a way of literally furthering the bounds of his estate: it is an imaginative rather than physical change. ­However, as Ann Bermingham argues, the features of the picturesque, one of which being ‘the distancing of the spectator from the picturesque object’, suggest that the ‘picturesque endorsed the results of agricultural industrialisation’ ­(Bermingham, 1987: p. 75). The picturesque visually re-enacts and reaffirms the process of enclosure. From inside the boundary of the estate, changes for picturesque effect can create the impact of a larger space notionally, even though the legal boundary of land may be fixed. This deceives the eye into perceiving a larger piece of enclosed land, but also reinforces the importance of the boundary in sustaining an estate’s grandeur. In opening the ‘prospect’ of the estate, in eradicating the trees that are ‘too near the house’, Rushworth distances himself from the objects that denote the limits of his domain. In Sense and Sensibility, picturesque alterations and the redefinition of boundaries through enclosure simultaneously signal John Dashwood’s ­inheritance of Norland, and the redistribution of boundaries on the estate. At once, the “old walnut trees are all to come down” to make it “exceedingly pretty” and to open the prospect for Fanny’s greenhouse (Austen, 2013d: p. 257). Additionally, John Dashwood declares that “the inclosure of Norland common, now carrying on, is a most serious drain. And then I have made a little purchase within this half year […]

90  Arboreal boundaries the land was so desirable for me in every respect, so immediately joining my own property that I felt it my duty to buy it.” (2013d: pp. 255–256) Ongoing enclosures may pull down old trees and redefine ancient boundaries, but picturesque aesthetics and the comprehension of spatial distance once again affirm the presence of the boundary encircling an estate. These two types of ‘improvement’ are coeval, individually maintaining the framework of the other. Picturesque aesthetics maintain enclosure and what enclosure represents, and enclosures maintain the continuance of picturesque aesthetics. Enclosures and the picturesque may not be disparate concerns after all, but whilst they can be viewed as interconnected, the boundary as a space becomes increasingly problematic in light of this relationship. Austen’s fiction demonstrates an awareness of the estate’s margin as a liminal place with a multiplicity of meanings and associated spaces. The arboreal boundary and surfaces that mark out the confines of an estate are integral to the concepts of prospect and refuge to the individuals on either side of that boundary. In The Experience of Landscape, aesthetic geographer Jay Appleton considers these terms under ‘Prospect-refuge theory’, the idea that in a landscape ‘the ability to see without being seen is an intermediate step in the satisfaction of many [biological] needs, the capacity of an environment to ensure the achievement of this becomes a more immediate source of aesthetic satisfaction’ (Appleton, 1986: p. 73). Appleton presents the idea that for humans, a prospect is aesthetically appealing if it offers a combination of prospects (a viewpoint and open space to ‘hunt’) and refuges (a closed, safe space to hide). He argues that these are not opposing ideas, but various physical and symbolic components of an artificial or wild landscape work together to ‘provide collectively these two kinds of opportunity’, and this is how, and possibly why, we judge landscape combinations in aesthetic terms (1986: p. 74). Once again, the collation of landscape components (including trees) ­allows for a kind of interconnected dynamism; in this case, the assemblage of a scene plays to our more animal instincts, and enables our conscious and subconscious navigation of that space. Trees can be literal and symbolic forms of cover, they can serve to open out a prospect, and highlight distances and horizons to the eye of the ­spectator. Appleton highlights the centrality of these objects through the ‘Edge-of-­thewood’ phenomenon in art: [pictures] of this kind are divided into two contrasting parts […] in which the open view on one side is balanced by the woodland on the other. The woodland itself is usually depicted within an unenclosed, penetrable edge and often a path, or paths, leading invitingly into the trees. (1986: p. 135)

Arboreal boundaries  91 The open prospect on one side is balanced by the fuzzy boundary of woodland that offers refuge, but also covered movement within that arboreal ­environment; therefore, there is not a distinct visual opposition here, but a symbolic balance between open and closed spaces to view and value. In Prospect and Refuge in the Landscape of Jane Austen, Barbara Britton Wenner engages with Appleton’s ideas; Wenner uses the ‘Edge-of-the-wood’ phenomenon as a framework for discussing how the female characters in Austen’s novels negotiate any kind of liminal environment or ‘“zones of safety”’ (Wenner, 2016: p. 9). She uses ‘moments such as hiding in the hedgerow or encountering the sea’ to examine how ‘the heroines […] learn what is beneficial to them’, and how these places ‘provide ways for women to control their lives’, and ‘find ways to both transgress and transform the landscape’ (2016: p. 9). These sensory thresholds provide some agency for female ­characters to make decisions in their own socially restricted lives. This chapter narrows and builds on this discourse further, in focusing strictly on the arboreal boundary as an ‘Edge-of-the-wood’ phenomenon to be perceived notionally and navigated physically by all characters. It considers how the associated ideas of ‘prospect’ and ‘refuge’, and ‘open’ and ‘closed’ spaces, feed into the intersecting concerns of ‘improvement’, and in turn, what this means for the manifestation and navigation of the arboreal boundary in narrative terms. To investigate this, first, I will return to the avenue at Sotherton in Mansfield Park, and the variety of interpretations that can be taken from the manipulation of physical and imaginative spatial distance on Rushworth’s estate. Open and (en)closed spaces: trees and the borders of perception In the scene that takes the community at Mansfield to Sotherton, instead of simply viewing the borders of the estate as Rushworth desires, the majority of characters physically take themselves to the estate boundaries. Fanny Price looks in vain for Edmund and Miss Crawford, only to find that, ‘they had been […] into the very avenue that Fanny had been hoping the whole morning to reach at last, and had been sitting down under one of the trees. This was their history’ (Austen, 2013b: p. 120). Similarly, in a discussion of her ‘prospects’ at Sotherton, Maria Bertram argues that the objects that open up the prospect of the estate (i.e. the ha-ha) “give [her] a feeling of restraint and hardship” (2013b: pp. 115–116). As such, she uses the boundaries of the estate to escape her prospective husband with Henry Crawford: ‘[by] taking a circuitous route, and, as it appeared to [Fanny], a very unreasonable direction to the knoll, they were beyond her eye’ (2013b: p. 117). Maria takes a ‘circuitous route’ into the arboreal confines of Rushworth’s estate to escape the man himself. Though it never actually comes to pass, it is the far-reaching scene that Rushworth proposes to create that will ensnare or ‘restrain’ Maria, as she will be ‘literally’ and ‘figuratively’ confined at Sotherton.

92  Arboreal boundaries In this scene all the characters seem to flee the idea of an open prospect. In fact, it is the promise of escape beyond the exposed grounds that the ­characters in Mansfield Park desire, to reach the ‘wilderness immediately adjoining’ Rushworth’s estate, a ‘nice little wood’ of ‘natural beauty’ c­ ompared to the artificiality of improvements (Austen, 2013b: pp. 105–107). Comparably, in Pride and Prejudice, Lady Catherine uses the “prettyish kind of a little wilderness on one side of [the Bennet’s] lawn” that allows her to have a private conversation with Elizabeth, and it is then revealed by the narrator that this ‘wilderness’ takes the form of a ‘copse’ or a thicket of trees (Austen, 2013c: p. 391). This arboreal site is acceptable because the ‘wilderness’ is suggestive of a kind of liberty, but it is still adjacent to the cultivated safety and open prospect of the lawn. Whereas in Mansfield Park, the narrator reveals a level of scepticism concerning this ‘wilderness’, as it ‘was a planted wood of about two acres, and though chiefly of larch and laurel, and beech cut down, and though laid out with too much regularity, was darkness and shade’ (Austen, 2013b: pp. 106–107). This is not the ‘wilderness’ or the escape from the enclosed estate that the darkness and shade of the boundary promised. This therefore forces the question of what the purpose of the boundary is, if it functions merely as an aesthetic illusion for the observer within its confines. The manifestation of the ‘wilderness’ on Rushworth’s land suggests that the freedom this set of characters aspires to might only be briefly available to them, it is a kind of contained freedom not actually possible without the park wall or railed fence in the first place. However, it is necessary that the actual park wall is hidden by these trees from the inside of the estate, as Appleton suggests, a ‘woodland surrounded by a wall or fence is less satisfying than one which is open to the adjacent sward, because the impediment hazard frustrates the concept of the refuge’ (Appleton, 1986: p. 105). The eye should perceive a ‘frayed’ arboreal edge that can be escaped into from the open prospect, though, the park wall viewed from the outside still serves as a necessary ‘impediment hazard’ to anything beyond the private estate (1986: p. 105). The arboreal boundary provides a temporary refuge from the open prospect, but in this manifestation, it can also offer a kind of protection from the actual concerns and/or any individuals beyond its parameter, it is at once open and closed to those within its confines. The proximity of the park allows these characters to escape into the ‘wilderness’ represented by the arboreal boundary without fear of transgressing beyond the privileged (physical and social) safety of the park’s border. Whilst Gilpin encounters the borders of enclosed estates, he does not ­favour the open prospect in his picturesque writings; ‘open’ country is ­‘unpleasing’ and ‘seldom makes a picturesque appearance’ (Gilpin, 1794, 1:171, 211). Furthermore, as Gilpin’s writings indicate, he prefers a hazy or shaded boundary; with the ‘decaying’ of light the ‘imagination is left to explore’, the picturesque eye could recreate or imaginatively see beyond this shade and create a view to suit their own purposes (Gilpin, 1786, 2:215). Like the ‘frayed’ edge of the wood, this ‘hazy medium’ can improve ‘distant

Arboreal boundaries  93 woods’ and ‘discordant forms’ allowing for the scene to be ‘melted together in harmony’ (Gilpin, 1794, 1:234). In Sense and Sensibility, within a discussion of a picturesque landscape with Marianne, Edward Ferrars alludes to the technique: “I shall offend you by my ignorance if we come to particulars […] I shall call […] distant objects out of sight, which ought only to be ­indistinct through the soft medium of a hazy atmosphere” (Austen, 2013d: p. 112). Much like Appleton’s theory of ‘prospect’ and ‘refuge’ around the ‘edge’ of woodland, for Gilpin there was to be no solid boundary to a ­picturesque scene, but the landscape was to fade away and take the picturesque imagination with it. This dynamic space (wherever the artificial and ‘natural’ space begins) allows for the imaginative composition of landscape aesthetics and the implementation of narratives. This is not to say that Gilpin did not go beyond the boundaries of enclosed space. In Forest Scenery, on a visit to ‘the seat of Colonel Mitford, among the woods of Exbury’, he explores the arboreal confines of this estate in question (Gilpin, 1794, 2:180). In ‘not finding Colonel Mitford at home’, Gilpin ‘took a ramble into his woods’ (2:180). In this ramble Gilpin finds ‘a lonely cottage’ in a ‘sheltered glade’ and goes on to explain this situation in the boundaries of Mitford’s estate: At the door stood two or three squalid children with eager, famished countenances staring through matted hair. […] By degrees a scene of misery opened […] [we] had not observed, when we entered, what now struck us, a man sitting in a corner of the hovel, with his arms folded, and a look of dejection, as if lost in despair. (1794, 2:180–181) Whilst critics argue that Gilpin avoids any discussion of enclosure, I would certainly argue that here Gilpin explicitly records the effects of it. Despite the fact that his ‘picturesque’ motives may be questionable in aestheticising poverty, at the same time there is undoubtedly a level of sympathy here in light of the ‘misery and horror of such a house’ (2:181). However, there is no suggestion that Gilpin tries or even wishes to intervene. Instead, this episode becomes an anecdote: ‘on relating [the] adventure at supper, we were informed that the man […] was one of the most hardened, mischevious [sic] fellows in the country—that he had been detected in sheep stealing’ (2:182). Undoubtedly, Gilpin engages self-consciously in the discourse of sympathy and sentimentality typical in the eighteenth century here, but there is an unsettling sense, to modern sensibilities at least, that Gilpin qualifies his own lack of action with the criminality of the man in question. Gilpin does not see the criminal action of ‘sheep stealing’ to be the result of enclosures. Rather than seeing this man as a victim of circumstances, he places the blame with the man himself: ‘[through] such strange fatality do mankind become themselves the ministers of those distresses which providence would never have inflicted upon them’ (2:182). However, before Gilpin can

94  Arboreal boundaries be judged too harshly here, it is necessary to point out that this anecdote is discussed at ‘supper’ with his friend, patron, and the landowner in question; formal circumstances restrict any other perspective on what is happening at the boundaries of this estate. There is no doubt that Gilpin is aware of what is happening on the parameter, yet, to what extent the inclusion of this anecdote engages or implies any criticism of the effects of enclosure is something that cannot be ascertained. In contrast to the aesthetic and ­critical freedom that untamed nature provides for Gilpin, the narratives that happen in close proximity to the enclosed boundaries of the estate become restricted, ­c ensored, and ‘improved’. Contrariwise to Gilpin, Austen’s composition of aesthetics is limited by the choice and style of narrative focus, and as Williams would argue, by the limits of the ‘park wall’. On Catherine Morland’s visit to Northanger Abbey, she notices that it is surrounded by walls that are ‘countless in number’, but also ‘shut off, by knolls of old trees, or luxuriant plantations, and the steep woody hills rising behind’ (Austen, 2006b: p. 182). At Northanger Abbey, the narrator relates a veneration for antiquity and improvement on this estate. Moreover, there is a tension, rather than a balance, between Northanger Abbey as a claustrophobic enclosed estate or an open prospect. Catherine notes that the estate is ‘more than double the extent of all Mr Allen’s’, but it is still ‘shut off’ (2006b: p. 182). There is a level of Gothic confinement here, like the landscape that is ‘encumbered with trees’ and ‘masses of shade’ in The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794) that Austen parodies in Northanger Abbey (Radcliffe, 1980: p. 13). Catherine sees the environment as something akin to the novels she is seduced by, whereas the reader soon becomes aware that this claustrophobia is the result of General Tilney’s imperious control over everything he owns. Austen’s playful engagement with narrative and generic style here could concurrently demonstrate an awareness of the limitations of her own subject and locational matter. In the exaggeration of this enclosed state, the aesthetics of Northanger ­Abbey are confined and this has a direct impact on the amplification of ­Austen’s stylistic choices. Furthermore, unlike Gilpin’s writings, A ­ usten’s narrative is not censored by the people it portrays, and equally, any ­topographical limitations in her work do not limit the author’s engagement with the social and political concerns that govern such boundaries. Northanger Abbey is enclosed, but ‘a whole parish [seems] to be at work within the enclosure’ (Austen, 2006b: p. 182). Again, Austen’s choice of language is interesting: a ‘whole parish’ at once alludes to the sheer extent of land enclosed and the people required to run the estate, but also refers to the fact that as ‘whole parish[es]’ were very often enclosed by a landowner, this might not be far from the truth.6 This reference to enclosure is extended in response to the at once claustrophobic and vast estate: Catherine ‘could have raved at the hand which swept away the value of all the rest’ and mourns these ‘scenes so fallen’ (2006b: p. 189). However, these ‘scenes so fallen’ that Catherine mourns, alludes to parts of the ‘decaying’ architecture on the

Arboreal boundaries  95 estate that are replaced by ‘new’ buildings (2006b: p. 189). Austen’s naïve heroine is very much concerned with what is happening inside the ‘park wall’. However, in the careful choice of language and description, it seems as though Austen’s narrator—and therefore, the author herself—is trying to say something more in this exploration of Northanger’s boundaries. This desire is apparent on a number of occasions throughout A ­ usten’s oeuvre. In Emma, Austen makes her most pronounced comment on ­enclosure in the scene between Harriet and the ‘gipsies’ on the borders of Highbury: Miss Smith, and Miss Bickerton […] [had taken] the Richmond road, which […] had led them into alarm.—About half a mile beyond ­Highbury, making a sudden turn, and deeply shaded by elms on each side, it became for a considerable stretch very retired; and when the young ladies had advanced some way into it, they had suddenly p ­ erceived at a small distance before them, on a broader patch of greensward by the side, a party of gipsies. (Austen, 2013a: p. 360) In response to this scene, Helena Kelly states, ‘[what] has caused this ­desperation? The answer, I suggest, is obvious. It is enclosure’ (Kelly, 2010, no pagination). Whilst this is certainly true, an analysis of the arboreal border of the ‘shaded elms’ can take this revelation a little further. Like Gilpin’s preference for the hazy boundary, in the ‘shade’ of the ‘frayed’ boundary demarcated by these trees, Austen places the reality of ‘scenes so fallen’; in this case, this space is a ‘refuge’ for these individuals, but also a more threatening space to Highburians. Like the cottage on the arboreal boundaries of Colonel Mitford’s estate, the choice to physically or imaginatively see beyond the ‘shaded elms’ lies in the eyes of the beholder. It is an active choice to see beyond the ‘park wall’ or in this case the boundaries of Highbury, a border that signifies the outward effects that emanate from the enclosed estate. This is literally the case in Austen’s early piece of juvenilia, Evelyn (1792); in travelling between two enclosed estates Mr Gower’s comically frightened state is described by Austen’s free-indirect narration: No house within a quarter of a mile, and a gloomy castle blackened by the deep shade of walnuts and pines, behind him.—He felt indeed almost distracted with his fears, and shutting his eyes till he arrived at the village to prevent his seeing either Gipsies or ghosts, he rode on a full gallop all the way. (Austen, 2006a: p. 240) Mr Gower shuts his eyes to avoid seeing what is happening in this uncontrolled space. It is his imagination that supplies him with the placement of ‘Gipsies’ and ‘ghosts’ in the ‘deep shade of walnuts and pines’. Furthermore,

96  Arboreal boundaries the coexistence of ‘Gipsies’ or ‘ghosts’, at once reduces the issues happening in this space by alluding to the reality and subsuming it within a reference to ‘ghosts’.7 Whilst Austen’s tone is comic, arguably the alignment of ‘Gipsies’ and ‘ghosts’ turns the reality into a fanciful tale of superstition, a narrative maintained by a spectator who chooses not to see beyond an enclosed boundary. Even when Austen goes beyond the borders of an estate or home, her description can be somewhat limited, but this can be read as an intentional choice. In the description of the Box-Hill excursion in Emma, when the characters go beyond the bounds of Highbury, there is little to no detail concerning the layout of this environment. This scene beyond the enclosed space(s) of Highbury is built around the bad behaviour and moods of the characters themselves: ‘during the whole two hours that were spent on the hill, there seems a principle of separation, between the other parties, or any cold collation, or any cheerful Mr Weston, to remove’ (Austen, 2013a: p. 399). There is only mention of the ‘hill’ as the characters traverse the scene, but no mention of the trees or landscape that this actual hill is named after. As Douglas Murray records, Box-Hill was a site of scientific engagement because of ‘the size of its box trees’, and it also had a more ‘louche reputation’, as a meeting place for illicit behaviour (Murray, 2015: pp. 963, 965).8 Murray suggests that Austen’s choice of this location serves as a vehicle for Emma’s display of bad behaviour; the freedom of this locale (outside of Highbury) is realised in the heroine’s cutting remarks towards Miss Bates. The trees here are not a form of ‘refuge’, they are not even mentioned, and this omission creates the impression of an ‘open’ prospect within the narrative instead. It is a choice on Austen’s part to omit any arboreal description of a locale that her contemporary readers would probably have been aware of; this could be the very reason why Austen omits the description in the first place, as these readers could recall the scene themselves. However, I would put forward that this omission is more than any descriptive laziness on the author’s part. It implicitly conveys and exaggerates the tension in the scene to the reader, as there is no physical manifestation or sense of refuge for this community of characters, as the arboreal boundary of Rushworth’s estate provides for his visitors in Mansfield Park, for example. Austen’s narratives are often situated within the parameters of an improved estate; subsequently, critics have read this locational focus as a lack of concern on the author’s part, and as an apparent disregard for any issues beyond this border. However, throughout Austen’s works her characters do go beyond the parameters of their estates and homes, but it is the location of the estate and the scrutiny of the boundary that allows the author (and her characters) to engage with the concerns that intersect there. However, this is not to say that the form of the arboreal boundary negates the impact of enclosures, or that characters use this space to break down the barriers cultivated for socio-political, aesthetic, and agricultural reasons. Furthermore, like the picturesque eye or the imagination of Mr Gower in Evelyn,

Arboreal boundaries  97 it is down to the reader’s perception to ‘see’ what is happening beyond the physical boundaries of these enclosures. In approaching the boundaries of Highbury, Harriet’s perception of what happens behind the ‘shaded elms’, and the narrative of the ‘gipsies’ causes her to faint (‘her spirits were quite overcome’ (Austen, 2013a: p. 361)). This ‘adventure’ in turn is repeated in Highbury, creating further hysteria and superstition as to what was ­happening on the borders of the community. Similarly, in Sense and Sensibility, Marianne’s walks at Cleveland lead her to ‘the most distant parts of [the grounds], where there was something more of wildness than in the rest, where the trees were the oldest, and the grass was the longest and wettest, had […] given ­Marianne a cold’ (Austen, 2013d: p. 346). Like Harriet, Marianne becomes ill through her encounter with the wildness of the boundary. Robert Clark argues that Austen was not unaware of enclosures that happened on the boundaries of these estates, but that she chooses to overlook them: What if Austen actually knew a lot about enclosures? […] What if the unseen scene outside the carriage window is a scene of enclosure? Does not Austen’s “internal and inclusive focus” seem to us rather different? Possibly not an ignorance but a deliberate averting of the gaze or willed amnesia? (Clark, 2004: p. 105) However, what Clark himself overlooks is that Austen is aware of this ‘averting of the gaze’ in her narratives and descriptions: Gower in Evelyn closes his eyes, and Marianne turns her head from the carriage window because ‘every tree brought some peculiar, some painful recollection’ (Austen, 2013d: p. 387). It is up to the reader to decipher what exactly these characters, and even Austen herself refuses to see explicitly. In acknowledging that Austen works within the ‘park wall’, it is necessary to notice that these spaces are very often ‘covered with […] trees’ like the limits of Delaford in Sense and Sensibility (2013d: p. 223). As the tradition of silvicultural literature indicates, it is important that the spectator or reader of the landscape reads the narratives of recent and historical past that are imbued upon and associated with these objects. Furthermore, as the writings of Evelyn, Gilpin, and ­Austen show, these can be narratives of mythic tales and folklore, or they can be read in terms of current contextual issues that engage with agricultural and aesthetic concerns, all of which contribute multiple layers of ‘memory’ or history to how landscape has been and is continually viewed. Austen does not turn her head from this tradition; indeed, she plays with an awareness of this in her fiction. However, it is down to the reader’s perception to ‘see’ what is happening beyond this space that she is supposedly limited by, the place where these ‘improvements’ converge: improvements that simultaneously maintain the stream of history and shape the aesthetics of the landscape, paradoxically looking backwards and forwards in a continual process.

98  Arboreal boundaries Austen, like her landscapes, needs to be read in the context of landscape history; to quote John Wiltshire: As works of art by definition, it was thought that [Austen’s novels] ­contained within themselves the knowledge necessary to our ­understanding. If pressed, this school of critics might suggest that the novels are like trees that certainly draw their life and sustenance from the ground in which they grow, and the atmosphere they inhabit but are qualitatively distinct from what surrounds them. They cannot be ‘explained’ by their context or reduced to items of history. (Wiltshire, 2006: p. 82) Wiltshire explores both sides of the critical divide in considering whether Austen’s novels should be read from a historicised perspective, or seen as self-sufficient entities in themselves. In this process, Wiltshire comes to the conclusion that ‘there can be no hard and fast answer: It depends’ ­( Wiltshire, 2006: p. 97). However, if, as Wiltshire suggests, these novels are ‘like trees that […] draw their life and sustenance from the ground in which they grow’, surely they must be considered in terms of the surrounding environment that provides this inspiration, and I use the term ‘environment’ here to mean both context and representation of physical space. A tree’s composition r­ eveals its aesthetic and historical value, or as Gilpin affirms, the ‘circumference’ of a tree signifies its ‘historical credit’ (Gilpin, 1794, 1:149). External forces influence internal structure: a tree, like a novel, is not simply ‘reduced’ to an item from ‘history’, it is a ‘historical document’ to be read within the context of its environs (Rackham, 1976: p. 179). However much conjecture or truth is involved in the process of reading a ‘historical document’, the tree or novel cannot be considered ‘qualitatively distinct’ from its landscape or context because it forms and is formed by changes in this environment. The novel, like a tree, can outlive spans of human existence and history; only through analysing these surrounding layers of memory and perception can the significance of the landscape or novel be understood. As this book suggests, this is the very essence of the silvicultural tradition that Austen engages with on a textual level; the value of Forest Scenery (and tree-writing, more generally) is to be found in its connection to arboreal ideas from the past and present, and its contribution to corresponding literary afterlives in the future. As the argument of this chapter puts forward, viewing the representation of trees in Austen’s work—however abstract this might seem—enables an understanding of authorial intentions for both form and context. Trees in Austen’s fiction cannot be contained to any one topic, they are associative by assemblage, in physical composition, and conceptual terms. Characters discuss and allude to a web of contemporary silvicultural discourse, and the description and navigation of these spaces are defined by contemporary and ongoing tree-related concerns. In scrutinising

Arboreal boundaries  99 the manifestation of trees in dialogue and narration, the reader can trace Austen’s engagement with concerns beyond the ‘park wall’, and beyond the socio-­political limitations that are often placed on these writings. It is this physical and social limitation, as manifested at the arboreal boundary, through which Austen holds a discourse with the issues and impacts of ­‘improvement’. In using the figure of the tree to trace these connections and conversations, and considering the collation of arboreal ideas alongside one another, the reader becomes aware of a dynamism in these environments and writings which previous critics would not necessarily attribute to her work. Austen is a silvicultural novelist, and in scrutinising her conception and perspectives of trees, the reader can see not just the wood for the trees, but the relevance of the arboreal boundary and the ‘Edge-of-the-wood’, and what these spaces gesture out towards in her fiction.

Notes 1 On Friday 21st November 1800, two weeks after the arboreal destruction at ­Steventon, Austen wrote another letter to her sister, a letter concerning the restoration of trees into the garden: A new plan has been suggested concerning the plantation of the new inclosure on the right hand side of the Elm Walk—the doubt is whether it would be better to make a little orchard of it, by planting apples, pears & cherries, or whether it should be larch, Mountain-ash & acacia. (1997: p. 62) This letter demonstrates Austen’s knowledge of trees and their different varieties, but it also reflects a hesitation between planting a tree for purely aesthetic ­purposes or ‘whether it would be better’ to benefit from the production of fruit also. 2 Willoughby is, of course, the anti-hero of Sense and Sensibility, and Leigh is Austen’s mother’s maiden name. 3 Due to the locational focus of Austen’s novels, fruit-trees frequently inhabit the landed estates that she describes: the moor-park apricot in Mansfield Park and Colonel Brandon’s mulberry tree in Sense and Sensibility are two other examples. For Kathleen Fowler, ‘[at] the heart of Mansfield Park Jane Austen plants for us an emblem for the entire novel, the moor park apricot tree’ (Fowler, 1991: p. 28). Fowler argues that the symbolism of this tree relates to issues of transplantation of character in the novel, finding metaphorical reverberations of this motif throughout the novel. Comparably, Barchas uses the placing of the ­mulberry tree in Sense and Sensibility to link Austen’s spatial conception of Delaford with Say’s-Court, the residence of John Evelyn (Barchas, 2013: p. 154). 4 This passage was edited out of the later 1776 edition by Alexander Hunter. 5 Whilst there is evidence that there were cinematic precursors at the end of the eighteenth century, Phillip James de Loutherberg’s ‘Eidophusikon’ (1781) being an example of a moving spectacle of images, lights, smoke, and screens on a stage, for instance; here, I use ‘stop motion’ as an analogy in the more modern sense of this term. 6 See Katherine Kickel, ‘General Tilney’s Timely Approach to the Improvement of the Estate’; Kickel argues Austen refers to the employment of a ‘whole parish’ that is needed to keep the estate working to General Tilney’s demands (Kickel, 2008: p. 148).

100  Arboreal boundaries 7 In literature of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, gypsies are repeatedly represented as supernatural beings. In Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones (1749), the narrator reveals that in encountering gypsies, Tom comes into contact with ‘fairy-land’ (Fielding, 2008: p. 581). 8 John Evelyn refers to the ‘shady Recesses [sic], among the Box-trees’ where ­‘Ladies [and] Gentleman […] often resort’ in order to ‘divert themselves’ (Evelyn, 1776: p. 377). Meanwhile, in his Observations on the Western Parts (1798), Gilpin alludes to the trees to be found on this hill: ‘on which this beautiful plant flourishes in such profusion’ and that it ‘should be considered as making a part of the natural history of Britain’ (Gilpin, 1798b: p. 11).

References Anderson, Kathleen. (2018) ‘“Every day was adding to the verdure of the early trees”: Women, Trees, and the Relationship between Self and Other in Jane ­Austen’s ­Novels’, ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment, 25(1): pp. 80–94. Appleton, Jay. (1986) The Experience of Landscape. London: Wiley. Austen, Jane. (2013a) Emma. Edited by Richard Cronin and Dorothy McMillan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Austen, Jane. (2013b) Mansfield Park. Edited by John Wiltshire. Cambridge: ­Cambridge University Press. Austen, Jane. (2013c) Pride and Prejudice. Edited by Pat Rogers. Cambridge: ­Cambridge University Press. Austen, Jane. (2013d) Sense and Sensibility. Edited by Edward Copeland. ­Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Austen, Jane. (2006a) Juvenilia. Edited by Peter Sabor. Cambridge: Cambridge U­n iversity Press. Austen, Jane. (2006b) Northanger Abbey. Edited by Barbara M. Benedict and ­Deirdre Le Faye. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Austen, Jane. (2004) Persuasion. Edited by Linda Bree. Hertfordshire: Broadview. Austen, Jane. (1997) Jane Austen’s Letters. Edited by Deirdre Le Faye. 3rd ed. ­Oxford: Oxford University Press. Barchas, Janine. (2013) ‘“The Celebrated Mr Evelyn” of the Silva in Burney and Austen’, in History, Location, and Celebrity: Matters of Fact in Jane Austen. ­London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, pp. 127–165. Bennett, Jane. (2010) Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Bermingham, Ann. (1987) Landscape and Ideology: The English Rustic Tradition 1740–1860. London: Thames and Hudson. Clark, Robert. (2004) ‘Jane Austen and Enclosures’, in Gilroy, Amanda (ed.), Green and Pleasant Land: English Culture and the Romantic Countryside. Leuven: Peeters, pp. 105–124. Colbert, Benjamin. (2010) ‘Aesthetics of Enclosure: Agricultural Tourism and the Place of the Picturesque’, European Romantic Review, 13(1): pp. 23–34. Cowper, William. (1785) The Task, a Poem in Six Books by William Cowper, to Which Are Added by the Same Author, an Epistle to Joseph Hill, Esq. To Which Are Added, an Epistle and the History of John Gilpin. London: J. Johnson. Crawford, Rachel. (2002) Poetry, Enclosure, and the Vernacular Landscape, 1700– 1830. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Arboreal boundaries  101 Daniels, Stephen. (1988) ‘The Political Iconography of Woodland in Later G ­ eorgian England’, in Cosgrove, Denis and Daniels, Stephen (eds.), The Iconography of Landscape: Essays on the Symbolic Representation, Design and Use of Past ­E nvironments. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 43–82. Duckworth, Alistair. (1994) The Improvement of the Estate. London: The Johns Hopkins University Press. Easton, Celia. (2002) ‘Jane Austen and the Enclosure Movement’, Persuasions: ­Journal of the Jane Austen Society of North America, 24: pp. 71–89. Edgecombe, Rodney. (2001) ‘Change and Fixity in Sense and Sensibility’, SEL: Studies in English Literature, 1500–1900, 41(3): pp. 605–622. Evelyn, John. (1776) Silva: or, A Discourse of Forest-trees, and the Propagation of Timber in His Majesty’s Dominions. Edited by Alexander Hunter. York: J. Dodsley. Evelyn, John. (1729) Silva: or, A Discourse of Forest-trees, and the Propagation of Timber in His Majesty’s Dominions. London: J. Walthoe. Fielding, Henry. (2008) Tom Jones. Edited by Simon Stern. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Fowler, Kathleen. (1991) ‘Apricots, Raspberries, and Susan Price! Susan Price!: Mansfield Park and Maria Edgeworth’, Persuasions: Journal of the Jane Austen Society of North America, 13: pp. 28–32. Gilpin, William. (1798a) Moral Contrasts: or, the Power of Religion Exemplified ­u nder Different Characters. Lymington: J. B. Rutter. Gilpin, William. (1798b) Observations on the Western Parts of England, Relative Chiefly to Picturesque Beauty: To Which are Added a Few Remarks on the Picturesque Beauties of the Isle of Wight. Facsimile of 1st ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014. Gilpin, William. (1794) Remarks on Forest Scenery and Other Woodland Views ­(Relative Chiefly to Picturesque Beauty) Illustrated by the Scenes of New-Forest in Hampshire (2 vols). 2nd ed. London: R. Blamire. Gilpin, William. (1792) Three Essays on Picturesque Beauty; on Picturesque Travel; and on Sketching Landscape: To Which is Added a Poem, on Landscape Painting. Facsimile of 2nd ed. Farnborough: Gregg International. Gilpin, William. (1791) Remarks on Forest Scenery and Other Woodland Views ­(Relative Chiefly to Picturesque Beauty) Illustrated by the Scenes of New-Forest in Hampshire (2 vols). London: R. Blamire. Gilpin, William. (1786) Observations, Relative Chiefly to Picturesque Beauty, Made in the Year 1772, on Several Parts of England; Particularly the Mountains and Lakes of Cumberland and Westmoreland (2 vols). Facsimile of 1st ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013. Hooke, Della. (2010) ‘Trees of Wood-Pasture and “Ancient Countryside”’, in Trees in Anglo-Saxon England: Literature, Lore and Landscape. Suffolk: Boydell Press, pp. 191–221. Hothem, Thomas. (2010) ‘The Picturesque and the Production of Space: Suburban Ideology in Austen’, European Romantic Review, 13(1): pp. 49–62. Kelly, Helena. (2010) ‘Austen and Enclosures’, Persuasions: The Jane Austen Journal On-Line, 30(2). Available at: kelly.html (Accessed: 10 December 2014). Kickel, Katherine. (2008) ‘General Tilney’s Timely Approach to the Improvement of the Estate’, Nineteenth-Century Literature, 63(2): pp. 145–169. Lane, Maggie. (1995) Jane Austen’s England. London: Robert Hale.

102  Arboreal boundaries McDonagh, Briony. (2013) ‘Making and Breaking Property: Negotiating Enclosure and Common Rights in Sixteenth-Century England’, History Workshop Journal, 46: pp. 32–56. Murray, Douglas. (2015) ‘Donwell Abbey and Box Hill: Purity and Danger in Jane Austen’s Emma’, Review of English Studies, 66(277): pp. 954–970. Rackham, Oliver. (1976) Trees and Woodland in the British Landscape. London: J. M. Dent. Radcliffe, Ann. (1980) The Mysteries of Udolpho. Edited by Bonamy Dobreé. ­Oxford: Oxford University Press. Stafford, Fiona. (2008) Brief Lives: Jane Austen. London: Hesperus Press. Trollope, Anthony. (1995) The Prime Minister. Edited by David Skilton. London: Penguin. Wenner, Barbara Britton. (2016) Prospect and Refuge in the Landscape of Jane Austen. Abingdon: Routledge. Williams, Raymond. (1973) The Country and the City. London: Vintage, 2016. Wiltshire, John. (2006) ‘Exploring Mansfield Park: In the Footsteps of Fanny Price’, Persuasions: Journal of the Jane Austen Society of North America, 28: pp. 81–100.

3 The presence and absence of trees in the writings of Elizabeth Gaskell

In a letter to Mary Howitt in 1838, Elizabeth Gaskell discusses what she calls ‘a kind of Langue des Arbres’, a symbolic discourse in Cheshire folk tradition that associates tree specimens with the quality of a woman’s character (Gaskell, 1997: p. 30).1 She states that in some communities ‘one hangs up a bush or a branch of a tree at every one’s door; [and] these branches bear reference to the character of the principle [sic] female of the house’; and the choice of specimen is specific, so a ‘branch of birch signifies a pretty girl, an alder (or owler as they call it) a scold, an oak a good woman’, and respectively, ‘[if] sycamore or sawdust are placed at the door, they cast the worst imputation on a woman’s character’ (1997: pp. 30–31). This passage then finds its way into the second edition of William Howitt’s The Rural Life of England (1838);2 whilst this falls within the realms of plagiarism by modern standards, through this inter-textual engagement there is a continuation of silvicultural and antiquarian dialogues, an echo that leaves Gaskell in the role of an arboreal authority, albeit an unaccredited one. Through this ‘Langue des Arbres’, Gaskell demonstrates a localised and folkloric form of knowledge that diffuses into a wider exchange of tree-writing and conversation. Gaskell emphasises the importance of a broader tree-language in the environments of her novels, in which trees do not define the quality of male or female individuals, but create a space wherein characters can comprehend and negotiate the benefits and ills inherent in their surroundings. Steven King argues that in literature, characters often visit ‘woodland or sit under a tree canopy to help calm tempers, bring balance to a troubled mind, and cure headaches’; this is certainly true of Gaskell’s heroines as they frequently take refuge under trees, and particularly during times of turmoil (King, 2012: p. 240). In Ruth (1853), when the eponymous heroine is abandoned by Henry Bellingham, she ‘sat down on the sloping turf by the roots of an old hawthorn-tree’; and when he returns into her life on a coastal retreat, she ‘sank down behind’ an ‘ash-tree’ that was rooted in a rock (Gaskell, 2011: pp. 77, 246). In both of these instances, a tree offers physical shelter from the exposure of an open scene, but also offers sanctuary in emotionally exposing situations. The choice of specimens appears specific in these examples, but any symbolic ‘Langue des Arbres’ to be found here, or in

104  The presence and absence of trees

Figure 3.1  George du Maurier. (1866) ‘A CRISIS’, in Elizabeth Gaskell, Wives and Daughters. London: Smith, Elder. Photo courtesy of Project Gutenberg.

The presence and absence of trees  105 subsequent examples, is a matter of conjecture. Superstitions and folkloric connotations surrounding the dangerous or protective qualities of certain tree species are often localised and contradictory in nature. As ­Jason Marc Harris suggests in Folklore and the Fantastic in Nineteenth-­Century British Fiction, the ash tree is a ‘traditionally evil figure’ and is often identified as ‘demonic’; equally, the tree ‘has positive associations as well in British folklore (from healing to protection from snakes)’ (Harris, 2008: pp. 97–98). The same can be said of the hawthorn, which has both ­‘protecting’ and ‘harmful’ associative entries in Opie and Tatem’s Dictionary of Superstitions (Opie and Tatem, 2003). Gaskell may be drawing upon folklore and literary tradition;3 as this chapter shows, her work demonstrates a wide knowledge of silvicultural texts. However, viewing a tree as a protective space can be the product of various kinds of cultural and personalised associations, the formal shape of the overarching branches, and simply the coincidental placement of the tree at the time. Regardless of species-specific connotations, it is the gesture of seeking refuge under a tree (or trees) of any kind that Gaskell is concerned with in her fiction. In Wives and Daughters (1866) for example, a ‘weary’ Molly ­Gibson seeks ‘a great wide-spreading cedar tree’ when she is exhausted on her childhood visit to Cumnor Towers, and she seeks a set of ‘concealed evergreens’ in the Hamley family’s garden for ‘shelter’ and to mourn the passing of Mrs Hamley (Gaskell, 1996: p. 15) (Figure 3.1). Moreover, as the George du Maurier illustration above depicts, a tearful Molly finds an appropriate seat ‘surrounded by the drooping leaves of a weeping ash’ when her father tells her he will remarry (Gaskell, 1996: p. 113).4 Just as trees offer refuge and reflection for Jane Austen’s characters, for Gaskell, trees similarly offer a site of protection and privacy; and as in the instances described above, trees offer shelter at particular moments of physiological and psychological vulnerability. For Ruth and Molly, trees are curative sites that might allow them to recover from emotional distress. However consciously they are sought out as remedial forms by these characters, this repeated response in Gaskell’s work seems to be bound up with an acknowledgement that no other physical aspect of the natural world can offer the same kind of shelter. Without trees, a landscape can appear somewhat unremarkable to the eye of the observer. Moreover, arboreal scarcity is also a notable feature in itself across Gaskell’s oeuvre; in her first novel, Mary Barton (1848) for instance, there is a prominent ‘want of wood’ that characterises the opening description of Green Heys Fields on the outskirts of Manchester (Gaskell, 2008a: p. 3). Much more than a mere visual deficiency, for Gaskell the absence of trees can be disarming, as without them, landscape is unreadable. Take for example, the following passage from the narrator in Sylvia’s Lovers (1863): I have said that the country for miles all around was moorland; high above the level of the sea towered the purple crags, whose summits were crowned with greensward [and] grassy veins. […] And in the moorland

106  The presence and absence of trees hollows, as in these valleys, trees and underwood grew and flourished; so that, while on the bare swells of the high land you shivered at the waste desolation of the scenery, when you dropped into these wooded “bottoms” you were charmed with the nestling shelter which they gave. (Gaskell, 2013: pp. 6–7) The presence of trees in the ‘moorland hollows’ around Monkshaven creates a kind of ‘nestling shelter’ for the visitor in question, and yet on the ‘high land’ the stark absence of trees results in the ‘waste desolation of the scenery’. The lack of trees creates a sense of bleak emptiness, a kind of featurelessness in the formal layout of the scene; much more than this, the exposed absence evokes a physiological response in ‘you’ the reader as spectator, as it is ‘you [that] shivered’ when faced with this prospect. However, this arboreal worry is not just an issue for Gaskell’s narrator or reader. On visiting Charlotte Brontë at Haworth in 1853 for instance, the author notes that there were ‘dull-coloured rows of stone cottages […] hungry-looking fields, —stone fences everywhere, and trees nowhere’; to Gaskell’s eye, the Yorkshire village is marked by a notable lack of arboreal sites within the surrounding country (Gaskell, 2009: p. 438). Trees can provide visual variety, perspective, and restorative shelter in a landscape; and their deficiency is therefore a cause of concern for the author and spectator. Any arboreal absence is not simply unpleasing on an aesthetic level: it is physically disorientating and psychologically unsettling too. Frances Twinn suggests that there are three major landscape types in Gaskell’s work: the urban scene, rural and provincial environments, and the ‘wildscape’ (Twinn, 1999: pp. 14–15).5 This last one, the wildscape, characterises the scenery of Ruth, Sylvia’s Lovers, and The Life of Charlotte Brontë in particular, and is notably defined by its ‘treelessness’ (1999: p. 127). Certainly, a lack of trees means that there is nowhere for the spectator to focus the eye, and this deficiency could correspond with a kind of wild or rugged quality. This third category of landscape which is not specifically rural or urban is defined by an absence of trees, but what does this mean for the lack and/or abundance of the arboreal elsewhere in Gaskell’s fiction? This chapter makes the case that the presence and absence of trees and how these sites are framed in narrative and formal terms, reveals not simply a ‘Langue des Arbres’, but an awareness of nineteenth-century observations on medical geography and topography, the formal shaping of landscape, and its relationship to well-being. More specifically, Gaskell’s output demonstrates a consciousness of contemporary discussion surrounding the salubrity of silvicultural spaces in the wake of industrialisation and growing urbanisation. Though the methods of medical geography can be identified as far back as Hippocrates’s On Airs, Waters, and Places (c. 400 B.C.), the mid-nineteenth century saw what Meade and Earickson have referred to as ‘a paradigm change’ in how disease was perceived to occur (Meade and Earickson, 2000: p. 5). In the first half of the nineteenth century in particular, physicians read

The presence and absence of trees  107 the ecological layout of the land in order to understand the diffusive spread and association of endemic diseases. To ‘know the territory’, as Lloyd Stevenson records, physicians had ‘to know its prevailing winds, the vagaries of its climate, its high places and low places, its wet places and dry places, its crops and manufactures, its smuts and smells’ (Stevenson, 1965: p. 226). Reading and understanding the terrain equated to understanding the threat of the disease in question. A number of historians have identified that the term medical topography preceded medical geography, and Felix Driver states that in England, ‘the project of a general medical geography was perhaps less popular than the ‘medical topography’: the study of a particular locality—its geology, landforms, drainage, vegetation, climate, industry and customs—and the maladies with which it was associated’ (Driver, 1988: p. 278). Driver suggests that medical topography can be seen to have had a more localised focus than the broader geographical science. However, in viewing this field in retrospect, the differentiation of medical geography and medical topography is not always clear; especially as in many cases, it appears that the terms were used interchangeably to identify the correspondence between the layout of the land, its potential healthiness for inhabitants, and/or the diffusion of possible disease. Nevertheless, the term ‘medical topography’ became associated with a certain kind of travel writing, a form that encouraged recreational pursuits alongside the recommendations of health professionals. Doctor-prescribed ‘Change of Air’ regimens and the rise of health-related tourism saw an increase in popularity in the nineteenth century, and became a means to seek pleasure and recreation as much as to restore health. As Richard E. Morris states, travel for health and pleasure ‘were not categorical in the minds of most Victorian travellers; consequently, any activity from sea-bathing to pier-promenading could have been viewed as furnishing a health benefit and a pleasure benefit’; choice of location was bound up with the capacity for both of these elements (Morris, 2018: p. 62). Take for example, the title of Thomas Dudley Fosbroke’s and Dr. John Fosbroke’s combined text, A Picturesque and Topographical Account of Cheltenham, and Its Vicinity etc. To Which Are Added Contributions towards the Medical Topography, Including the Medical History of the Waters (1826). Though these are separate parts written by different persons, the medical topography and picturesque observations of the same locality are united as part of this single study, and this is suggestive of a productive confluence of ideas to be found in the close alignment. However, this inspires reflection upon how far visual appeal (or picturesqueness) in these circumstances related to salubrity of the environs in question. Whilst these modes were similarly concerned with reading the form(s) of environment generally, the outlooks of picturesque aesthetics and medical topography were not always aligned, and this can be seen in their mutual observations on tree spaces. Take the following passage from A. L. Wigan’s

108  The presence and absence of trees Brighton and its Three Climates; with Remarks on its Medical Topography, and Advice and Warnings to Invalids and Visitors (1843), for instance: A common objection to Brighton is, the absence of trees—a want more important elsewhere—since this town, being principally resorted to for the restoration of health, picturesque beauty is a matter of trifling ­i mportance. Foliage does not add to the salubrity of any place, and in excess is positively injurious. Many of the country seats of the gentry, so delightfully surrounded and embosomed in woods, are from that cause unhealthy. Independent of the interruption to the free circulation of air, which is so essential, the quantity of vegetable matter in a state of decomposition is sometimes productive of disease, more especially in spring and autumn. (Wigan, 1843: pp. 58–59) For Wigan, trees may be visually appealing to the picturesque eye, but they can also be ‘unhealthy’ in ‘excess’ through prevention of the ‘free circulation of air’. The ‘absence of trees’ for Wigan is more conducive to a healthy scene. Moreover, this passage draws attention to the complicated role of trees in relation to their visual appeal, and forces the question of how the formal appearance of these entities corresponds with their potential salubrity. As this chapter will explore, this is far from a straightforward relationship, and Gaskell’s mid-nineteenth-century fiction demonstrates an awareness of these contemporary and intersecting topographical discourses in their visual representation of arboreal space in the landscape. Criticism more broadly has identified polluted and unhealthy ecologies in Gaskell’s novels in order to examine the impact(s) upon their inhabitants, and through this, what the author is trying to say about contemporary public health in the cultural imagination;6 however, this chapter will be the first study to consider the key role of trees in this complex context. In paying particular attention to the landscapes of the short story, Libbie Marsh’s Three Eras (1850), Ruth (1853), and North and South (1855), this argument considers three lines of interconnected arboreal enquiry.7 It investigates how arboreal spaces shape the formal and fictional relationship between country and city, the author’s awareness of the role of trees in contemporary discussions of medical topography and/or geography, and therefore how they inform perceptions of physical and emotional well-being in the varied environments of Gaskell’s work. Through a scrutiny of the author’s pictorial and narratorial descriptions of landscape assemblage, and in paying ­attention to the language used to describe these forms, this analysis will consider how the fictional presence and absence of trees reflect a combination of mid-nineteenth-century responses to topography. Firstly, this chapter questions how far Gaskell’s work adheres to cultural polarisations of rural and urban topographies on a visual and locational level, and how far trees (and their value to human experience) can be seen to unsettle the fixity

The presence and absence of trees  109 of these assumptions simultaneously. Secondly, this Gaskellian analysis will focus on the author’s most arboreal novel, North and South, and how far the extended representation of the New Forest in the narrative builds on the environmental questions explored in these earlier works.

The topographies of trees in Libbie Marsh’s Three Eras and Ruth In George du Maurier’s cover illustration for the frontispiece of an 1867 edition of North and South, the foreground is framed by plants and trees, but further upwards this greenery merges into a view of the mills emitting fumes from their furnaces (Figure 3.2). Similarly, in the cover illustration for an 1855 edition of Gaskell’s short story Libbie Marsh’s Three Eras, the characters in the foreground are framed by a border of trees that extend out across the middle distance of the scene; and in the background, Manchester and its smoking towers can be seen in the distance (Figure 3.3). This sense of a boundary is a familiar trope in landscape art of the period: take for example, William Cowen’s paintings of Northern towns and cities at a distance, his View of Rotherham, South Yorkshire (1830); View of Huddersfield (1849b); and more specifically the green and smoky spaces divided across the canvas in his View of Bradford (1849a) (Figure 3.4). There is a common differentiation between all of the aforementioned images: the spectator is positioned at, or within the parameters of, an arboreal boundary and this visual marker separates the observer from the murky atmosphere of the increasingly ­vertical urban sprawl. To quote Christiana Payne, and as the campaigns to save public spaces like Epping Forest suggest, woodlands were so important to ‘viewers and buyers’ because they provided shelter and ‘encouraged the contemporary social practice of going to the woods to escape the summer heat’ (Payne, 2017: p. 132). This is reflected in Cowen’s painting in particular, as the trees provide a shady sanctuary from the sun, which also sheds light on the prospect of industrial emissions. Here, and in Gaskell’s work, these ‘Edge-of-the-Wood’ images (Appleton, 1986: p. 93)8 do not all depict potential escapes within southern landscapes (that characterised a significant portion of contemporary landscape painting) but they focus on the potential of arboreal outskirts elsewhere too. Gilpin’s picturesque tours do not have an urban focus; though cities and towns are not ignored in his works, they are often overlooked in his descriptions of landscape. For instance, on the Cumberland tour, he notes that ‘[from] Manchester, around which the country is not unpleasant, we pursued our rout [sic] to Preston and Lancaster’ (Gilpin, 1786, 1:71–72). The land ‘around’ Manchester is ‘not unpleasant’, but Manchester itself does not get a description in aesthetic terms; the city is not a site for picturesque scrutiny, but the rural land that frames it can be of significance.9 The marks of ­industry can be picturesque, but this aesthetic value is still in the context of a rural scene. Cityscapes or scenes of industry are valuable for Gilpin when they

110  The presence and absence of trees

Figure 3.2  George du Maurier. (1867) Frontispiece, in Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South. London: Smith, Elder. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The presence and absence of trees  111

Figure 3.3  A non. (1855) Frontispiece, in Elizabeth Gaskell’s Libbie Marsh’s Three Eras. London: Hamilton. By courtesy of The University of Liverpool Library, SPEC G42.60.

Figure 3.4  William Cowen. (1849) View of Bradford [oil on canvas]. Bradford Art Galleries and Museums, West Yorkshire. Photograph courtesy of Bridgeman Images.

112  The presence and absence of trees

The presence and absence of trees  113 are viewed from a distance. In the aforementioned illustrations, trees form a green barrier with the land around Manchester: a natural boundary between the rural and industrial scene. To quote Bryonny G ­ oodwin-Hawkins, this green space serves ‘as a fundamental foil to urban, industrial space’ (Goodwin-Hawkins, 2019: p. 141); there is a long-standing rural privilege at work here in this visual formula. Gaskell’s work, like C ­ owen’s painting, often relocates and considers this formula within a northern context, as can be seen in Libbie Marsh’s Three Eras. A ‘complete sylvan repose’: viewing the city from a distance In Gaskell’s Manchester-oriented story, Libbie Marsh’s Three Eras (1850), the author assesses the framing of this aesthetic distance in the narrative. As Susan Major suggests, in the 1840s the possibility for short railway ­excursions or ‘water-borne trips’ allowed the working-classes ‘to reach new areas for pleasure, [and extend] their horizons’ (Major, 2017: p. 94). This is evidenced in Libbie Marsh’s Three Eras, when an invalid boy named Franky is taken on a Whitsuntide holiday to Dunham Park. Within the park, the boy’s companions ‘spread a shawl’ for him to rest upon ‘at the root of a beech-tree’ (Gaskell, 1855: p. 37). For Franky, this arboreal spot has a healing effect, at least psychologically, ‘which made him believe himself capable of any exertion’; whilst the narrator acknowledges more widely that the other characters reap similar benefits, the ‘soul grew much on this day, and all ­unconsciously, as souls do grow’ (1855: p. 45). In this tale, Gaskell describes the trees of Dunham Park as having such a ‘healing’ impact upon these inhabitants of Manchester. Furthermore, within the landscape description, this woodland space serves as a landmark, and Gaskell utilises this environment as a physical and notional marker of distance from the city: [The Park’s scenery] presents such a complete contrast to the whirl and turmoil of Manchester; so thoroughly woodland with its ancestral trees (here and there lightning blanched); its ‘verdurous walls’; its grassy walks […] Depend upon it, this complete sylvan repose, this accessible quiet, this lapping soul in green images of the country, forms the most complete contrast to a town’s-person, and consequently has over such the greatest power to charm. (Gaskell, 1855: pp. 38–39) These ‘ancestral’ trees are indicative of the past, they are aesthetic in their ‘lightning blanched’ state, and this scene of ‘complete sylvan repose’ is distinctly English with its ‘verdurous walls’; it is an idyllic setting, in ‘complete contrast to [the locales of] a town’s-person’. This arboreous space strikes up the familiar contrast of the country and the city, their settings and inhabitants. Moreover, to the modern reader at least, there is something unsettling in Franky’s admission that he ‘did not know trees were like this’, as this

114  The presence and absence of trees suggests that he has never been out of the confines of the city before (1855: p. 37). These ‘green images of the country’ are suggestive of what Raymond Williams calls the ‘powerful feelings [that] have gathered’ around cultural ideas of the country; it is ‘a natural way of life; of peace [and] innocence’ but also a place of ‘backwardness, ignorance [and] limitation’ (Williams, 1973: p. 1). Yet, Franky’s ignorance does not sit with the ideas of the city as ‘an achieved centre: of learning, communication and light’ (1973: p. 1). Instead, it is the city that is associated with ‘ignorance’ and ‘limitation’, and it is the countryside that inspires the boy from the city. Nevertheless, this is a very specific kind of rural landscape as it is a ­privileged area and estate. Franky’s ignorance as to the appearance of such trees is also suggestive of the difference in class. In their working-class ­status, these characters are distanced from the environs of Dunham Park, yet Gaskell has these figures engage in a moment of picturesque spectatorship. However, Libbie and Franky’s mother take him to a standpoint where they could view not the park itself, but the city from the park: [To] show him Manchester, far away in the blue plain, against which the woodland foreground cut with a soft clear line. Far, far away in the distance on that flat plain, you might see the motionless cloud of smoke hanging over a great town, and that was Manchester. (Gaskell, 1855: p. 45) This view is undoubtedly picturesque in its description, in the haziness of the ‘blue plain’ and the ‘soft clear line’ of the ‘woodland foreground’. ­Furthermore, this ‘woodland foreground’ acts as a side screen, directing the eye of the viewer ‘[far], far away’ into the ‘distance’. Gaskell subverts this picturesque scene by having the ‘cloud of smoke’ of Manchester as the object at the centre of this image. The smoggy air here adds to the aesthetics, but it is only aesthetic because it is in the distance; it is framed by the description and by the observation of the characters, too. There is a ‘complete contrast’ in depiction of rural and urban environments in this tale, a difference drawn out by the framing device of a woodland scene. Moreover, viewing the city from a distance and containing it within a visual and notional framework allows the individual to exert some control over their stance in relation to both spaces, however briefly. The phrase ‘repose’ suggests a moment of rest, stillness, and comfort, wherein the individual suspends the cares of their daily life, and it is the quality of the ‘sylvan’ environment that facilitates these circumstances in Libbie Marsh’s Three Eras. In contemporary scientific writings, there is evidence to suggest that for some thinkers, trees were considered essential for cleansing the air during the Victorian period. To quote Kenneth Thompson, ‘[some] middle ­nineteenth-century investigators attempted to explain the supposed sanitary influence of trees in terms of botanical processes and saw connections with the mechanisms of photosynthesis’ (Thompson, 1978: p. 523). Bonj Szczygiel

The presence and absence of trees  115 and Robert Hewitt identify a sanitary commissioner from the States, Elisha Harris, who explained that ‘poisoned air […] is largely neutralized in passing through foliage; [and] trees also serve the important function of absorbing excessive moisture from the soil and shading the soil to prevent rapid h ­ eating and the subsequent release of gases’ (Szczygiel and Hewitt, 2000: p. 731). From such a perspective, trees were healthful spaces in their absorption of ‘poisoned air’. This moment of arboreal and aerial clarity in Libbie Marsh’s Three Eras has an affinity with William Howitt’s statement that ‘our mountains, forests, and moorlands are the lungs of the whole country. It is there that we rush away from counting-houses, factories, steam-engines, […] and breathe for a season the air of physical and mental vigour’ (Howitt, 1838, 2:117). The country (and its trees) provides a necessary escape from the frenetic pressures and pollutions of the urban environment, but this seemingly physiological and organically inspired repose described by Howitt is still only ‘for a season’; yet, this suggests that whilst such a period in practical terms cannot be long-standing, it is vital to well-being. The scene at Dunham Park provides these characters with bodily and psychological benefits from being in nature. There is a form of nascent ­ecological thinking at work here that is no different from current interest in the increasingly popular practice of forest bathing: a form of nature therapy wherein participants walk in woodland, and focus on the trees and their own breathing. These human-tree encounters have been proven to reduce stress and blood pressure, and modern scientists have linked these specific benefits to the phytoncides that trees release into the air.10 In the arboreal scenes of Libbie Marsh’s Three Eras, there is a similar focus on health and clarity away from the ‘smoke’, stresses, and ills of modernity. This is not to claim that Gaskell is against modernity; rather, she criticises the side ­effects it has upon certain persons, and, like Howitt, she prescribes mobility to counteract these concerns whenever possible. In this story, arboreal space distances the viewer from these side effects (physically, notionally, and spiritually). Trees are a boundary between these ills; they are not simply scenery or background for Gaskell, but these ‘ancestral’ spaces emblematise a less threatening past and offer a brief respite for these characters in their aesthetic and notional distance from the urban environment. Gaskell is not the first to conceptualise the pictorial and pastoral division of topography in narratological terms. In Dickens’s The Old Curiosity Shop (1841), when Nell and her grandfather reach the ‘fields […] with trees and hay-stacks’ of the countryside, they ‘might feel at last […] clear of ­London’ and look ‘back at Saint Paul’s looming through the smoke’ (Dickens, 2008: p.  122). The rural environment enables a retrospective glance from a somewhat safe distance in both instances, but for Gaskell in particular this viewpoint is characterised by trees specifically, rather than the countryside generally. Whilst this contrast of the rural (and therefore supposedly healthy) in opposition to the urban (and therefore purportedly unhealthy) is obvious enough to the modern reader, the relationship between

116  The presence and absence of trees trees, salubrity, and public health was not always so clear cut in the nineteenth century, and particularly at the time Gaskell was writing. In fact, this ­contrast between arboreal space and the urban domain is explored more fully across this author’s oeuvre, and can be seen to allude to intersecting and contemporary ideas surrounding the presence of trees, miasma, and harmful environmental pollutants. Trees, miasma, and dividing rural / urban spaces Miasma preceded germ theory in the eighteenth and nineteenth c­ enturies, and was considered by the medical community and sanitary reformers to be a ‘noxious [vapour], an atmospheric element thought to convey d ­ isease-bearing principles from decaying organic remnants’ (Choi, 2015: p. 33). Mysterious toxins produced by decaying organic matter caused and propagated diseases such as typhus, malaria, and cholera, to name a few; and this assumption persisted until late in the nineteenth century. By contrast, the presence of coal smoke in cities was viewed as harmless by some thinkers, and was seen as having a positive effect upon the eradication of miasmic vapours, and even that it might have a curative effect on the aforementioned diseases (Thorsheim, 2018: p. 17). As Bonj Szczygiel and Robert Hewitt highlight in their article on ‘Nineteenth-Century Medical Landscapes’, with the prevalence of miasma theory and ‘the expanding scope of environmental inquiry, an attendant shift in landscape perception followed. Naturalistic and manmade landscape and urban conditions were seen increasingly in terms of their benign and pathogenic characteristics’ (Szczygiel and Hewitt, 2000: p. 714). It became common knowledge that the topography of the land and the forms that shape any terrain in question had a bearing on the diffusion and prevalence of a number of diseases therein. Maladies that were perceived to spread as a result of decaying matter and miasmic vapours found their way into hollows and valleys in mist or fog form, and thrived around areas where air could not circulate properly, and for some thinkers, this even included wooded spaces. Nevertheless, as Stradling and Thorsheim remind us, the ‘idea that the natural world exerted an important influence on health had long existed’, and many writers believed that ‘vegetation was vital to health’ during the nineteenth century (Stradling and Thorsheim, 1999: p. 10). With this in mind, organic matter and spaces could be seen as both healthy and insalubrious in the cultural psyche, all at the same time. Whilst Gaskell finds a lack of trees unsettling in physical and notional terms, and trees were prescribed as purifying entities in some cases, by contrast contemporary Western scientists of the nineteenth century also argued that a profusion of too many trees created an unhealthy climate. To quote Robert Hutchinson Powell’s Medical Topography of Tunbridge Wells (1846), trees were believed to prevent the ‘free circulation of air’, and this is how and where diseases could proliferate (Powell, 1846: p. 136). In the eighteenth century, John Woodward condemned ‘countries that abound with trees’ as

The presence and absence of trees  117 being ‘very obnoxious’ due to ‘great humidity in the air’ (Woodward, 1708: p. 220); in part, this is very much an othering of colonial landscapes that were not like Britain in climate. James Lane Notter echoed this sentiment in 1800, as he remarked that ‘the exuberant growth of plants and trees is bad, especially in the tropics, where rank vegetation abounds’, creating ‘noxious vapours and mists’ (Notter, 1880: pp. 445–449).11 Anecdotes of exotic trees such as the aforementioned Upas also fed into and exaggerated this context. Take for a textual instance, when the Upas Tree makes its way on an analogical level into the discourse of Mr Rochester in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (1847). As Rochester tells Jane: “[concealing] the mad-woman’s neighbourhood from you, however, was like covering a child with a cloak and laying it down near a upas-tree: that demon’s vicinage is poisoned, and always was” (Brontë, 2008: p. 300). In metaphorical terms Bertha Mason is equated to the ‘upas-tree’ in all her exotic and problematic otherness, and her ‘vicinage’ to Jane is exaggerated as destructive and potentially ‘poisonous’. Whilst each of these cases is international in context and distasteful to a modern-day reader, the application of these worries diffused into discussions of any arboreal spaces wherein trees grew profusely and unchecked, and where illnesses of many kinds became endemic within their ‘vicinage’. In a study of ‘Jane Eyre and Medical Geography’, Alan Bewell scrutinises how far the novel ‘is shaped as much by the language of medical geography as by aesthetics’ (Bewell, 1996: p. 773). In the first place, Bewell analyses Brontë’s description of the ‘forest-dell’ surrounding Lowood School just before the break out of a ‘fog-bred pestilence’: ‘Lowood […] became all green, all flowery; its great elm, ash, and oak skeletons were restored to majestic life; woodland plants sprang up profusely [and] unnumbered varieties of moss filled its hollows’ (Brontë, 2008: p. 76). This site is ‘bosomed in hill and wood’ and is ‘pleasant enough’, but Brontë’s narrator states that ‘whether healthy or not is another question’ (2008: p. 76). Here, Bewell suggests that ‘Brontë sets medicine against aesthetics, asking us to read the physical surroundings of Lowood […] as doctors were being taught to read it’ (1996: p. 774); the author subverts a ‘pleasant’ and picturesque description of an undoubtedly arboreal scene by questioning its salubrity. As a result of this, Bewell states that in this novel the author ‘drew upon medical geography to ask whether “fever”, the great killer of Europeans in tropical regions was not just as much an ongoing part of the lives of the English’, as Jane equally navigates ‘place[s] of endemic sickness’ within her own country (1996: p. 803). From such a perspective, the presence of miasma-induced ‘fevers’ could therefore be present in any kind of landscape, and the healthiness of the rural scene, however picturesque, must also be questioned. Furthermore, Margaret S. Kennedy builds upon Bewell’s conclusion through a comparison of Jane Eyre (1847) and Gaskell’s Mary Barton (1848): Gaskell uncovers urban pollution in plain sight, going beyond smell to expose the causes of toxicity, while Brontë challenges the belief in the

118  The presence and absence of trees country as a safe haven from pollution, going beyond beauty to expose rural toxicity. (Kennedy, 2017: pp. 509–510) In Libbie Marsh’s Three Eras, the separation from the smoky industrial scene is set up in contrast to the healthful benefits of a rural and arboreal backdrop, and this would affirm Kennedy’s conclusion that Gaskell’s awareness of miasma and polluted ecologies is in an urban context, whilst an author like Brontë ‘expose(s) rural toxicity’. Moreover, as Kennedy asserts through this comparison with Brontë, miasmic environments were not simply the product of ‘urban pollution’, but could be rural too. However, as this study of Gaskell’s work shows, this author’s commentary should not be limited by her works of an industrial milieu, as she also questioned the salubrity of the arboreal scene in the rural ecologies and topographies across her fiction. As this close scrutiny of Gaskell’s trees and topography will show, the author also explored the confluence and complexity of these opposing cultural and scientific discourses across her work, and this complicates the perceived binary between the rural and urban that can be read in her writings more generally. The ‘wildscape’ and associated threat(s) of ‘lush vegetation’ Twinn considers Ruth to be a ‘wildscape’ novel, and as much as this kind of setting is sometimes noted for a certain treelessness, the writings in this category can be provincial but not strictly rural in a pastoral sense, and they can be places of industry, but not necessarily metropolitan either. Take for example, the working village of Haworth in The Life of Charlotte Brontë, or the coastal backdrop and whaling community in Sylvia’s Lovers. Ruth appears to take place in a variety of similar settings shifting from a provincial town, to rural Wales, to the seaside, then to another town, Eccleston, where most of the novel plays out. The ‘wildscape’ work treads within a band that defies the strict nomenclature of rural and urban, but also embodies similar environmental qualities in both senses. Gaskell explores this tension at the start of Ruth in the description of the ‘assize-town’ of Fordham, which, ‘[a] hundred years ago’ had an ‘appearance of picturesque grandeur’, but which had since changed through the progression of human activity and industriousness (Gaskell, 2011: p. 3). For instance, the narrator describes a ‘Poor old larch!’ in the town, which had previously ‘stood in a pleasant lawn, with the tender grass creeping caressingly up to its very trunk’; but was now in some ‘squalid back premises […] girded about with flagstones’ (2011: p. 6). It seems that industry has crept in on a green and pleasant land here; this larch in itself could be reflective of Ruth at the start of the novel, a heroine from a rural home who has relocated and feels entrapped in such a place. The setting(s) of Ruth, perhaps more than any other ‘wildscape’ work in Gaskell’s oeuvre, draw upon, but also elude, the definition of rural and urban.

The presence and absence of trees  119 At the beginning of the novel, on being told to go to bed to get some rest between shifts of work at the dress shop, Ruth Hilton exclaims instead that “[one] run—one blow of the fresh air would do me more good”, and muses on, “what trees, and grass, and ivy, must be on such a night as this” (Gaskell, 2011: p. 6). Ruth partakes in a vocalised effusion on the natural world, and links trees and verdure with “fresh air” and bodily recuperation. The ­heroine sees “trees” and “fresh air” as a respite from her current location in an industrial town, salubrity is not out of reach, but such an escape is unconscionable in her current circumstances. It appears that this desirous instinct to get back into nature is also bound up with Ruth’s subsequent elopement. On Ruth’s fateful walk with her soon-to-be seducer, Henry Bellingham, she is left in ‘breathless delight’ by the view below them: The hill fell suddenly down into the plain, extending for a dozen miles or more. There was a clump of dark scotch firs close to them, which cut clear against the western sky, and threw back the nearest levels into distance. The plain below them was richly wooded, and was tinted by the young tender hues of the earliest summer, for all the trees of the wood had donned their leaves except the cautious ash, which here and there gave a soft, pleasant greyness to the landscape. […] The view was bounded by some rising ground in deep purple shadow against the ­sunset sky. (Gaskell, 2011: p. 44) The vast scene and its distance are marked by ‘clumps’, and ‘the trees of the wood’ and the ash in particular create a ‘softness’ that blends the scene ­together, as the free-indirect narration suggests from Ruth’s outlook. This description might be likened to an arboreal view formed from Gilpin’s Forest Scenery (1791), and arguably, in terms of the narrative, this vast scene w ­ itnesses the realisation of Ruth’s desire for freedom and nature in the opening chapter. Nevertheless, as the narrative develops beyond Ruth’s ­s eduction, the representation of such scenes alters, and the arboreal scene becomes more threatening in the erosion of picturesque qualities. After Ruth has eloped with Bellingham, they come across a similar treescape on another one of their rambles: The path they chose led to a wood on the side of a hill, and they entered, glad of the shade of the trees. At first it appeared like any common grove, but they soon came to a deep descent, on the summit of which they stood, looking down on the tree-tops, which were softly waving far beneath their feet. There was a path leading sharp down, and they followed it [to] the lowest plain. A green gloom reigned there; it was the still hour of noon; the little birds were quiet in some leafy shade. (Gaskell, 2011: pp. 60–61)

120  The presence and absence of trees They are not just looking down upon an arboreal scene from on high anymore, but they encounter a ‘green gloom’ therein, where the ‘little birds were quiet in some leafy shade’. This is not a vibrant scene, but a deeply shaded, subdued, and melancholy one; much more than this, Ruth becomes framed by the scene down in ‘that green hollow’ as Bellingham observes that she ‘stood in her white dress against the trees which grew around’ (2011: p. 61). Ruth is no longer merely observing the scene, she is part of that ‘green gloom’. Gaskell’s choice to frame her heroine in this way could be read as indicative of her fallen state, as she is lowered into this subverted Eden, literally and figuratively, into an insalubrious ‘hollow’. However, I would argue that Gaskell is doing something more than equating Ruth’s morality with her physical placement within this environment; specifically, the choice of language here, like Brontë’s Jane Eyre, is somewhat akin to descriptions of medical topographies.12 Such a reading can be seen as foreshadowing on Gaskell’s part, particularly as Ruth dies of a ‘typhus fever’ that ‘swept over the country like a ­pestilence’, a ‘fever’ that the narrator recalls as being the result of a ‘steaming heat, but others had pointed to the lush vegetation, which was profuse and luxuriant’ (Gaskell, 2011: p. 341). Once again, ‘profuse’ verdure becomes a shorthand for the diffusion of miasmic vapours that no one noticed in the ‘unusually gorgeous’ summer, and the ‘early autumn was wet and cold, but people did not regard it’; Gaskell’s narrator suggests that people were too concerned with ‘thinking and speaking of the great revival of trade—now of the chances of the election, as yet some weeks distant—now of the balls at Cranworth Court’ (2011: p. 341). Much like Brontë’s narrator on Lowood in Jane Eyre, this narrator directs the reader to question where this ‘fever’ came from, and equally, points towards the presence of ‘lush vegetation’ around Eccleston as a possible culprit. Gaskell does not depict such a scene to portray any kind of moral ruin on the heroine’s part; this is an environment that no one kept in check, and ­i mplies that through such a landscape, a ‘pestilence’ was cultivated that came to affect many individuals, not just Ruth herself. In this sense, the ills of the rural environment, much like Ruth’s rejection by the c­ ommunity, are realised as a societal issue, as much as any kind of urban pollution. ­Nevertheless, the focus on the ‘lush vegetation’ appears to be where the town might place their blame, as the narrator suggests. However, Gaskell’s description also locates ‘the terrible fever’ as originating in the ‘low Irish lodging houses’ where the ‘poor creatures died almost without the attendance of the unwarned medical men’ (Gaskell, 2011: p. 342). The ‘terrible ­fever’ may have stemmed from poor living conditions in this rural town, and once again the ‘othering’ of a non-English race becomes bound up with the spreading of fever in this climate.13 However, like the ‘lush vegetation’ remaining unchecked, the deaths of these ‘poor creatures’ was ‘so common it excited little attention’ (2011: p. 342). Gaskell places the blame for the fever on a multiplicity of ills at work here; and so, culpability is to be found in the community’s ignorance of a variety of intersecting factors, rather than the actions of any individual, or even the arboreal landscape. However, I would

The presence and absence of trees  121 affirm that here the author employs, and therefore questions the cultural perception of miasma and its association with organic matter and unhealthy tree spaces. The fact that the narrator leaves this set of assumptions unresolved makes this environment all the more problematic. Generally speaking, significant breakthroughs in the scientific perceptions of miasma, pollution, and air-borne diseases occurred between the 1850s and 1880s. For instance, Doctor John Snow published the second ­edition of his essay ‘On the Mode of Communication of Cholera’ in 1855, which argued against miasma theory, and claimed that cholera was water-borne. Meanwhile, Doctor Robert Koch recognised that bacteria caused tuberculosis in 1882 and cholera in 1883. These developments lead to the subsequent identification of typhus and other such diseases as having bacterial causes, and so the findings during this decade made the invisible visible through the founding of modern microbiology (Smeele, 2016: p. 15). Moreover, as Wietske Smeele identifies through a scrutiny of satirical illustrations from the first half of the nineteenth century, these breakthroughs were ‘actively engaged with, and even anticipated’ in the cultural imagination at the time; illustrations from Punch such as ‘A Drop of London Water’ (January-June, 1850) gestured to the role of water and humans in spreading cholera (2016: p. 20). Moreover, it is not a stretch to say that contemporary fiction ­participated in and actively questioned ideas surrounding public health too. As Stephen Halliday articulates, the assertion that miasma spread ­disease via aerial means ‘prevailed in the medical profession for much of the 19th ­c entury and survived in some quarters into the 20th century’ (­ Halliday, 2001: p. 1469). Bearing this in mind, gaining an understanding of a s­ pecific timeline for when miasma disappeared from the environments of the ­cultural imagination seems a near impossible task. Though Gaskell was writing at the time that these opinions were shifting for professionals and lay-people alike, it is fair to assume that conflicting perspectives and beliefs were asserted consistently throughout the nineteenth century. In North and South’s representation of the arboreal scenes of the New Forest, and then the smoky sprawl of Milton, differing perspectives on salubrious topographies can be seen alongside one another. Whilst the rural and urban domains may seem divided and opposed in this text, the author builds on her assessment(s) of this division in Libbie Marsh’s Three Eras and Ruth. The second half of this chapter takes an extended look at the 1855 novel, and considers the role of trees in both the definition of rural and urban place and character; and through this, what their appearance, disappearance, and the responses they evoke might say about their relationship to the presence and absence of perceived well-being.

‘delicious air’ and the green belt in North and South Criticism surrounding North and South’s treatment of place often focuses on the inherent and interconnected dichotomies of north and south, country

122  The presence and absence of trees and city, rural and industrial, and pastoral and urban, to name a few. Roberto Dainotto states that this novel is ‘the dramatization of such divisions’ in its representation of classes and regions (Dainotto, 2000: p. 77). Dainotto argues that the novel charts the north’s recognition that ‘difference is useful not as a negation of our way of living but as a possibility to improve it by offering us “a much needed vision of life”’; the perspectives and ‘humanistic values’ of the south ‘melt’ into those of the north with the novel’s conclusion (2000: pp. 101, 31). Lynette Felber suggests that the novel ‘transcends a ­clear-cut dichotomy of country and city’ and that in the last third of the novel there comes the realisation that ‘the pastoral utopia cannot be restored as it never existed’ (Felber, 1988: p. 63). Felber implies that Gaskell breaks down the polarities indicated through the topographical shifts in the novel. Meanwhile, Daniel Brass states that ‘the possibility of imagining Helstone as pastoral is dependent on Margaret Hale’s experiences in London and Milton. Her perception of Helstone therefore changes as her experiences of these other places changes’ (Brass, 2004: p. 62). For Brass, any contrasts in perception of place develop across the novel; the ‘pastoral’ reflects ‘a desire to escape from the social realities of urban life’, and any view of the New Forest as a rural idyll is defined by responses to the urban domain (2004: p. 62). The environmental dichotomies in the novel are not fixed but fold into one another, change across the trajectory of the text, or break down completely. Through a scrutiny of Gaskell’s representation of the New Forest and its connection to the welfare of the protagonist, the ­following discussion builds upon this set of assumptions. In a letter to Reverend Oldham in 1864, Gaskell enthuses over the ­correspondent’s proposed move from ‘smoky’ Glasgow to the rural South: ‘And then do you know Salisbury […] And the New Forest? […] I think the change […] will be very charming’ (Gaskell, 1997: p. 731). From such a letter, there are indications that Gaskell had a long-standing familiarity with the New Forest and its ‘charming’ environs. Moreover, much like Libbie Marsh’s Three Eras, there is a notion that moving to a rural scene, and away from a ‘smoky’ urban one brings a change for the betterment of the relocated individual. However, in North and South, the author builds this novel upon an inversion of such a topographical movement. The Hale family are removed from the ‘delicious air’ of Helstone in the New Forest, to the ‘smoky air’ of the industrial city of Milton-Northern, where a ‘deep lead-coloured cloud hang[s] over the horizon’ (Gaskell, 2008b: pp. 41, 45, 59), and it is here where Margaret Hale remains for most of the novel. Nevertheless, in North and South Gaskell reassesses cultural assumptions about differences in climate, how salubrious these locales are, and the associated polarities suggested by such a title. However, this line of questioning is not just built around the ­narrator’s descriptions of place as representative of the heroine’s trajectory as in Ruth, but the perception of the rural and urban oscillates through Margaret’s (and other characters) personal responses and acclimatisation to topographical change. In focusing on Margaret’s perception of

The presence and absence of trees  123 the woodscapes of the New Forest as a touchstone, and by considering the silvicultural and environmental discourses that it engages with, this discussion then broadens out a contemporary understanding of place-oriented well-being, and the role of green space in that relationship. Due to its fictional nature and the fictitious place names that Gaskell ­i mplements in North and South, we cannot be geographically specific in ­relation to her New Forest locations. However, the characters in this novel utilise trees as markers of location and distance: Mr Hale measures the distance of his walk by the fact that he got “[as] far as Fordham Beeches”; meanwhile, Mrs Hale remembers meeting her husband “more than three miles from home, beside the Oldham beech-tree” (Gaskell, 2008b: pp.  55, 108). Most notably and extensively, the trees of the New Forest orient ­Margaret Hale’s perception, understanding, and navigation of place and character. Margaret defines herself as being from a forest: she refers to her ‘forest life’ and to her childish state as one ‘all untamed from the forest’, and she tells Bessy Higgins when asked, “[M]y home was in a forest; in the country” (2008b: pp. 71, 8, 100). Gaskell’s heroine is characterised by her relationship with the physical and notional limitations of an arboreal ­environment. The beginning of the novel witnesses both her place within and enjoyment of this space: The forest trees were all one dark, full, dusky green; the fern below them caught all the slanting sun beams; […] [Margaret] took a pride in her forest. Its people were her people. She made hearty friends with them; learned and delighted in using their peculiar words; took up her freedom amongst them; […] resolved before long to teach at the school, where her father went every day as an appointed task, but she was continually tempted off to go and see some individual friend – man, woman, or child – in some cottage in the green shade of the forest. (2008b: p. 17) Margaret is at once part of, and distanced from, the wilderness of the forest; she engages with the ‘people’, but in her more privileged state she has the freedom and mobility to be part of and to withdraw from ‘the green shade of the forest’. Gaskell’s presentation of the New Forest is undoubtedly ­picturesque in its focus on the play of light and shade here, but this is no mere ‘picture in words’. The aforementioned passage informs the reader of the centrality of Margaret’s relationship with her environs from the outset. On her walk with Henry Lennox, Margaret displays a willingness to ­partake in the picturesque, and through this, Gaskell undoubtedly plays into the picturesque and idyllic associations of this location made famous by Gilpin’s Forest Scenery. However, the picturesque description of the New Forest in North and South is not the unfeeling picturesque of the eighteenth century that Ruskin would go on to describe a year later in Modern Painters (1856). Ruskin pronounced the picturesque viewpoint to be ‘heartless’ in

124  The presence and absence of trees its aestheticisation of poverty and ‘unconscious suffering’ (Ruskin, 1888, 4:10). Alternatively, he sought a ‘Noble’ version of the picturesque based on ­Turner’s aesthetics, one that ‘depends upon largeness of sympathy [and] communion of heart’ (1888, 4:9). In Margaret’s and Henry’s painterly ­pursuits and dialogue, Gaskell questions this mode of observation: “These are the cottages that haunted me so during the rainy fortnight, reproaching me for not having sketched them.” “Before they tumbled down and were no more seen. Truly, if they are to be sketched – and they are very picturesque – we had better not put it off till next year. But where shall we sit?” “Oh! You might have come straight from chambers in the Temple, instead of having been two months in the Highlands! Look at this beautiful trunk of a tree, which the wood-cutters have left just in the right place for the light. I will put my plaid over it, and it will be a regular forest throne.” (Gaskell, 2008b: pp. 24–25) Margaret mocks Henry’s assertion that the ‘picturesque’ cottages need to be sketched before they are “tumbled down”, and yet her desire to sketch them means that she also wishes to partake in the stereotypes of this tradition. Gaskell’s heroine ridicules Henry’s metropolitan perspective, but her exclamation that the “forest throne” is “just in the right place for the light” suggests that she is sensitive to the prospect as a whole and that she is also viewing this space within a pictorial framework. Margaret, however, is absolved by the fact that she leaves Henry to sketch whilst she converses with the ‘old man’ from the cottage: ‘His stiff features relaxed into a slow smile as Margaret went up and spoke to him’ (Gaskell, 2008b: p. 25). Margaret is familiar with and sympathetic to the ‘old man’, but Henry reduces the two figures to banditti in his representation of the scene: ‘[he] hastily introduced the two figures into his sketch, and finished up the landscape with a subordinate reference to them’ (2008b: p. 25). Margaret is allowed a certain mobility; she is at once inside the New Forest physically and outside of the forest community in her class status. Moreover, she holds back from aestheticising the poverty she witnesses there, and instead, she chooses to humanise the unfortunate. Like ­G ilpin in Forest Scenery, Margaret immerses herself within this s­ ilvicultural space and is engaged with this community of trees, people, and the stories that accumulate there. This is the way in which Gaskell characterises her heroine and expands the picturesque into a narrative mode in this novel. However, despite an undoubted awareness of its picturesque associations, at the same time, Gaskell questions the representation of this woodscape as rural idyll throughout, with an acknowledgement that multiple perspectives and sensory responses can coexist in a reading of its arboreal scenes.

The presence and absence of trees  125 As the discussion above has highlighted, in scientific and cultural domains, trees were seen to both filter and stifle the circulation of air during the Victorian period; within the landscape topography, these entities might be seen to have a positive or negative impact upon the health of its inhabitants. In North and South, such conflicting perspectives are manifest in how the woodscapes and climate of Helstone are perceived by different characters in the narrative. Mr Bell reprimands Margaret for sitting in front of a “bleak background of trees” at a window, and therefore placing herself in front of “a great waft of damp air” (Gaskell, 2008b: p. 394). Similarly, Mrs Hale suffers with a delicate constitution from the outset, and complains of the “damp and relaxing air”, the “too soft and relaxing” atmosphere of their forest home, and ‘Mrs Hale said that the near neighbourhood of so many trees [had] affected her health’ (2008b: pp. 24, 45, 18). Moreover, in a conversation with Margaret before the move to Milton, there is a revealing contrast in perspective between mother and daughter: “Do you feel ill, my darling?’ asked Mrs Hale, anxiously […] “You look pale and tired. It is this soft, damp, unhealthy air.” “No—no, mamma, it is not that: it is delicious air. It smells of the freshest, purest fragrance, after the smokiness of Harley Street.” (2008b: p. 41) Whilst Mrs Hale believes that Margaret has been affected by “the bad air from some of the stagnant ponds” in the forest (2008b: p. 42), the heroine revels in what she believes to be “delicious air”, and contrasts it instead with “the smokiness of Harley Street”. Nevertheless, the usage of the words ­‘delicious’ and ‘fragrance’ to describe the air here is still bound up with responses of smell and taste that are common miasmic indicators. Margaret uses the discourse of miasma in order to question her mother’s belief in trees producing unhealthy vapours; however consciously the heroine leans in to beliefs surrounding the presence of miasma, she certainly disassociates it from the green spaces of the New Forest. Instead, it is the visible presence of urban ‘smokiness’ wherein Margaret questions environmental salubrity. Via free-indirect narration and comparison, Margaret goes on to bemoan the ‘lack of revivifying principle’ in the ‘smoky air’ of Milton, and concludes that there is ‘good reason to fear that her mother’s health might be coming seriously affected’ through this change of climate (2008b: p. 88). As Margaret and Dixon unpack in their new home, the narrator asserts the presence of ‘a thick fog [that] crept up to the very window [in Milton], and was driven into every open door in choking white wreaths of unwholesome mist’ (Gaskell, 2008b: p. 65). Threatening vapours in the presence of the ‘thick fog’ pervades the urban domain, and in the detail of the ‘choking white wreaths of unwholesome mist’, it works as a kind of Dickensian echo, undoubtedly imitating the infamous creeping fog that establishes

126  The presence and absence of trees the corruption of Chancery in the first chapter of Bleak House (1853). In Gaskell’s topographical shift from the country to the city, such vapours become more visible, and from Margaret’s viewpoint there is a stark contrast to be drawn here: The chill, shivery October morning came; not the October morning of the country, with soft, silvery mists, clearing off before the sunbeams that bring out all the gorgeous beauty of colouring, but the October morning of Milton, whose silver mists were heavy fogs, and where the sun could only show long dusky streets when he did break through and shine. (2008b: p. 251) Margaret’s understanding of climate works on an aesthetic level that ­informs her perception of Helstone; the ‘silvery mists’ of the New Forest are acceptable because they ‘bring out all the gorgeous beauty of colouring’, creating a kind of visual harmony, whereas in Milton, mists are ‘heavy fogs’ which obscure. The discourse typical of miasmic and ‘unwholesome mists’ appears to continue in an urban context, but this discussion blends with the presence of smoke as a pollutant. From the Hales’s arrival, the narrator identifies the presence of an ‘“unparliamentary” smoke’ emanating from Milton (which Margaret mistakes for a rain cloud), and as many critics have identified beforehand, this is an allusion to the Town Improvement Clauses Act of 1847 (Gaskell, 2008b: p.  59).14 This act which Gaskell refers to here sought to control smoke ­pollution in cities; however, as Carlos Flick records, the smoke clause ‘stipulated that all commercial furnaces were to be constructed as to abate smoke, and [yet] it failed to define offensive emissions’ (Flick, 1980: p. 33), so any legal enforcement of the clause was inconsistent. In North and South, a conversation between Mr Hale and Mr Thornton serves as an illumination and criticism upon such an act, all at once: “But I think you told me you had altered your chimneys so as to c­ onsume the smoke, did you not?” asked Mr. Hale. “Mine were altered by my own will, before parliament meddled with the affair. It was an immediate outlay, but it repays me in the saving of coal. I’m not sure whether I should have done it, if I had waited until the act was passed. At any rate, I should have waited to be informed against and fined, and given all the trouble in yielding that I legally could. But all laws which depend for their enforcement upon informers and fines, become inert from the odiousness of the machinery. I doubt if there has been a chimney in Milton informed against for five years past, although some are constantly sending out one-third of their coal in what is called here unparliamentary smoke.” (Gaskell, 2008b: p. 82)

The presence and absence of trees  127 Whilst Thornton changes his chimneys of his own volition, and it is i­ mplied that others have too, there are still some mill owners “constantly sending out one-third of their coal” into the atmosphere. The definition of any ­‘offensive emissions’ and vapours pervading Milton’s atmosphere appears to be equally as complicated. Take for example—in an inversion of Howitt’s claim that exposure to the natural world is necessary ‘for a season’— Mr Hale resigns himself and his family to the fact that they ‘must endure smoke and fogs for a season’ in this ‘unhealthy place’ (2008b: p. 66). Here, ‘smoke and fogs’ are bound up together as potential contaminants to human health, and the differentiation of naturally occurring mists and industrial by-products becomes blurred. Whilst Gaskell reveals a scepticism of miasma, smoke appears to be ­depicted as a visible threat to this environment, and yet their depictions as ‘unwholesome’ and smothering aerial entities are undoubtedly similar. Mary Debrabant puts forward the idea that the author downplays the threat of the smoke in Milton and suggests that in Gaskell’s description, ‘[the] ­i mpact on the senses is barely perceptible (“faint”), a mere impression of a country-dweller (“an absence”, “a lack of herbage”), not a tangible source of offensiveness’ (Debrabant, 2010: p. 77). However, I would suggest that its prominence, but lack of tangibility in physicality or definition is what makes this floating phenomena somewhat worrying to Gaskell’s narrator and the characters within the narrative. At the very least, this obscurity could be perceived as artistic inconsistency in the terms being used, but any ambiguity is reflective of (and certainly proliferated within) these contemporary discourses themselves. Through the various viewpoints of her characters, Gaskell charts the continued complex presence of this conversation in North and South. In Margaret’s arguably more advanced understanding of her climate and its salubriousness—albeit, a viewpoint built in the picturesque mode—the author alludes to how these dialogues have developed culturally, at the same time as depicting prevailing and somewhat stagnant environmental beliefs alongside a more forward-thinking outlook. Through the heroine’s continued affinity with trees, and her transplantation from the picturesque New Forest to the industrial north, Gaskell ­presents not simply a binary of places and perspectives; instead, she considers the conceptual point of division that allows for movement in between the rural, the urban, and the respective ideas regarding their salubrious ­qualities. Gaskell’s heroine goes on to lament this situation and the absence of trees in her urban home: A little breeze was stirring in the hot air, and though there were no trees […] Margaret knew how, somewhere or another, by wayside, in copses, or in thick green woods, there was a pleasant, murmuring, dancing sound, – a rushing and falling noise, the very thought of which was an echo of gladness in her heart. (Gaskell, 2008b: p. 193)

128  The presence and absence of trees Margaret thinks of ‘thick green woods’ in order to lighten her mood and the arboreal absences in her surroundings. Similarly, when discussing her forest home with Bessy, Margaret recalls that at night ‘her memory wandered’ back to these old and ‘pleasant places’; she states that she “cannot tell [Bessy] half its beauty. There are great trees standing all about it, with their branches stretching long and level, and making a deep shade of rest even at noonday. And yet, though every leaf may seem still, there is a continual rushing sound of movement all around – not close at hand” (2008b: p. 100). Even though Margaret is physically absent, her mind travels back to these spaces; Margaret’s imaginative conjectures provide her with a kind of mobility in a fixed locale, and this is the only kind of movement available to the heroine at this point in the narrative. Margaret does not aestheticise her urban surroundings, but through association, the stark contrast in climate inspires a notional return to the woodscapes of Helstone. The picturesque viewpoint in this novel is fixed upon the arboreal ­surroundings of the New Forest, but this view is a mobile one that can be transposed elsewhere. Margaret can maintain the experience of the ­picturesque scene in her memory and then recall it in later situations for consolatory and psycho-emotional effect. This moment of environmental recall also acts in the same way as a green belt, on a notional basis.15 Gaskell never consciously used the term ‘green belt’ to describe such a moment, but in essence, they share a similarity. This instance acts as a suspended band of verdure between the rural and urban, a ‘country zone’ within Milton, a green space and breathing place that Margaret imagines whilst she herself is held in stasis at Milton (Loudon, 1829: p. 689).16 However, this imagined environment is certainly not a stagnant or miasmic one. In both of the above examples, there is a ‘rushing and falling noise’, and ‘a continual rushing sound of movement all around’; this is an arboreal (albeit imaginary) space of movement and circulation. This insertion of green space among the industrial narrative is evident elsewhere in Gaskell’s fiction. In Mary Barton, the narrative opens on Green Heys Fields on a day of holiday, and though there is a ‘want of wood’ here, these ‘thoroughly rural fields’ are in sharp contrast to the ‘busy, bustling manufacturing town [the traveller] left but half an hour ago’ (Gaskell, 2008a: p. 3). In moving further into this space and over a ‘stile’, the narrator states that the visitor comes to a ‘deep, clear pond’, ‘shadowy trees’, and a ‘rambling farmyard’ (2008a: p. 3). The Gaskellian narrator depicts a gradual shift outwards from the ‘manufacturing town’ to a distinctly rural scene, and the marginal place in between acts as a kind of green belt that dissolves into this ‘country zone’. Moreover, this physical movement finds an imaginative echo later in the novel as the eponymous heroine is left alone in distress in her Manchester home, and the narrator interrupts with the following interjection: Very different to this lovely night in the country in which I am now writing, where the […] trees sway gently to and fro in the night-wind with

The presence and absence of trees  129 something of almost human motion; and the rustling air makes music among their branches, as if speaking soothingly to the weary ones, who lie awake in heaviness of heart. (2008a: p. 239) This brief removal to a country scene provides a moment of mental respite or ‘sylvan repose’ for the reader, and once again, this is a scene of arboreal activity where the ‘night-wind’ and ‘rustling air’ play amongst the branches of the surrounding trees. Here and in North and South, the author creates a kind of notionalised, dynamic green space (where the main narrative is not taking place) that is transposed within the urban scene. However, in North and South, this notional green belt somewhere between the country and the city is conceptualised by the heroine, and not just the narrator, within the narrative’s trajectory. The ‘wildscape’ novel combines wild scenes, treeless spaces, townscapes, coastal scenes, and provincial scenes, and this topographical unfixedness allows a character like Ruth a certain kind of freedom. Moreover, Twinn argues that the wild scene generates and allows for significant emotional reactions from characters in these spaces (Twinn, 1999: pp. 127–128). However, as a result of the fallen woman narrative, this freedom is also bound up with Ruth’s social rejection, and so, in a sense, the ‘wildscape’ is also evocative of Ruth’s exposed placelessness. The notionalised green belt similarly transcends rural and urban specificity, but on an imaginative basis. Physical limitations are suspended for a brief moment, and so the memorial recall of the woodscape acts as a space of psychological refuge. Margaret’s emotional connection to the New Forest is already forged, and this ability to transpose it in her mind is indicative of an innate belief that she belongs within (her notionalised version of) this curative environment. Margaret’s relationship with the New Forest is redolent of what Stacy Alaimo refers to as ‘trans-corporeality’: the sense that ‘the human is always intermeshed with the more-than-human world [and] the human is ultimately inseparable from “the environment”’ (Alaimo, 2010: p. 2). According to Alaimo, trans-corporeality ‘opens up a mobile space’ between the human, the non-human, and their shared ‘ecological systems’ (2010: p. 2). Margaret’s self and story are bound up with the trees of the New Forest, and she is ‘intermeshed’ with this terrain. Similarly to Bennett’s theory on ‘vibrant matter’ discussed in Chapter Two, this space and the trees that characterise it have a ‘vitality intrinsic to [their] materiality’, and this relies upon ecological components and connection shared between human and non-human entities (Bennett, 2010: p. xiii). However, as these trees are notional in the form of an imagined green space, they are not actually a physical presence for most of the narrative; but they are evoked in their absence at this later point in the narrative. It is Margaret’s imagination recalling their arboreal physicality from a distance, and so she is ‘ultimately inseparable’ from this environment; therefore, these woodscapes should be seen as an extension of

130  The presence and absence of trees her physicality and psychology. Furthermore, across the narrative and for Margaret, these trees (as realised in the heroine’s imagination) can foster a kind of notional mobility within and without the New Forest and Milton. Nevertheless, Gaskell makes it clear that this kind of imaginative movement is reliant upon the parameters of an individual’s own experiences and ­surrounding ecology. In an ecocritical reading of Mary Barton, John Parham suggests that Gaskell’s first industrial novel illustrates how ‘Environmental features—dirt, smoke, waste water—[…] become linked to a deeper, ecological analysis of a parlous human ecosystem, its state epitomised through health’ (Parham, 2011: p. 34); the author is conscious of the diffused interconnections between the human and non-human in a metropolitan context. Similarly, North and South also exposes the physicality of a polluted ecosystem in ­Milton, the dye-infused brook wherein John Boucher drowns or the fluff from the mills that gets on to Bessy Higgins’s lungs, for example. It is not miasmic vapours that are responsible here, but the products of industry; the material ecology of a contaminated ecosystem that taints the city’s i­ nhabitants in return. Physical or notional mobility is simply not possible for everyone in this novel. Bessy has never seen the country before, and mistakenly equates the “sound […] among the trees” that Margaret describes, to the sound ­“going on for ever and ever” inside the mills, she can only define the idea of this space within the parameters of her own (urban) experiences (Gaskell, 2008b: pp. 100–101). Therefore, Margaret’s imaginative and arboreal viewpoint is suggestive of her privilege, even when she herself cannot travel away from the urban domain, she can avoid its potentially fatal influence, and to a certain extent can draw upon previous experience (of other places) that others do not and/or cannot possess. On her return, Margaret’s view of the New Forest is still ‘intermeshed’ with her previous observations of its forest scenery, but she is ‘hurt’ when she sees ‘every familiar tree so precisely the same in its summer glory as it had been in former years’ (Gaskell, 2008b: p. 385); the heroine has an emotional and physical response to this landscape because of its associations with her own past. However, after Margaret’s experience of Milton (its landscape and people), her perspective of Helstone’s arboreal environs alters significantly in the final part of the narrative. Margaret soon learns that Helstone is no longer the arboreal idyll that she remembers: ‘[the] white, lightning-scarred trunk of the venerable beech, among whose roots they had sate’ was gone, and ‘the old man […] was dead; the cottage had been pulled down, and a new one […] had been built in its stead’ (2008b: pp. 387–388). The physical landscape has altered significantly, and landmarks have been removed: Places were changed – a tree gone here, a bough there, bringing in a long ray of light where no light was before – a road was trimmed and narrowed, and the green straggling pathway by its side enclosed and

The presence and absence of trees  131 cultivated. A great improvement it was called; but Margaret sighed over the old picturesqueness, the old gloom, and the grassy wayside of ­former days. (2008b: p. 394) This is not the immutable paradise that she idealised, and much more than this, Margaret is sensitive to the changes within the environment and her own psyche here. Trees from her memorial view have disappeared and the pathways have been ‘enclosed and cultivated’. This landscape is detailed in terms of its ­absences, and there is no animation in its description because it does not fit with Margaret’s notional view of ‘the grassy wayside of former days’. The free-indirect narration does not describe the actual scene in any detail but blends the description of environment with Margaret’s conception of the past. Gaskell’s heroine only perceives the effects of the ‘great improvement’ when she has been distanced physically from this environment for a significant amount of time. Margaret still sighs ‘over the old picturesqueness’ as though she recalls it but acknowledges its disappearance. This ‘old picturesqueness’ characterises the notional view that gave Margaret a kind of mobility in Milton; it provided a different terrain and contrast with the ­industrial city wherein she felt no connection with the environment. As Margaret is removed from the physical space of Helstone, its associations (of youth and community) that shaped its ‘picturesqueness’ become ‘old’ memories of the past, rather than a site of possible return. Across the course of the narrative, Margaret’s view of the New Forest ­allows her to break down the distances and disparities in her responses to rural and urban topographies. The arboreal environs of her past allow her to exert a form of notional control over her new and unfamiliar surroundings as she encounters them. However, the arboreal presence that has defined Margaret’s psychological experience of place is found somewhat lacking in the end, as the notionalised green belt is realised as a memory of ‘the grassy wayside of former days’. Whilst Gaskell does not make an outright appeal for more green space in this novel, when seen in the context of her earlier work and an implied awareness of contemporary environmental discussion, the author certainly emphasises the lack of salubrity in the industrial domain due to the advancements of industry, and the closing off of the country via enclosures. However, this is much more complex than a binary of rural healthfulness and urban toxicity; as the varied responses to tree spaces in relation to the smoky metropolis, and the presence of miasma show, public health is far from being so simplistic in the contemporary cultural imagination. Gaskell is not simply stressing the health benefits of the arboreal then, nor putting forward a green belt plan like Loudon in the face of rural and urban ‘treelessness’, but in this context she is certainly highlighting a need for more access, for the facilitation of mobility and circulation between these domains for all.

132  The presence and absence of trees Across Gaskell’s fiction, the manifestation and omission of trees evoke a network of responses to topography, climate, and well-being. Cultural and scientific dialogues surrounding trees, their placement, and impact(s) on air, as reflected in the texts in question, illustrate the complexity of contemporary and arboreally oriented environmental discussion that Gaskell was drawing upon. In reading a selection of texts closely, and focusing on the presence and visual presentation of trees within these works, it is fair to assume that for this author, trees are necessary salubrious spaces in the experience of human and non-human environments. In Libbie Marsh’s Three Eras, trees outside of the urban scene allow for ‘sylvan repose’ away from the pressures of the industrial metropolis. However, as Ruth contends, the woodscape is not simply an idyllic or picturesque scene to escape into, and simultaneously, the author challenges the transposing of human problems on to their verdurous environments. In North and South, Gaskell uses the New Forest to continue scrutiny of public health concerns surrounding ­m iasma, ­pollution, and organic matter, and through doing so, tests the rural/urban divide in the cultural imagination. This is not a rehabilitation of urban space as healthy in fictional terms, but this work brings an awareness that the rural idyll as a ‘foil’ or form of comparison is far too simplistic. Much more than this, Gaskell identifies an affinity with arboreal space as a means for both forming refuge and enabling interchanges between a variety of spaces. Trees create shelter, movement, and circulation between topographies, and this can occur in physical and notional terms, but direct experience of these spaces, even if just ‘for a season’ or brief respite is necessary. Gaskell does not simply advocate the benefits of green space, but draws them out of a context, out of a network of opposing environmental opinions, and in doing so, gives voice to various arboreal ideas at the same time. It is through this that Gaskell practices, not just a ‘Langue des Arbres’, but a silvicultural outlook within the landscapes of her fiction.

Notes 1 In a study of ‘The Floral and Horticultural in Elizabeth Gaskell’s Novels’, Jeanette Eve suggests that here the ‘invented title, Langue des Arbres, clearly alludes to the well-known Le Langue des Fleurs’ (Eve, 1993: p. 2). Langue des Arbres is therefore an invention on the author’s part rather than a reference to an arboreal text in existence. 2 Carol A. Martin first identified this textual connection in her article on ‘Elizabeth Gaskell’s Contributions to the Works of William Howitt’ (Martin, 1985: p. 98). 3 In considering Ruth’s position under the hawthorn as a folkloric gesture of any sort, similarities can certainly be drawn with William Wordsworth’s poem, ‘The Thorn’ (1798), wherein the fallen woman at the heart of the narrative has personal and tragic associations with a hawthorn tree, to the extent that it then becomes a local legend. The speaker of ‘The Thorn’ addresses ‘you’ the reader, directly: You must take care and chuse [sic] your time The mountain when to cross.

The presence and absence of trees  133 For oft there sits between the heap, That’s like an infant’s grave in size, And that same pond of which I spoke, A Woman in a scarlet cloak, And to herself she cries, “Oh misery! oh misery! Oh woe is me! oh misery!” (Wordsworth, 2011: p. 61) The directions of when to ‘choose your time’ to visit the spot appear to be those of a local warning a visitor, a warning that is bound up with implied ­superstitions surrounding the site. See Hilary Schor ‘The Plot of the Beautiful Ignoramus: Ruth and The Tradition of the Fallen Woman’; Schor explores Ruth’s characterisation as a reassessment of the Wordsworthian ‘seduced daughter of nature’ (Schor, 1990: p. 160). 4 On this occasion, Roger Hamley finds Molly in distress, and so ‘they remained in silence for a little while; he, breaking off and examining one or two abnormal leaves of the ash-tree, partly from the custom of his nature, partly to give her time to recover’ (Gaskell, 1996: pp. 115–116). In this case, the same tree is utilised for different purposes, but scientific study becomes the means to allow Molly to ‘recover’. Roger’s interest in natural history and the tree’s ‘abnormal leaves’ become a polite distraction in this encounter; he is aware that Molly has sought that space under an emotional strain, and so his own observations enable her to have the time and space she needs therein. 5 Twinn’s ‘The Portrait of Haworth in The Life of Charlotte Brontë’ (2005) and ‘Navigational Pitfalls and Topographical Constraints in Sylvia’s Lovers’ (2001) expand upon some of the ideas in this thesis. 6 See Natalka Freeland, ‘The Politics of Dirt in “Mary Barton” and “Ruth”’ (2002); Margaret S. Kennedy, ‘A Breath of Fresh Air: Eco-Consciousness in Mary Barton and Jane Eyre’ (2017); and John Parham, ‘“For you, pollution”. The Victorian Novel and Human Ecology: Benjamin Disraeli’s Sibyl and Elizabeth Gaskell’s Mary Barton’ (2011). 7 Whilst Libbie Marsh’s Three Eras is a short story (and would therefore normally be cited as ‘Libbie Marsh’s Three Eras’), across this chapter I refer to a standalone publication of the story published by Hamilton in 1855. This is the reason for unusual referencing of this particular text. The frontispiece of this copy can be seen in Figure 3.3. 8 See Chapter Two for a discussion of Appleton’s work. 9 This is not to say that Gilpin ignores the industrial scene; he records visits to ‘the duke of Bridgewater’s works’ and ‘Worsley-mills’, for example (Gilpin, 1786, 1:71). Moreover, on the Wye tour, he makes note of the ‘many furnaces [that] consume charcoal’ along the banks of the river, from which smoke can be ‘seen issuing’; this is ‘pleasing’ to the picturesque eye because it throws a ‘thin veil’ over the sides of the hills and ‘unites them with the sky’ (Gilpin, 1782: p. 12). 10 Forest Bathing is a Japanese practice that has seen growing popularity in ­Western culture(s). See Yoshifumi Miyazaki, Shinrin-yoku: The Japanese Way of Forest Bathing for Health and Relaxation (2018); and Qing Li, Into the Forest: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness (2019). 11 Source of James Lane Notter evidenced from Inventing Pollution (Thorsheim, 2018: p. 11). 12 In his article on ‘Jane Eyre and Victorian Medical Geography’, in the passage that describes Lowood, Bewell identifies the term ‘hollows’ as one of the landforms that signifies disease in Brontë’s novel and in the medical geography of this locale (Bewell, 1996: p. 773).

134  The presence and absence of trees 13 Gaskell is here drawing upon the perceived cultural association between typhus and the Irish people. In 1833, Richard Millar went as far as to argue that typhus is so ‘deeply rooted’ in Ireland, ‘as to have long obtained for itself the name of the Irish Malady’ (Millar, 1833: p. 11). 14 See Peter Brimblecombe (1990: p. 106); Mary Debrabant (2010: p. 77); and Angus Easson’s notes on the Oxford edition of North and South (2008b: p. 440). 15 See Chapter One: A Silvicultural Tradition for a discussion of the ‘green belt’ in the nineteenth century. 16 Ann Brooks makes a strong case that the author was familiar with Loudon’s texts. Brooks identifies evidence from library catalogues and records that the Gaskell family took various copies of The Gardener’s Magazine and volumes of his works from The Portico Library in Manchester (Brooks, 2013: pp. 25–26).

References Alaimo, Stacy. (2010) Bodily Natures: Science, Environment, and the Material Self. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Appleton, Jay. (1986) The Experience of Landscape. London: Wiley. Bennett, Jane. (2010) Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Bewell, Alan. (1996) ‘Jane Eyre and Medical Geography’, ELH, 63(3): pp. 773–808. Brass, Daniel. (2004) ‘Defining Pastoral in North and South’, Sydney Studies in ­E nglish, 30: pp. 60–78. Brimblecombe, Peter. (1990) ‘Writing on Smoke’, in Bradby, Hannah (ed.), Dirty Words: Writings on the History and Culture of Pollution. London: Earthscan ­P ublications, pp. 93–114. Brontë, Charlotte. (2008) Jane Eyre. Edited by Margaret Smith. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Brooks, Ann. (2013) ‘Understanding Elizabeth Gaskell’s Garden and Its History’, The Gaskell Journal, 27: pp. 22–48. Burton, Anna. (2018) ‘Remarks on Forest Scenery: North and South and the ­“Picturesque”’, The Gaskell Journal, 32: pp. 37–53. Choi, Tina Young. (2015) Anonymous Connections: The Body and Narratives of the Social in Victorian Britain. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press. Cowen, William. (1849a) View of Bradford [oil on canvas]. Bradford: Cartwright Hall Art Gallery. Cowen, William. (1849b) View of Huddersfield [oil on canvas]. Kirklees: Kirkless Museums and Galleries. Cowen, William. (1830) View of Rotherham, South Yorkshire [oil on canvas]. Rotherham: Clifton Park Museum. Dainotto, Roberto. (2000) Place in Literature: Regions, Culture, Communities. ­Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Debrabant, Mary. (2010) ‘Smoke or No Smoke? Questions of Perspective in North and South’, Cahiers Victoriens et Edouardiens, 71: pp. 75–88. Dickens, Charles. (2008) The Old Curiosity Shop. Edited by Elizabeth M. Brennan. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Driver, Felix. (1988) ‘Moral Geographies: Social Science and the Urban Environment in Mid-Nineteenth Century England’, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 13(3): pp. 275–287. Eve, Jeanette. (1993) ‘The Floral and Horticultural in Elizabeth Gaskell’s Novels’, The Gaskell Society Journal, 7: p. 15.

The presence and absence of trees  135 Felber, Lynette. (1988) ‘Gaskell’s Industrial Idylls: Ideology and Formal Incongruence in Mary Barton and North and South’, CLIO, 1: pp. 55–72. Flick, Carlos. (1980) ‘The Movement for Smoke Abatement in Nineteenth-Century Britain’, Technology and Culture, 21(1): pp. 29–50. Freeland, Natalka. (2002) ‘The Politics of Dirt in “Mary Barton” and “Ruth”’, ­Studies in English Literature, 42(2): pp. 799–818. Gaskell, Elizabeth. (2013) Sylvia’s Lovers. Edited by Francis O’Gorman. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Gaskell, Elizabeth. (2011) Ruth. Edited by Tim Dolin. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Gaskell, Elizabeth. (2009) The Life of Charlotte Brontë. Edited by Angus Easson. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Gaskell, Elizabeth. (2008a) Mary Barton. Edited by Shirley Foster. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Gaskell, Elizabeth. (2008b) North and South. Edited by Angus Easson. Oxford: ­Oxford University Press. Gaskell, Elizabeth. (1997) The Letters of Mrs Gaskell. Edited by J. A. V. Chapple and Arthur Pollard. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Gaskell, Elizabeth. (1996) Wives and Daughters. Edited by Pam Morris. London: Penguin. Gaskell, Elizabeth. (1855) Libbie Marsh’s Three Eras. London: Hamilton. Gilpin, William. (1786) Observations, Relative Chiefly to Picturesque Beauty, Made in the Year 1772, on Several Parts of England; Particularly the Mountains and Lakes of Cumberland and Westmoreland (2 vols). Facsimile of 1st ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013. Gilpin, William. (1782) Observations on the River Wye, And Several Parts of South Wales, &c. Relative Chiefly to Picturesque Beauty, Made in the Summer of the Year 1770. Facsimile of 1st ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014. Goodwin-Hawkins, Bryonny. (2019) ‘A Deep Lead-Coloured Cloud: Smoke and Northern English Space in the Industrial Novel’, Literary Geographies, 50(1): pp. 25–38. Halliday, Stephen. (2001) ‘Death and Miasma in Victorian London: An Obstinate Belief’, BMJ, 323(7327):1469–1471. Harris, Jason Marc. (2008) Folklore and the Fantastic in Nineteenth-Century British Fiction. London: Routledge. Howitt, William. (1838) The Rural Life of England (2 vols). London: Longman. Kennedy, Margaret S. (2017) ‘A Breath of Fresh Air: Eco-Consciousness in Mary Barton and Jane Eyre’, Victorian Literature and Culture, 45: pp. 509–526. King, Steven. (2012) ‘The Healing Tree’, in Auricchio, Laura, Cook, Elizabeth Heckendorn, and Pacini, Giulia (eds.), Invaluable Trees: Cultures of Nature, 1660–1830. Oxford: Voltaire Foundation, pp. 237–250. Li, Qing. (2019) Into the Forest: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness. London: Penguin. Loudon, John Claudius. (1829) ‘Hints for Breathing Places for the Metropolis’, ­G ardener’s Magazine, 5: pp. 686–690. Major, Susan. (2017) ‘New Crowds in New Spaces: Railway Excursions for the Working Classes in North-West England in the Mid-nineteenth Century’, T ­ ransactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, 166: pp. 93–115. Martin, Carol. (1985) ‘Elizabeth Gaskell’s Contributions to the Works of William Howitt’, Nineteenth-Century Fiction, 40(1): pp. 94–100.

136  The presence and absence of trees Meade, Melinda S. and Earickson, Robert J. (2000) ‘Questions of Medical ­Geography’, in Medical Geography. 2nd ed. London: The Guildford Press, pp. 1–20. Millar, Richard. (1833) Clinical Lectures on the Contagious Typhus Epidemic in ­G lasgow and the Vicinity during the Years 1831 and 1832. Glasgow: Glasgow ­University Press. Miyazaki, Yoshifumi. (2018) Shinrin-yoku: The Japanese Way of Forest Bathing for Health and Relaxation. London: Aster. Morris, Richard E. (2018) ‘The Victorian “Change of Air” as Medical and Social Construction’, Journal of Tourism History, 10(1): pp. 49–65. Notter, J. Lane. (1880) ‘Sanitary Notes’, Sanitary Record, 15 June: pp. 445–449. Opie, I. and Tatem, M. (2003) ‘THORN TREE’, in A Dictionary of Superstitions. Available at: (Accessed: 16 March 2020). Parham, John. (2011) ‘“For You, Pollution”. The Victorian Novel and Human ­Ecology: Benjamin Disraeli’s Sibyl and Elizabeth Gaskell’s Mary Barton’, Green ­L etters, 14(1): pp. 23–38. Payne, Christiana. (2017) Silent Witnesses: Trees in British Art, 1760–1870. Bristol: Sansom & Co. Powell, Robert Hutchinson. (1846) A Medical Topography of Tunbridge Wells; ­Illustrating the Beneficial Influence of Its Mineral Waters, Climate, Soil etc., in ­Restoring and Preserving Health. Accompanied with an Outline of Hygiene. ­London: John Churchill. Ruskin, John. (1888) Modern Painters. Volume IV (5 vols). 2nd ed. Orpington: George Allen. Schor, Hilary. (1990) ‘The Plot of the Beautiful Ignoramus: Ruth and the Tradition of the Fallen Woman’, in Barreco, Regina. (ed.), Sex and Death in Victorian Literature. Basingstoke: Macmillan, pp. 158–177. Smeele, Wietske. (2016) ‘Grounding Miasma, or Anticipating the Germ Theory of Disease in Victorian Cholera Satire’, The Journal of the Midwest Modern ­L anguage Association, 49(2): pp. 15–27. Stevenson, Lloyd. (1965) ‘Putting Disease on the Map: The Early Use of Spot Maps in the Study of Yellow Fever’, Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, 20(3): pp. 226–261. Stradling, David and Thorsheim, Peter. (1999) ‘The Smoke of Great Cities: B ­ ritish and American Efforts to Control Air Pollution, 1860–1914’, Environmental ­History, 4(1): pp. 6–31. Szczygiel, Bonj and Hewitt, Robert. (2000) ‘Nineteenth-Century Medical Landscapes: John H. Rauch, Frederick Law Olmsted, and the Search for Salubrity’, Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 74(4): pp. 708–734. Thompson, Kenneth. (1978) ‘Trees as theme in Medical Geography and Public Health’, Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, 54(5): pp. 517–531. Thorsheim, Peter. (2018) ‘The Miasma Era’, in Inventing Pollution: Coal, Smoke, and Culture in Britain since 1800. 3rd ed. Athens: Ohio University Press, pp. 10–18. Twinn, Frances. (2005) ‘The Portrait of Haworth in The Life of Charlotte Brontë’, Brontë Studies, 30: pp. 151–161. Twinn, Frances. (2001) ‘Navigational Pitfalls and Topographical Constraints in ­Sylvia’s Lovers’, The Gaskell Society Journal, 15: pp. 38–52. Twinn, Frances. (1999) “Half-finished Streets”, “Illimitable Horizons” and ­“Enclosed Intimacy”: The Landscapes of Elizabeth Gaskell’s Writing. Unpublished PhD dissertation. University of Durham.

The presence and absence of trees  137 Wigan, Arthur Ladbroke. (1843) Brighton, and Its Three Climates; with Remarks on Its Medical Topography, and Advice and Warnings to Invalids and Visitors. London: Samuel Highley. Williams, Raymond. (1973) The Country and the City. London: Vintage, 2016. Woodward, John. (1708) ‘Some Thoughts and Experiments Concerning Vegetation’, in Miscellanea Curiosa (3 vols). London: Royal Society of London, Vol. 1, pp. 203–242. Wordsworth, William. (2011) The Major Works. Edited by Stephen Gill. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

4 Reading ancient trees and arboreal strata in The Woodlanders

Yalbury Wood […] was closed with an ancient tree, horizontally of enormous extent, though having no pretensions to height. Many hundreds of birds had been born amidst the boughs of this single tree; tribes of rabbits and hares had nibbled at its bark from year to year; quaint tufts of fungi had sprung from the cavities of its forks; and countless families of moles and earthworms had crept about its roots. (Hardy, 2013: p. 173) In this passage from Under the Greenwood Tree (1872), Thomas Hardy takes care to note the physical ‘extent’ and ecological importance of an ‘ancient tree’, but he also considers the centrality of this space as it records the ­multiple narratives and histories that co-exist ‘amidst [it’s] boughs’. The use of the past participle ‘had’, four times in one sentence, is suggestive of a ­retrospective view of this tree’s history up to this point in time and ­narrative. In a downward movement, Hardy recounts this ecological past, the ‘hundreds of birds’, ‘tribes of rabbits’, ‘tufts of fungi’, and ‘countless families of moles and earthworms’, from the ‘boughs’ to the ‘roots’ of this tree. This unchanging presence of ‘countless’ lives, as part of an unfixed and unrecorded past, is reminiscent of the Darwinian ‘Tree of Life’ from On the Origin of Species (1859): The green and budding twigs may represent existing species; and those produced during each former year may represent the long succession of extinct species. […] From the first growth of the tree, many a limb and branch has decayed and dropped off; and these lost branches of various size may represent those whole orders, families, and genera which have now no living representatives, and which are known to us only from having been found in a fossil state. (Darwin, 2014: p. 100) The ‘tribes’ surrounding Hardy’s ‘ancient tree’ are a ‘succession’ of species co-existing and competing, striving to suppress extinction within a continuing space and time. Read in this context, Hardy’s tree is a physical space of

Ancient trees and arboreal strata  139 habitation, and the corresponding movement between the ‘green and budding twigs’ to the ‘decayed [limbs]’ at the forest floor, serves as an analogy for its past and present inhabitants. As the span of this chapter will show, for Hardy, the tree is at once a physical space to be read, and a site where ­arboreal narratives form a literal and analogical network; an ecological nexus of repeated and disparate stories that recede into the past, and p ­ roject into the future. Hardy often thought outdoors when constructing a novel; yet, in his ­refusal to carry a ‘pocket-book’ to record such ideas, he would resort to using any ‘object that came to hand’ including ‘large dead leaves’ and ‘white chips left by the wood-cutters’ (Hardy, 1928: p. 127). Hardy’s novels were inspired by, and engraved (at least notionally) upon the (often arboreal) landscapes that they represent. In Our Woodlands, Heaths and Hedges: A Popular Description of Trees, Shrubs, Wild Fruits, ETC. (1859), a text that Hardy owned,1 William Stephen Coleman argues that ancient trees are a ‘perfect treasury for a naturalist’, but in Hardy’s case ancient trees are a perfect treasury for a novelist as they function as a space where knowledge, memories, and histories are kept (Coleman, 1859: p. 12). This analysis puts forward the idea that Hardy’s interest in trees goes beyond simply aesthetic description; the initial part of this chapter establishes how Hardy’s narratives (despite their fiction) are part of a wider network of arboreal texts that form what this book defines as a silvicultural tradition. This is a body of texts that repeats and conserves the histories of ancient woodlands, and encourages the reader themselves to view, ‘read’, and associate with these spaces. Through a specific study of individual and grouped ancient trees in a (physical and imaginary) Wessex landscape, this investigation uses The Woodlanders (1887) as a starting point to examine the complex fluctuations in this inter-topographical and inter-textual process in Hardy’s work. In this later novel, Hardy produced an arboreal text that developed the formal, ecological, and historical representation of trees and woodland, as evidenced in the landscape description of his earlier fiction. This argument will explore how narratives accumulate around these entities in The Woodlanders, trace how the different inhabitants of this silvan culture encounter and read these sites, and what this means for their existence within this localised community, and the narrative more broadly. The two previous chapters have explored the fictional framing of trees in relation to public, private, rural, and urban environments. Whilst this ­chapter studies another landscape bounded and characterised by trees, in physical and notional terms the novelistic woodscapes of The Woodlanders are concentrated on a much more limited geographical scale. The ­arboreal domain of Hardy’s novel is a self-contained space defined by the inward-looking ancient woodland community found therein; as the beginning of the narrative reveals, this is a society of trees and people unsettled by any external intrusion. Bearing this in mind, a different form of close analysis is required to comprehend this environment and the layered arboreal

140  Ancient trees and arboreal strata discourses embedded within this textual landscape. As this study reveals, this is a mode of observation that moves inwards, rather than branching outwards, and yet, this does not limit the author’s engagement with wider arboreal and environmental concerns. The second part of this chapter investigates how Hardy directs the reader (as outsider) to negotiate these fictional spaces from bough to root, within and across a reading of the novel. To do this, I consider how the novel allows for engagement with a multi-layered aesthetic and historical framework: a framework that shares similarities with Gilpin’s silvicultural viewpoint, as well as with interconnected natural history and geological writings from the nineteenth century. To quote a form of twenty-first century terminology, in many ways this chapter as a whole strives to ‘deep map’ this terrain and text, producing a ‘finely detailed […] depiction of [how] a place and the people […] and [the] objects within it […] are thus inseparable from the contours and rhythms of everyday life’ (Bodenhamer, Corrigan, and Harris, 2015: p. 3). Deep ­mapping is a technique used in the spatial humanities, and is concerned with the accumulation of human and natural history as place-based data; this spatial data can then be implemented within geographic information systems (GIS) to give a three-dimensional view of a specific terrain and its layers of history next to one another. Susan Naramore Maher suggests that what ‘distinguishes a deep map […] is its insistence on capturing a plethora of interconnected stories from a particular location, a distinctive place, and framing the landscape within this indeterminate complexity’ (Maher, 2014: pp. 10–11). Using the trees in The Woodlanders as a starting point, I will not only consider the horizontal and narratological progress of the novel, but also reconcile this lateral process with how the text itself demands a kind of ‘vertical travel’ (Cronin, 2016: p. 58): a literal and notional scrutiny of the layers of arboreal experience that have, and continue to occur and accumulate around these arboreal specimens. Conceptually, this chapter attempts to frame the historical complexity of Hardy’s woodland landscape through an analysis of the multifaceted creation of the Hintock terrain. As numerous scholars have contemplated, Hardy’s narratives deal with broad issues of scale—often in relation to ideas of time, astronomy, ­evolution, and geology—and how they relate to the limit(s) of human experience, placement, and existential enquiry.2 As described above, the textual correlation between Hardy’s ancient tree and Darwin’s evolutionary tree analogy exemplifies that this gesture can also happen at the level of non-­human description, however small-scale the environment or object in q ­ uestion. In the 2019 article, ‘Scale in Tess in Scale’, Benjamin Morgan builds upon this critical consensus by thinking about how the Hardian ­representation of scale corresponds to literary concepts of historicism, and how Hardy’s novels might contribute to Aanthropocentric reflections and perceptions of scale in our current climate crisis. Morgan puts forward the suggestion that ‘Hardy does not merely thematise interactions among divergent timescales; he makes these interactions a structuring feature of narrative form, such that the

Ancient trees and arboreal strata  141 novel acquires the formal capacity to induce layered modes of durational awareness’ (Morgan, 2019: p. 53). For Hardy, deep time and human scales are scrutinised alongside one another in the inherent form and structure of his narratives, and across his oeuvre. Morgan argues that the intersection of these scales does not resign humans to insignificance; instead, it provides a framework for thinking about how scale (in all its forms) is inherently a human construction (2009: p. 59). Hintock may be a little world by the scales and standards of many Victorian novels (and even other Hardian texts), but the trees within this environment are microcosms within this already small sphere. The ensuing investigation observes how scales of tree time and layers of woodland history (inside and outside the text) accumulate alongside and in relation to the human characters in The Woodlanders. Subsequently, it also demonstrates that the contained arboreal space of this novel can be read productively in relation to deeper scales of time, and that a broader stratified mode of observing these scenes can offer a productive means to comprehend Hintock’s layered environs, simultaneously. In both cases (and in the next chapter too) the figure or grouping of the tree is an intermediary entity, another kind of scale to be considered in proximity to the human and the geological. In reading ancient trees and arboreal strata, this chapter traces how The Woodlanders is a ‘dynamic representation of memory and place’, and this can be identified in the natural, silvicultural, and human histories that occur and accrue there (Bodenhamer, Corrigan, and Harris, 2015: p. 5). Undoubtedly, in thinking about The Woodlanders as part of a silvicultural exchange of ideas at a novelistic level, this is another human construction placed over a span of time and space. However, trees and tree spaces offer a relatable— but still non-human—scale in spatial and temporal terms, through which to consider the human place within the environment. Similarly to Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing’s contemporary study of the Matsutake mushroom as an exemplary being from which to learn ‘collaborative survival’ in an evolving environment and economy, the tree can be studied as a single or grouped body in combination with multiple lives and environment(s), and therefore can be read as a didactic entity (Tsing, 2015: p. 20). This chapter considers how Hardy’s novel uses the figure and grouping of the tree as a smaller and non-linear scale through which humans, inside and outside the text, can comprehend (and learn) their own ecological roles in a changing landscape.

Arboreal accumulation and the ‘Billy Wilkins’ tree Evelyn’s Silva (1664) encouraged aristocratic landowners to care for their t­ imber after the civil war; Gilpin’s Forest Scenery (1791) inspired readers to ­locate, record, and acknowledge the arboreal aesthetics of the New Forest; and Coleman’s Our Woodlands examined the ecological significance of Britain’s ­woodscapes. Moreover, these texts are directly interconnected: Coleman references Gilpin’s studies, Gilpin cites ‘Mr Evelin’ repeatedly, and Evelyn

142  Ancient trees and arboreal strata alludes to the fund of arboreal writings that have gone before, looking back as far as Pliny’s Natural History (Gilpin, 1794, 2: 34). Despite the fact that he is a novelist rather than a naturalist, even today Hardy’s works are part of this tradition. Hardy’s negotiation of trees in The Woodlanders features as an authority in modern silvicultural dialogue; in Roger Deakin’s Wildwood (2008) for example, over the physical and narratological course of this journey the author is repeatedly reminded of the arboreal space of Hardy’s novel. When Deakin is walnut-harvesting in the Pyrenees he recalls the environs of The Woodlanders (Deakin, 2008: p. 311); for this nature-writer, Hardy’s novel becomes a credible representation of a community’s reliance upon their environs and arboreal practices. Moreover, the prominence of references to The Woodlanders in written accounts of forestry history suggests that Hardy’s depiction of this working landscape is not only accurate, but serves as a truthful representation of arboreal practice(s). In this novel, Hardy refers to an array of woodland work, cultivation, and craft: Marty makes wooden spars and strips trees of their bark for a ‘copse-ware merchant’, whilst Melbury and Winterborne assist one another with their seasonal ‘timber and copse-ware business’ and ‘apple and cider trade’, respectively (Hardy, 2009: pp. 16, 23). Moreover, in the detail of the novel, Hardy is also very specific about the tools being used in these processes; for instance, he refers to a ‘billhook’ being employed on a number of occasions by different characters in striking down boughs, chopping wood, and peeling bark.3 However, as Tsouvalis and Watkins point out in their study of forestry between 1890 and 1939, The Woodlanders also evidences the ‘long, quiet decline in traditional woodland techniques, such as coppicing, which went largely unnoticed by contemporary chroniclers’; more specifically, it records the shift to the usage of metal (rather than wooden) utensils in woodland practices (Tsouvalis and Watkins, 2000: pp. 371, 374). Tsouvalis and Watkins refer their reader to Hardy’s introduction to the 1912 Wessex edition to evidence this claim, wherein he states: In respect of the occupations of the characters, the adoption of iron utensils and implements in agriculture, and the discontinuance of thatched roofs for cottages, have almost extinguished the handicrafts classed formerly as ‘copsework’ and the type of men who engaged in them. (2000: p. 374) By his own authorial admission, Hardy’s novel witnesses the traditions of ‘copsework’ as they started to diminish through agricultural and technological change, and so The Woodlanders should be read as a fictional and historical record of arboreal husbandry. The fact that ‘contemporary chroniclers’ have overlooked these small but accumulative changes suggests that accounts of this ‘copse work’ in decline are somewhat rare; and in this case, it is Hardy’s fictional account that is used to fill this historical gap in silvicultural knowledge.

Ancient trees and arboreal strata  143

Figure 4.1  ‘The Fruit Grower’s Guide: Vintage Illustration of Tools’. Photograph courtesy of Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.

In H. L. Edlin’s history of Woodland Crafts in Britain: An Account of the Traditional Uses of Trees and Timbers in the British Countryside (1949), he states that Thomas Hardy in his Woodlanders has left an interesting record of this [coppice] trade, as carried on in West Dorset in the latter half of the nineteenth century. The rate paid for making spars was only eighteenpence per thousand, to-day it may be as many shillings. Travelling ­sparmakers would come to the woodlands when the demand was at its peak, turning to other trades at other seasons. (Edlin, 1949: p. 68) Edlin overlooks the fact that this is a novelistic representation of an a­ ctual place, it serves as a ‘record’ regardless of its fiction. As a depiction of a woodland community and environment then, The Woodlanders transcends the limitations of its textual and generic boundaries in this authoritative ­capacity; it becomes a notional arboreal ecology, a place in the memory to

144  Ancient trees and arboreal strata be recalled through silvicultural association. Hardy’s woodscapes form part of a much larger literary and physical landscape, and as such it is at once tangible and imagined space because it blurs (and problematises) the reader’s comprehension of geographical specificity. Hardy famously ­described his fictional terrain as a ‘partly real, partly dream-country’ (Hardy, 1966: p. 9); yet, the integration between the ‘real’ and ‘dream’ landscapes of ­Wessex is not simply a dichotomous concern, but also a constantly fluctuating ­process that records changes in Hardy’s landscape associations (and therefore in the reader’s observations too). Wessex is a shifting set of ideas, an evolving landscape. In the composition of The Woodlanders in particular, Hardy questions how spectators read the arboreal environment and how they access the knowledge that the silvicultural tradition maintains. Dale Kramer h ­ ighlights how in the revisions to The Woodlanders, Hardy readjusted ‘place names and distances to fit the Wessex (Dorset) topography’, noting that he ‘sensed a responsibility to accuracy in asserting that the events of his ­novels take place in an ascertainable geographical region’ (Kramer, 1971: pp. 260, 268). Kramer argues that Hardy altered the fictional terrain of Wessex to correspond more closely with the recognisable features of Dorset scenery. However, in the same article he records that ‘Hardy gives attention to his descriptions of nature primarily in the earlier sets of revisions’ of The Woodlanders, and that ‘no revisions of passages about nature occur in the Osgood edition, and the 1912 edition has but one’ (1971: pp. 274, 275). Kramer’s discussion suggests that Hardy was more concerned with alterations to geographical specificity rather than the passages that dealt with ‘nature description’, and in doing so draws a contrast between these components. This presents the question of what the differences between these two topographical concerns are, and how Hardy sought to differentiate them stylistically. At a first glance, the difference between geographical specificity and ‘nature description’ is perhaps obvious enough. Hardy was more concerned with changing how his dream Wessex notionally mapped out onto the real physical scenery of Dorset; whilst nature description is already part of the narrative itself, it is a figurative, largely aesthetic, and at times symbolic manipulation of landscape that corresponds with what is happening in the narrative. Kramer is of the opinion that whilst geographical specificity fluctuated across editions, Hardy’s imaginative associations with the landscape remained largely unchanged in the latter versions. Therefore, with this viewpoint in mind, across the editions of The Woodlanders, the modern reader is presented with a multiplicity of physical locational choices that form around the narrative. Whilst Kramer would indicate that Hardy’s imaginary view of landscape remained more or less constant, this composition in itself challenges the reader’s perception of the limits of landscape. Matthew Johnson argues that landscape is a ‘way of seeing, a way of thinking about the physical world [Johnson’s emphasis]’ (Johnson, 2007: p. 4). Landscape is utilised in metaphorical terms, perhaps as a form of pathetic

Ancient trees and arboreal strata  145 fallacy, in an attempt to personalise or notionalise this space. In describing nature in subjective terms of personal association, we consider ourselves to have an important place within this environment, but also hope to find evidence that the ‘real’ landscape can reflect a kind of sympathy with our existence as well. Equally, landscape is necessary to orientate this existence in the physical world; it becomes a cartographical form, the space through which individuals record and negotiate their lives. Paradoxically, as Kramer suggests, it is the metaphorical associations that remain fixed for Hardy’s arboreal environment, whilst the physical locale shifts under the scrutiny of the reader’s viewpoint. An examination of a specific ancient oak (a real tree in Dorset) that Hardy engages with in The Woodlanders, named Billy Wilkins, will reveal how these manifestations of landscape, real and imaginary, are not only reliant upon one another, but also become less distinct through silvicultural association inside and outside the novel. Through this intermittent engagement with ‘Billy Wilkins’, Hardy’s The Woodlanders becomes one of the transitory narratives indelibly bound up with the narrative of this real physical tree, confronting preconceptions of what we mean by ‘real’ and ‘dream’ space, in a physical and cultural space that quite appropriately avoids an absolute history to begin with. Coleman states that ‘[throughout] our land, there is hardly a district that is without its oaks, remarkable for their immense age, size, or legendary and historical associations’ and in this text he identifies ‘notable examples’ living in Britain (Coleman, 1859: p. 8). Coleman draws attention to a number of ancient trees that Evelyn and Gilpin note in their writings, specimens such as the ‘Haunted Oak’ and ‘Cadenham Oak’ (1859: pp. 9–10). These individual trees are isolated and named after their location, or in relation to the narratives, histories, and events that have happened around them. They are conspicuous because of their geographical place in the landscape and their relation to human experience that has occurred there. In The Great Trees of Dorset, Pollard and Brawn identify such noteworthy trees that are of cultural and historical value to this locality, referring to specimens such as ‘Judge Wyndham’s Oak’ and ‘The Martyrs’ Tree’ (Pollard and Brawn, 2009: pp. 54–57, 60–61). Pollard and Brawn discuss familiar specimens in the tradition of Coleman and his forbears, and the ‘Billy Wilkins’ tree is highlighted as one significant arboreal example: This notable oak is named Billy Wilkins after William Wilkins who was a bailiff to Sir John Strangways […] who owned the estate between 1606 and 1664. Melbury House and its surrounding park was probably created either at the time or shortly afterwards. However Billy Wilkins definitely existed before the park was established. (Pollard and Brawn, 2009: p. 68) This tree is an interesting site because of its ambiguous existence: the identifiable physical locale in which it is situated has shifted around it. As Pollard

146  Ancient trees and arboreal strata and Brawn suggest, very little is actually known about this oak’s existence before it was surrounded by the estate. In terms of nineteenth-century tree writing, Billy Wilkins gets a short biography in Loudon’s Arboretum Britannicum (1838): At Melbury Park there is an old oak, called Billy Wilkins, which is 50ft. high, spreads 60ft., and has a trunk 8ft. high before it breaks into branches, which is 30ft. in circumference at the smallest part, and 37ft. at the collar. It is a remarkably gnarled knotty tree, and is called by Mitchell, in his Dendrologia, “as curly, surly, knotty an old monster as can be conceived”; though for marble-grained furniture, he adds, it would sell at a guinea per foot. (Loudon, 1838, 3:1759) Loudon’s biography of the ancient tree relies upon its material dimensions and physical scale, and though he quotes Dendrologia (1827) to add colour to this history, the entirety of this description is actually a paraphrased passage from James Mitchell’s original text.4 This tree has a silvicultural history, but there are limitations to the arboreal knowledge surrounding its name and past. Furthermore, in the absence of factual detail, Billy Wilkins becomes an ancient tree with a literary history. In William Harrison Ainsworth’s historical novel Boscobel (1871), Billy Wilkins is a landmark that is interconnected with the narrative of another ancient tree, the ‘Royal Oak’ in the parish of Boscobel, the famed tree that Charles II used for refuge from his captors: Melbury Park […] contained […] a huge patriarch of the forest, the trunk of which was enormous. The tree has been well described as a “curly, surly, knotty old monster.” “That old tree is called Billy Wilkins, my liege—wherefore I know not”, remarked Colonel Wyndham. “It deserves a better appellation”, replied Charles, laughing. (Ainsworth, 1900: p. 309) Similarly to Loudon, the narrator here refers to James Mitchell’s description of the “curly, surly, knotty old monster” from Dendrologia; in doing so, the narrator quotes a nineteenth-century text as a silvicultural descriptor in setting up seventeenth-century historical events within this novel. Moreover, Ainsworth still makes reference to the ambiguous “appellation” and existence of this tree: in the narrative it is a landmark that allows for imaginative association, and in the novel it is noted that Charles himself is found ‘examining the gnarled trunk of Billy Wilkins, and wondering what the age of the old monster could be’ (Ainsworth, 1900: p. 310). This tree is notable because of its mystery, and it is given cultural prominence through historical speculation and fictional representation. Billy Wilkins is therefore

Ancient trees and arboreal strata  147 a valuable tree in its capacity for imaginative engagement. The fictional and non-fictional modes of authority surrounding this tree illustrate, once again, how the silvicultural tradition can challenge what constitutes natural history knowledge. Sixteen years later, Hardy, a reader of Ainsworth, makes reference to this oak in the first edition of The Woodlanders: The mare paced along with firm and cautious tread through the copse where Winterborne had worked, and into the heavier soil where the oaks grew: past Great Willy, the largest oak in the wood, and thence towards Tutcombe Bottom, intensely dark now with overgrowth, and popularly supposed to be haunted by the spirits of the fratricides ­exorcised from Hintock House. (Hardy, 1998: p. 254)5 However, ‘Great Willy’ and its narratives of ‘fratricides’ are not merely ­features of a historical novel: Billy Wilkins is part of Hardy’s Wessex, ­subsumed within the ‘real’ and ‘dream’ dichotomy of this landscape. The mention of the ‘fratricides’ that happened here, though vague in itself, is Hardy’s invention; whilst little is known about this tree, Hardy appropriates this arboreal ambiguity for his own purposes. The superstitious narrative of ‘fratricides’ is mentioned earlier by Melbury in his ‘ancient timber-stories’ after the felling in chapter nineteen, when he attempts to include the doctor within the arboreal traditions of Hintock (Hardy, 1998: p. 124). At this point, the reader recalls this earlier instance, but here, instead of forming part of a courtship ritual, the ‘fratricides’ foreshadow the violence between the husband and father-in-law. The narrative of this tree serves as a landmark within the overall narrative of The Woodlanders, a reminder of the passage of temporal rather than spatial progress. ‘Great Willy’ is a part of Melbury’s and Fitzpiers’s course through the Hintock woods, a landmark that also forms part of the nature description here, and in the narrative itself. The significance of ‘Great Willy’ in Hardy’s record of fictional events offers an insight into his editing process. Between the initial run in Macmillan’s Magazine (1886–1887) to the first edition (quoted above), Hardy changed the location within this passage from ‘Nellcombe’ to ‘Tutcombe’ (Hardy, 1887: p. 228).6 However, in the later versions, the Osgood (1896) and Wessex (1912) collected editions, Hardy changed ‘Tutcombe’ to ‘Marshcombe’, and removed all reference to ‘Great Willy’ and the narrative of ‘fratricides’: The mare paced along with firm and cautious tread through the copse where Winterborne had worked, and into the heavier soil where the oaks grew: thence towards Marshcombe Bottom, intensely dark now with overgrowth, and popularly supposed to be haunted by spirits. (Hardy, 2009: pp. 227–228)7

148  Ancient trees and arboreal strata J. B. Bullen argues that ‘Hardy removed the reference to this famous tree for fear of placing the action firmly on the Ilchester estate’ (Bullen, 2013: p. 133). Despite such political motivation, the effect of this omission is particularly interesting; in erasing a specific reference point, all appellation altogether, this decision deliberately blurs the geographical location. Much more than this, the passage becomes simply ‘nature description’. Therefore, in the substitution of ‘Tutcombe’ to ‘Marshcombe’ in this passage, the appellation of ‘Marshcombe’ can serve simply as a literal descriptive reminder of this terrain. Once again, the relationship between ‘geographical specificity’ and ‘nature description’ is dialogous, and in the omission of this ancient tree Hardy loses a web of narratological and inter-topographical connections between and within his ‘real’ and ‘dream’ landscapes. In following this process, the modern reader loses a silvicultural landmark in the course of the narrative, and so changes in landscape have a disorientating effect on the perception of Wessex inside and outside the novel. In referring to a ‘real’ tree, paradoxically, Hardy makes his ‘dream’ landscape more tangible, and through this loss the reader is further displaced from Wessex. The omission of Billy Wilkins as an object on the terrain has an equal impact upon silvicultural association, forcing the spectator to readjust the aesthetic, notional, historical, and memorial view of this arboreal l­ andscape. Moreover, within the novel Hardy demonstrates the influence that such topographical changes can have at a narrative level. When Grace returns to Hintock, the physical changes in the landscape destroy her memory of personal association with that space and confuses her progress through the terrain: She had not, however, traversed this the wildest part of the wood since her childhood, and the transformation of outlines had been great; old trees which once were landmarks had been felled or blown down, and the bushes […] were now large and overhanging. (Hardy, 2009: p. 216) Ancient trees serve as ‘landmarks’ for Grace, a type of nature description that forms part of her own narrative, but with the removal of these creatures, geographical specificity and personal associations are lost. Much like Margaret Hale’s return to a ‘changed’ Helstone at the end of Gaskell’s North and South (1855), the removal of trees confuses Grace’s memory of her Hintock home (Gaskell, 2008: p. 394). One’s course is a physical and temporal progress, and landmarks are objects that help to determine location on an individual or collective level through their pronounced visibility and conspicuous placement. In The Woodlanders, for Grace ancient trees are as much notional as they are physical markers in a journey, and topographical detail is as equally personalised to one’s course as nature description can be. Over the narrative, as ancient trees lose their ‘landmark’ status for Grace, she realigns her ‘course’ and instead ‘[makes Fitzpiers’s] light a landmark in

Ancient trees and arboreal strata  149 Hintock’ (Hardy, 2009: p. 181). Through her physical displacement, personal associations of location change and lose their organicism for Grace, and consequently, she renegotiates the topography of Hintock with disastrous personal consequences. In readjusting landmarks and associations, Grace forges an imaginary landscape for herself, one that is disassociated from the landscape that she and her family have traversed for generations. Grace’s notional map becomes one founded on fragile associations with an individual rather than place, and the disparity between physical and ­notional landscape distances Grace from her identity as a woodlander. Here, landmarks are notable objects, but these significant entities become objects of symbolic status representative of changes in narrative and personal perspective too. In the extensive composition of The Woodlanders, Hardy complicates how arboreal ‘landmarks’ are read both inside and outside the novel, and places great value on how individuals encounter these spaces; yet he does not ­differentiate, but blurs preconceptions of how trees are used as landscape description and as a form of geographical specificity. In a novel with a community of perspectives that jar upon one another as they come into contact with silvan scenery, and in a novel that constantly shifts geographical focus in the editing process, Hardy presents the modern reader with a world that is at once perpetually dynamic inside and outside its textual boundaries: a world in which the ‘real’ and ‘dream’ aspects of its composition are always problematised to some extent. However, throughout the compositional history of the novel, Hardy consistently takes care to foreground the centrality of the ‘old elms and ashes’ within this terrain, but also hints at the existence of ‘older trees still than these’ (Hardy, 2009: p. 48). The ancient trees are not individualised here (in the same way as Billy Wilkins), but they form part of an arboreal network. There is the sense that they recede into Hardy’s imagination, but in their community they are ­intrinsic to collective human experience in this novel, past and present. However, in The Woodlanders, rather than simply observing and identifying with these trees, ‘the trees in the novel are becoming human, and the humans are arborescent’, as Simon Gatrell expresses it (Gatrell, 2003: p. 54). This is to the extent that the trees take on human characteristics: an ‘old beech’ has ‘vast armpits’ and on ‘older trees […] huge lobes of fungi grew like lungs’ (Hardy, 2009: pp. 280, 48). In addition to this arboreal anthropomorphism, characters in the novel become ‘arborescent’. Winterborne even becomes a Green-man figure: ‘he looked and smelt like Autumn’s very brother’ (Hardy, 2009: p. 185). The woodlanders themselves become part of the silvicultural inheritance, as Hardy confuses arboreal and human existence to illustrate the physical and notional, past and present place that these trees have had in the collective psyche of Hintock. Equally, the characters in the novel are judged by how they read these trees in the landscape and the ‘special knowledge’ and ‘old association’ ­attributed to this terrain (Hardy, 2009: pp. 155, 112). Hardy makes it clear that these individual perspectives jar and coalesce within this community;

150  Ancient trees and arboreal strata the narrator records how Fitzpiers is isolated from ‘Winterborne, Melbury, and Grace’ because he cannot ‘recall […] whose hands planted the trees that form a crest to the opposite hill’, whilst Grace forgets it altogether: ‘[it] seemed as if the knowledge and interest which had formerly moved Grace’s mind had quite died away from her’ (2009: pp. 112, 39). Conversely, Hardy notes that Winterborne and Marty ‘had been possessed of [the woodland’s] finer mysteries as of commonplace knowledge’ (2009: p. 297). Hardy evades defining this ‘knowledge’ or the narratives of these trees explicitly, but in Hintock, each character’s physical and social standing is relative to their notional engagement with this landscape. Additionally, these individual arborescent perspectives impinge on one another. To quote Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing’s multiple-place-based reflections on the Matsutake mushroom, a ‘rush of stories cannot be neatly summed up. Its scales do not nest neatly; they draw attention to interrupting geographies and tempos. These interruptions elicit more stories’ (Tsing, 2015: p. 37). A ‘rush of stories’ or the arboreal existences of these woodlanders and non-woodlanders, both align and conflict with one another, creating a kind of interrupted ‘tempo’ in the perception of Hintock and its geography, and these ‘interruptions’ to the woodland ‘elicit more stories’. Fitzpiers is distanced from this community because he does not understand the importance of these trees; in this ignorance he calls for the felling of an old ‘elm of the same birth-year’ as John South, that causes the mutual death of this woodlander and his tree (2009: p. 94). Thereafter, with this death, Winterborne loses his home, as does Marty; Grace loses a lover, and Melbury is released from a restricting familial promise. In The Woodlanders, ancient trees foster not simply a surrounding ecology, but an ecology of interdependent and accumulating perspectives and narratives. In form and content, the woodland environs of a ‘real’ and ‘dream’ ­Hintock constitute a silvicultural novel in their layered composition; this is evidenced in Hardy’s shifting presentation of the woodscapes across editions, and in the role of an ancient arboreal community within the narrative itself. Hardy does not elaborate on the knowledge that is to be found in these tree spaces; yet, this knowledge is like a form of ‘hieroglyphs’ (Hardy, 2009: p. 297), a language engraved in the landscape. Whilst Hardy avoids divulging what these histories or ‘hieroglyphs’ mean, in comparing individual readings and responses to these spaces in The Woodlanders, he shows that to access this knowledge is not a form of direct translation, but the capacity to have a reverence for the memory of the forgotten. Through this, Hardy, his characters, and even the readers themselves engage with a silvicultural tradition that accumulates inside and outside the novel. Building upon this assumption, the next section of this chapter will suggest how Hardy directs the reader as spectator to scrutinise this terrain and the traditions that exist in this space. Additionally, it puts forward an aesthetic and cultural framework for reading these novelistic woodlands, a way of navigating this ­landscape of ‘hieroglyphs’ and deep arboreal memory.

Ancient trees and arboreal strata  151

Reading stratigraphical woodscapes: the intersection of aesthetics and geology An unsigned review of The Woodlanders from 1887 explains that ‘Mr Hardy has never written a novel in which the landscape takes a more important place […] it does not intrude itself, but at every point the novelist introduces some touch which brings up a picture before our eyes’ (‘An unsigned review, Saturday Review 2 April 1887’, 1979: p. 163). It may not seem particularly enlightening to remark that the ‘picture’ of the woodland would be of central importance for a novel with such a title, yet this perspective is unusual given that the landscape of The Woodlanders is a difficult space for the reader to interpret. This is not simply because Hardy edits this landscape several times across multiple editions, nor is it because Hardy himself was always unsure of its physical location, as the Preface to the 1895–1896 edition suggests: ‘I may as well confess here once for all that I do not know myself where the hamlet is more precisely than as explained […] in the pages of the narrative’ (Hardy, 2009: p. 4). Moreover, this is not to imply that Hardy’s art is lacking in any way, rather that the literary landscape of The Woodlanders is difficult to read as it consciously demands that the reader negotiate these woodlands within a particular aesthetic and cultural framework—a framework that has many affinities with the seemingly disparate modes of picturesque and geological thought in the nineteenth century. The f­ ollowing discussion unravels how this Hardian woodscape can be read in light of these ongoing and interconnected dialogues, which were inherently concerned with reading space at the outset. At the opening of the novel, the reader is introduced to Barber P ­ ercomb, a visitor to Hintock. It is made clear that the environs of Hintock are ­permeated with historical and personal memory, a terrain that remembers the ‘charioteers now perished who have rolled along the way’, ‘the blistered soles that have trodden it’, and ‘the tears that have wetted it’ (Hardy, 2009: p. 5). This woodland deals with various layers of physical and notional ­h istory, as well as recording the human encounters and experiences that have occurred there; yet it is not a familiar terrain. Hardy makes it clear that Hintock is a ‘self-contained’ place that is difficult to find, but the reader is encouraged to ‘step […] from the edge of the plantation’ and ‘pause’ (2009: pp. 5, 7). Hardy invites the reader from the outset to consider the arboreal landscape as a comprehensible, tactile, and figmental place. However, whilst it is ‘self-contained’, it is also a woodscape of seemingly unfathomable depths. Throughout the novel, the woods are depicted as having ‘deep glens’ and ‘deep[er] recess[es]’ (2009: pp. 53, 131). The repetition of ‘deep’ is suggestive of the extensive temporality and terrain of the woodland. Trees are a marker of ‘deep’ time and space here; they are almost ahistorical in their seemingly perennial immutability. The collective community at Hintock may fluctuate, but the woodscapes remain a landmark notionally fixed to this spot in the novel. Nevertheless, these woodscapes in themselves appear

152  Ancient trees and arboreal strata

Figure 4.2  Henry Macbeth-Raeburn. (1896) Frontispiece, in Thomas Hardy’s The Woodlanders. London: Osgood McIlvaine. Scanned image by Philip V. Allingham. Photograph courtesy of Victorian Web.

to have no definitive physical or temporal boundaries, and in this respect they outlive and outstretch the narratives of the novel. Furthermore, whilst it is simultaneously a ‘deep’ and ‘self-contained’ landscape, it is also a site of co-existing layers. There is ‘an apparent ­m ixture of seasons’ in this landscape concurrently; for example, ‘some of the dells’ have ‘holly berries in full red’ while others feature ‘verdure [as] rich and deep as in the month of August’ (Hardy, 2009: p. 47). This is a landscape of arboreal strata—strata of space, time, and silvicultural memory that are indelibly placed alongside one another. These are layers that Hardy wishes the reader to scrutinise, though one may question, to what purpose? If it is a successful ‘picture’, why does it function as a space that requires the reader’s imagination? Take, for instance, when Melbury is searching for Fitzpiers: [Melbury] threaded the wood hither and thither, his toes ploughing layer after layer of the little horny scrolls that had once been leaves […] He stood still listening and looking round. The breeze was oozing through the network of boughs as through a strainer; the trunks and larger branches stood against the light of the sky in the forms of sentinels, gigantic candelabra […] and whatever besides the fancy chose to make of them. (2009: p. 230)

Ancient trees and arboreal strata  153 This passage pleads with the observer to read this space, to ‘[look] around’ as Melbury does. The ‘network of boughs […] trunks and larger branches’ can be imaginatively likened to ‘whatever […] the fancy chose to make of them’; the imagination is necessary to ‘read’ this landscape. A ‘network’ is suggestive of a collection of isolated entities that interact with one another. Perhaps, quite simply, Hardy invites the reader to engage as part of this ‘network’, to ‘make of’ it what they will in the same way that a novel’s narratological content is there to be scrutinised. For Hardy, landscape and narrative are synonymous in terms of novelistic content, and in The Woodlanders these components work together, to be traced on the terrain simultaneously. The fact that the leaves themselves are likened to ‘little horny scrolls’ ­i mplies that they are pages to be read as part of the novel. Furthermore, the ­metaphor of leaves in ‘layer after layer’ draws attention to this landscape as a stratified space above and below ground: a visual and notional framework to be negotiated by Melbury and the reader. This interest in reading layers in the landscape, in literal and metaphorical terms conterminously, has an affinity with two seemingly disparate forms of perception: two ways of looking at landscape that individually permeated the cultural viewpoint in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Gilpin’s picturesque principles centred around educating the reader’s view, to adapt ‘parts of nature’s surfaces to his own eye’, but, as ‘the immensity of nature is beyond human comprehension’ (Gilpin, 1782: p. 18), the reader must still ‘allow a little to the imagination’ in this regard (1786, 1: xxvii). In his Observations on the River Wye (1782), Gilpin states that the picturesque observer is ‘confined to a span’ of space and time, and in this ‘span’, they must unify the variety of aesthetic ‘surfaces’ and temporalities imaginatively (Gilpin, 1782: p. 18). However, this literal and fanciful perusal of the natural world still works within a visual and notional framework: ‘In general, a landscape is composed of three parts—a foreground—a middle ground—and a ­distance’ (Gilpin, 1782: p. 92). Whatever location or temporality, the picturesque eye still determines the prospect of the landscape in terms of planes or layers that sit alongside one another (as in a painting), but the ‘picturesque’ view transcends a static image, as the observer must examine these ‘span[s]’ of space and time. They must read and negotiate the individual parts of a physical and changing landscape. Similarly, the metaphor of landscape as a text to be read was a common motif in geological studies of the nineteenth century. Geologists utilised this metaphorical trope of text and reading strata as an interpretative device, in an attempt to make the field more accessible. In The Wonders of Geology: Or, a Familiar Exposition of Geological Phenomena (1838), a text that Hardy had read, Mantell declares how ‘strata when accumulated in very thin layers [resemble] the seams formed by the leaves of a closed book’ (Mantell, 1848, 1:197). This is a framework that allowed geologists like Mantell to read both space and time at once, and to formulate them into a more cohesive narrative. What is more, as Virginia Zimmerman suggests, it was

154  Ancient trees and arboreal strata a visual and notional form of control over an increasingly uncontrollable nature ­(Zimmerman, 2008: p. 30). According to Martin Rudwick, geology grew out of an earlier ‘geohistorical’ approach to earth sciences; branches of natural history and natural philosophy that were concerned with ‘description, ­classification, or of causal explanation’ became infused with an interest in tracing the history of the earth, and a belief that ‘objects without words could still be made to tell a story’ (Rudwick, 2005: pp. 22, 239, 187). In the ‘historicization’ of the earth’s fossils, minerals, and strata, antiquarianism provided ‘geohistory’ with ‘crucial conceptual metaphors of nature’s documents and archives, coins and monuments, annals and chronologies’ (Rudwick, 2005: pp. 6, 651). In the oft-quoted ‘trilobite’ scene from Hardy’s A Pair of Blue Eyes (1873), for instance, the fossil is described in terms of a ‘relic’ by the narrator,8 and the passage borrows discourse from discussions of antiquarianism and geological time. As Gillian Beer points out in ­Darwin’s Plots, ‘[the scene] is often referred to in discussions of his relation to evolutionary ideas and specifically to Lyell’s discussions of geological time’ (Beer, 2009: p. 236). Hardy’s descriptive choices reveal a familiarity with a wide context of geological and natural history writing (and reading). Both the picturesque and geological discourses use the idea of layers and parts as a framework to negotiate landscape as a physical, temporal, and notional entity. Moreover, these ongoing dialogues in themselves individually informed the cultural imagination, altered the perception of landscape in their popularity, and created their own cultures of tourism that roamed across the British landscape. Whilst these ways of seeing and controlling landscape may seem distinct from what we would today differentiate as their aesthetic and scientific purposes, in fact, these modes of thought were as interdependent as the woodlanders and their arboreal environs. The picturesque as a form of imaginative perception instigated a reinterpretation of how landscape was seen in visual and temporal terms, and this popularity played a vital role in creating (and visualising) a comprehensible narrative framework for the earth’s past and continual present within geological writings. Ralph O’Connor goes as far as to suggest that geology could be seen as a ‘new branch’ of the ‘overlapping literatures of landscape aesthetics’ and ‘natural history’ (O’Connor, 2007: p. 21). In a study of ‘aesthetic geology’, Noah Heringman suggests that on reflection, Landscape aesthetics in all its ramifications appears retrospectively as a publicity campaign for geology, the modern scientific discipline that replaces the old tripartite natural history and redefines nature as the earth’s material. (Heringman, 2004: p. 10) For Heringman, the discourse of landscape aesthetics was a common feature shared by poetic and geological literature during the early nineteenth century. Geology, as a subject understood by Hardy, developed from a much

Ancient trees and arboreal strata  155 broader background of studying the natural world; this nineteenth-century science was shaped by a culture invested in the literature of antiquarianism, natural history, and landscape aesthetics. The picturesque had a place in the development of nineteenth-century natural history, and equally aspects of geology can be seen as a site for the evolution of picturesque ideas. Gilpin asserts that he ‘never found any picturesque beauty in the interior regions of the earth’ (1786, 2: 216), but whilst his writings precede that of Mantell, he certainly alludes to the potential for an imaginative foray below the earth’s surface: [These lands] […] bear little corn, it is true; but it is very immaterial what the surface produces: the harvest lies beneath. […] We had not, however, the curiosity to enter any of these mines. Our business was only on the surface. (Gilpin, 1798: p. 196) In this passage from Observations on the Western Parts of England (1798), the notable repetition of ‘surface’ makes it clear where the Gilpinesque eye halts in its observations. Comparably, in Mantell’s discussion of a cave ‘[where the stalactites and stalagmites unite] a singularly picturesque effect is produced; the caves appearing as if supported by pillars of great beauty and variety’ (Mantell, 1848, 1:78). In The Wonders of Geology, the picturesque gaze finds its way below the surface. In fact, Gilpin’s epithets of ‘picturesque’, ‘wild’, and ‘varied’ are scattered across this text, and Mantell repeatedly marvels at the ‘picturesque beauty’ or ‘the wildest and most picturesque scenery’ within which his geological investigations are situated (Mantell, 1848, 2:679–680).9 For both Gilpin and Mantell, the surface is the point of common interest, a site where this cultural intrusion—this imaginative engagement with the terrain, its ‘spans’, and the traces to be found there—begins. Trees are a suitable object for picturesque observation across Gilpin’s works because of their aesthetic variety, but they may not be the most obvious choice of subject in a geological discussion. Conversely, in both Gilpin’s and Mantell’s writings, this object functions as a space at the surface that mediates ‘strata’ above and below ground. It is an aesthetic and subterraneous object that allows for a communication of these two interconnected discourses. Gilpin suggests that an oak: when the root meets with a rocky stratum, […] is obliged, in a zig zag course to pick it’s [sic] way, and struggle for a passage; the sympathetic stem, feeling every motion, pursues the same indirect course above, which the root does below: and thus the sturdy plant […] assumes form and character; and becomes, in due course of centuries, a picturesque tree. (Gilpin, 1794, 1:23) The negotiation of strata below ground is reflected in the ‘form and character’ of the tree above the surface. The tree must ‘pick it’s way’ through ‘strata’, and

156  Ancient trees and arboreal strata this temporal and spatial progress results in ‘a picturesque tree’. The surface acts as the point where aesthetic appreciation above ground and imaginative engagement below ground can happen at once. Comparably for Mantell: At the first step we take in geological investigations, we are struck with the immense periods of time which the phenomena presented to our view must have required for their production […] But we must remember that time and change are great only with reference to the faculties of the beings which note them […] the trees and the forests, would ascribe an endless duration on the soil on which they grow. (Mantell, 1848, 1:30) For both Gilpin and Mantell, the aesthetic ‘view’ at the surface brings to mind the progress and change that manufactured the ‘phenomena’ in question, as it now stands before the observer; the ‘trees’ assume a character in relation to the spatial and temporal ‘duration’ that they encompass as a growing entity. Gilpin considers this as a process that happens in both directions, whilst Mantell sees this ‘endless duration’ as happening upon the soil ‘on which [the trees] grow’. This ‘on’ is suggestive of the surface point where this development happens, irrespective of direction. The growth of the tree is a two-part process, an engagement with surface and ‘strata’ with which the ‘view’ allows the observer to imaginatively engage. Hardy’s fiction attempts to direct the reader to see the ‘deeper reality ­underlying the scenic’, and he uses this geological analogy to illustrate that his novels are self-confessedly concerned with delving below the surface of the landscape, in an attempt to achieve a more fully realised version of reality (Hardy, 1928: p. 242). Whilst this comment in itself is rather vague in its clarification of a ‘deeper reality’, it proves that Hardy saw his novels as working within an imaginative and aesthetic framework; a spatial and t­ emporal view that engaged with the idea of a surface to be read in both directions; a surface as text and landscape, metaphor and mimesis. Like Gilpin and Mantell, Hardy uses the arboreal environs of Hintock (and its inhabitants) as a vehicle to explore this stratigraphical conception of landscape: They had planted together, and […] together they had, with the run of the years, mentally collected those remoter signs and symbols which, seen in few, were of runic obscurity, but all together made an alphabet. […] They knew by a glance at a trunk if its heart were sound, or tainted with incipient decay, and by the state of its upper twigs, the stratum that had been reached by its roots. (Hardy, 2009: p. 298) The woodlanders themselves are aware of that mirror-line between the aesthetic view of a tree and what is happening below the surface, and more importantly, how these two domains respond to one another.

Ancient trees and arboreal strata  157 Giles Winterborne, the character most associated with the woodscapes in this novel, is the woodlander who most successfully mediates the arboreal strata above and below ground. In a geological narrative, the observer must make their way across and down through parallel planes of the earth. Comparably, Giles watches Melbury and Grace make their way across the surface of the woodland: in the magazine edition, the narrator specifies how ‘Winterborne followed and kept his eye on the two figures as they threaded their way through these sylvan phenomena’ (Hardy, 1886: p. 91). In general usage, ‘phenomena’ can denote the existence of something remarkable, but the term was also used in geological contexts, as evidenced in the text and subtitle of Mantell’s The Wonders of Geology: Or, a Familiar Exposition of Geological Phenomena.10 In these circumstances, the use of ‘sylvan phenomena’ can have scientific connotations as it suggests that this is not only a site to be observed, but also a visual and structural site from which significant readings can be found. It is not just the ‘figures’ that are watched in motion independently, but how these figures move through and are coeval with this space as well. Latterly, Hardy edited ‘phenomena’ to ‘masses’ in this passage, and though this perhaps has a less direct link with the terminology of geological science, ‘masses’ is still a surprisingly technical term to convey the density of the woods in this case (Hardy, 2009: p. 48).11 Moreover, Hardy does not just describe Winterborne in relation to such space or attach him with a particular jargon, or even have him observe ‘phenomena’ from afar, but he has Giles encounter and traverse the stratum of the woodland physically too. Winterborne observes the sylvan scenes at work; he plants trees in the earth; his ‘fingers were endowed with a gentle conjuror’s touch in spreading the roots of each little tree […] in their proper directions for growth’ (Hardy, 2009: p. 59). He directs these trees with which he feels a ‘sympathy’, projecting their growth into the strata of the earth (2009: p. 58). Furthermore, Giles physically roams aerial as well as earthly strata in the narrative too. Hardy refers to ‘mist-stratum’ in Tess of the D’Urbervilles (1891) (2008: p. 146) and the ‘stratum […] of light’ in The Return of the Native (1878) as a means to denote the aesthetic effect of ‘planes of illumination’, mist, and light in the atmosphere, in an almost impressionistic composition of space (1999: p. 113). However, in The Woodlanders this is not simply a form of complex aesthetic description; but this is also an airy space that Giles can pass through by climbing a tree: cutting himself off more and more from all intercourse with the sublunary world. At last he had worked himself so high up in the elm, and the mist had so thickened, that he could only just be discerned as a dark grey spot on the light grey zenith. (2009: p. 85) Giles thus negotiates strata in both senses of the word: the ability to traverse the landscape as surface and text offers him a kind of mobility that other observers do not possess.

158  Ancient trees and arboreal strata Hardy certainly invites the reader to see this landscape in similar terms, to mediate the distance between root and aerial strata even when trees are not the object in view: ‘this self-contained place rose in stealthy silence tall stems of smoke, which the eye of imagination could trace downward to their root on quiet hearth-stones’ (Hardy, 2009: p. 7). The ‘eye of imagination’ that is so familiar to picturesque and geological discourse, can negotiate the surface of this landscape in terms of stratigraphical and arboreal layers; yet there is still the sense that the reader cannot access this surface in the same way that the inhabitants of Hintock can. For the woodlanders themselves, the reading of the landscape in terms of this stratigraphical framework is largely an imaginative process, but a process that has become intrinsically linked with personal and local history there over ‘the run of the years’. The repetition of ‘they’ (‘They had planted together […] roots’) at once unifies and isolates the woodlanders as a community, distanced from the reader in their personal associations with place. Space is equally memorial as it is physical and notional here. If the reader is invited to scrutinise this woodscape as I have already suggested, how can this reading occur if the traces to be read, the ‘signs and symbols’ in the layers of landscape can only be ‘seen [by] few’? In this sense, the reader is distanced from reading and therefore restricted from traversing all aspects of this landscape and narrative. Just as picturesque and geological discourses placed a framework over a seemingly unknowable nature, in order to negotiate the unknowable, the reader must find a trace of the familiar in the ‘strata’ of landscape composition, to ‘pick’ their way through the terrain imaginatively. In The Woodlanders, the reader is expected to traverse a landscape imbued with memory, but in order to do this, they must see this space as a site of cultural appropriation and translation simultaneously. In Hardy’s description of landscape, he leaves details within the textual surface for the reader (as outsider) to unravel, read, and follow. Admittedly, trees are an unusual space for geological discourse, but these traces left by Hardy are very often noticeable because of their tension with the ‘self-­contained’ culture that The Woodlanders describes. In these references, Hardy makes way for readerly engagement through such instances of cultural appropriation, ones which would be unfamiliar to the ‘self-contained’ community at Hintock. Take, for example, the following composition of arboreal description from the latter stages of the novel: Above stretched an old beech […] [of] past times; […] Dead boughs were scattered about like ichthyosauri in a museum, and beyond them were perishing woodbine stems resembling old ropes. (Hardy, 2009: p. 280) The example of the ‘Trilobite’ fossil in A Pair of Blue Eyes is of a literal object ‘imbedded’ in the strata of a cliff face. However, the ichthyosaur reference is ‘imbedded’ metaphorically within the layers of landscape

Ancient trees and arboreal strata  159 description: it is not of importance to the plot or sequence of events, but is a cultural register that the reader must observe and correlate with the image of a dying beech. The ichthyosaur was a fossilised ancient reptile, an ‘extraordinary [specimen]’ associated with geological and palaeontological discourse in the nineteenth century (Mantell, 1848, 2:431). Whilst a view of the shape of such a creature with its stunted limbs may in some lights resemble the branch of a tree aesthetically, this is undoubtedly an unusual use of metaphor within these layers of description. This image would have been a familiar one at the time, since many ichthyosauri were brought from Dorset to the London museums; this is perhaps why Hardy refers to the boughs as ‘scattered’, suggesting both careless placement and plentiful supply. Moreover, the ichthyosaur had an important place in visual cultures: from the illustrations of John Martin, to scrapbooks of chromolithographs, it formed part of the zoological exhibition at the Crystal Palace, and was made famous by Henry De La Beche’s satirical sketches.12 The prehistoric creature had a place in Victorian culture and tourism, and in this popularisation it can be seen as representative of the modernising diversification of geological awareness, travel, and thought; this is a form of knowledge that a Victorian reader could bring to a text. It is evident that Hardy refers to a continuing silvicultural memory in this landscape: the ‘past times’ that are associated with the ‘old beech’, but he also demonstrates an awareness of a web of geological

Figure 4.3  ‘A Fossil Ichthyosaur, a Marine Reptile from the Lower Jurassic Shales of Hotzmaden, Germany. The skeleton in permineralized’. Photograph courtesy of Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0  International (CC BY 4.0).

160  Ancient trees and arboreal strata texts circulating in the cultural domain at the same time. In this context, the reference is as much a comment upon cultural appropriation as geological investigation. In this description, the ‘ichthyosauri’ allusion serves as a text for the reader to comprehend amongst the layers of arboreal description, but how does this cultural ‘trace’ function in an isolated woodscape? If Hardy encourages the reader to place this surface and its narratives within a stratigraphical framework, the ichthyosaur works as a ‘trace’ for the reader to scrutinise in this context, to bring the scale of their own knowledge into the seemingly unknowable space of Hintock. It functions similarly to the ‘Trilobite’ embedded in the cliff face for Knight. For Buckland, ‘objects of geology and natural history’ in A Pair of Blue Eyes ‘do not exist […] without the contraptions and texts which house them and give them meaning’; furthermore, Hardy uses ‘the geological object in order to articulate the value of provincial forms of knowledge’ (Buckland, 2008: pp. 14, 18). The trilobite fossil is given meaning through the spectator’s pre-existing geological and cultural knowledge, and becomes a symbol of modern (and metropolitan) learning; however, it is also an object that is from, and found with an awareness of the provincial landscape. Equally, in The Woodlanders, the

Figure 4.4  Sir Henry De La Beche. (1830) Ichthyosaurs Attending a Lecture on Fossilised Human Remains [lithograph]. Photograph courtesy of Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0  International (CC BY 4.0).

Ancient trees and arboreal strata  161 ichthyosaur illustration brings with it a form of modernising cultural knowledge that helps give meaning to a rural landscape. However, this marine reptile is an entity that would be alien to the isolated culture of Hintock; yet, it is not a material object at all, but a figurative allusion within Hardy’s description. In this sense then, the reference to the ichthyosaur is an intrusion upon the layers of the woodland and its past, for the reader to uncover and unravel specifically. This assumption raises the question of whether the reader’s own perspective becomes intrusive or disrupts this landscape, but yet again, it must be remembered that Hardy has composed this landscape to be ‘read’ by those who encounter its arboreal boundaries, as the beginning of the novel directs, even if the reader has to traverse a different (imaginary) course to that of the individual characters within the novel. These moments of description within the overall stratigraphical framework are not isolated instances separated from the narrative: the comprehension and intrusion of this space is central to the narratological trajectory of The Woodlanders. Like the ichthyosaur, there are various moments in the overall narrative (as well as Hardy’s landscape description) that intrude upon this space as the characters thread their way through it. For instance, Grace’s return to the woodland from her ‘fashionable’ school and the ‘evergreen leaves’ of a London ‘suburb’ comes with an altered perspective of herself, the other inhabitants of Hintock, and in how they perceive her too (Hardy, 2009: p. 39). As she stands next to her father, the narrator suggests that ‘her modern attire [looked] almost odd where everything else was old-fashioned, and throwing over the familiar garniture of the trees a homeliness that seemed to demand improvement’ (2009: pp. 49–50).  Under the apparent transformation of her world-view and physical appearance, Grace strives to reconcile her newly cultured persona to the ‘old-fashioned’ environs of Hintock, but the contrast is so marked that even the trees appear inadequate next to her person—she disrupts the ‘homeliness’ of the arboreal community. In addition to this, more physical and narratological intrusions occur upon this landscape with the entrance of two other key characters, the ‘fashionable Fitzpiers’ and the ‘wandering’ Mrs Charmond (2009: pp. 248, 54). These characters move in and out of Hintock society, and in their awareness of ‘changing fashion’ are outsiders in this space that impose this ‘fashion’ upon the ‘self-contained’ Hintock (2009: p. 239). Mrs Charmond’s residence in Hintock even draws other outsiders into this space; Winterborne finds an ‘American’ (supposedly one of Charmond’s previous lovers) upon ‘the verge of the wood’, for instance (2009: p. 137). Upon finding Charmond absent the man goes away without leaving ‘a trace of himself’ (2009: p. 138). The use of ‘trace’ is telling, as the man thinks himself unnoticed, but Hardy makes it clear that there were onlookers at this scene: ‘girls who related the story added that he sighed three times before he swore […] but this part of the narrative was not corroborated’ (2009: p. 138). The South Carolinian leaves a ‘trace’, a narrative that intervenes in this environment. The mobility and shifting

162  Ancient trees and arboreal strata perspectives of each of these characters act as an impingement upon the landscape. To use a geological analogy, these instances have a catastrophic effect upon the accumulated silvicultural histories, traditions, and generations of woodlanders within this space. Zimmerman defines ‘catastrophism’ as an interpretation of ‘the geological record to reveal a series of great catastrophes’ (Zimmerman, 2008: p. 29). The presence of certain fossilised traces in the stratigraphical layers of the earth’s surface was one way of conceptualising the prehistoric narrative of the planet. Certain geologists (Mantell included) believed that the dominant presence and pattern of fossilised creatures in between layers of the earth’s crust can be representative of the natural disasters that caused the demise of these species. Furthermore, when the strata of the earth were read chronologically, interpreting these fossilised traces allowed geologists to piece together the narrative of the earth’s history. To use this theory metaphorically here, these moments of cultural intrusion in The Woodlanders dramatically shape the existing traditions and relationships between the woodlanders and the layers of their landscape. In discussing ‘catastrophism’ in this way, I am not attempting to draw a comparison between ‘uniformitarian’ and ‘catastrophic’ perspectives, as two distinct forms of narrative or record to be placed on this narrative (or even as a reflection of Hardy’s geological and narratological views). In Novel Science: Fiction and the Invention of Nineteenth-Century Geology, Buckland suggests that these modes of thought have been ‘misinterpreted in literary criticism’, as in fact, geologists never separated into two distinct ‘schools’ (Buckland, 2013: pp. 263, 108). Nor did geologists suggest that ‘geological change took place [only] by the accumulation of imperceptibly gradual processes’, and ‘nobody ever speculated that the earth operated via only catastrophic means’; catastrophic events were part of the gradual processes of the earth’s history (2013: pp. 107–108). Bearing this in mind, Hardy’s The Woodlanders offers a way of viewing (and reading) accumulative and catastrophic frameworks concurrently. Hardy establishes this dynamic from the beginning: he notes that Hintock is ‘one of those sequestered spots outside the gates of the world’, but in the ‘concentrated passions and closely knit interdependence of the lives therein’ that this environment creates, ‘dramas of grandeur’ can happen (Hardy, 2009: p. 7). In this isolated arboriculture, any intrusions or unusual traces from beyond ‘the gates of the world’ have an impact upon the undisturbed accumulation of local history, knowledge, and therefore the observer’s comprehension of that place, physically and narratologically. There is a disjunction between this environment and the traces of intrusive knowledge and cultural change that characters like Grace, Fitzpiers, Mrs Charmond, and even the reader bring to Hintock. This tension has an effect upon the reading of the environment and the narratives of that space, for reader and character. For instance, Winterborne realises that after Grace’s metropolitan education, she is now on an ‘elevated plane’ that he cannot reach, despite the fact that he can

Ancient trees and arboreal strata  163 traverse the many-layered woodlands physically and notionally (Hardy, 2009: p. 77). Hardy repeatedly emphasises this distance: that Winterborne believes Grace is ‘so far removed’ from himself that he cannot sympathise with her cultured, ­other-worldly perspective (2009: p. 159). Giles fails to secure the life to which he aspires in this novel, in part, due to his inability to reconcile his microcosmic view of Hintock with a view of the world beyond the ‘gates’ of this community. Yvonne Bezrucka suggests that ‘enclosed communities’ like Hintock are ‘social organisms, concretions of space, people, and time, wherein traditions […] are perceived as the “identity” of a community’ and ‘new ideas […] coming from the outside, once they set in, change the previous environment and hybridize the status quo’ (2007: p. 347). Bezrucka sees modernity in The Woodlanders as having an unsettling impact on tradition, and points out that a melding of these concepts develops across this novel. Meanwhile, in a more general scrutiny of Hardy’s work, Alison Adler Kroll points out that Hardy presents the past through the ‘materiality of the artifactual’; historic objects in the landscape allow for the intersection of tradition and modernity, and ultimately, they are representative of an ‘accumulative’ national identity in ‘a world of ineluctable change’ (2009: p. 335). For Kroll, objects or landmarks in Hardy’s oeuvre are where past, present, and future identities are constructed. As criticism on Hardian representations of tradition and modernity shows, these concepts intersect and ‘hybridize’ around place, environmental objects, and landmarks, and this has ramifications upon insular and external identities. Grace, Fitzpiers, and Mrs Charmond cannot comprehend or reacquaint themselves with the communal and arboreal traditions of Hintock’s woodscapes; and equally, Giles fails to understand that his little world cannot remain a self-contained ecology. As this chapter points out, it is through trees and tree spaces specifically where Hardy allows the ramifications of this temporal encounter to play out within The Woodlanders. Trees are spaces to be read for Hardy, and this is evident in his novelistic construction and content of the text, and in the ecosystem of arboreal perspectives that accumulate therein. Furthermore, in considering Hardy’s representation of these layered and vertical entities, the reader can trace the broader cultural concepts and modes of observation that the author uses to define and dissolve the boundaries of an inward-looking Hintock. Whilst Hintock is a self-dependent space with its own views, histories, and arboreal traditions, as this chapter suggests, Hardy maintains this isolation, but in its topographical unfixedness he also makes way for certain cultural traces on the textual surface, through which the reader can read and associate with this space as well as a woodlander. With the death of Winterborne, and the removal of the reader at the denouement, Hintock woodlands become simply what reviewers conceived them to be: a ‘picture’. However, this woodscape does not ‘intrude’; rather, the space requires readerly participation, but with that physical and imaginative engagement of human experience come forms of knowledge that are in opposition to one

164  Ancient trees and arboreal strata another. Trees in this novel create what Benjamin Morgan refers to as a ‘scalar shift’ in human perception (2019: p. 44). In Hintock, trees allow for a magnified view of localised arboreal experiences, lives, and issues, past and present; in the accumulation (and conflict) of similar and diverse encounters, they also enable reflections upon their significance within deeper layers of tree-oriented tradition, at the same time. However, these scales and stories of human perception, whilst existing concurrently, do not always align, as the trajectories of Giles’s and Grace’s Hintock-bound narratives illustrate across the novel. Hardy creates room in The Woodlanders for multiple ways of reading landscape, accumulative and catastrophic, suggesting that a reading of Hintock must rely upon an awareness of the layers of tradition, as well as a conception of modernity as separate strata to be imaginatively reconciled. This physical and notional framework of strata, and how it is negotiated in relation to the observer, shares an affinity with picturesque and geological thought. It works in the same way as Gilpin’s and Mantell’s study of trees at the surface of the landscape, requiring an imaginative awareness that these strata are not self-contained spaces, but are equally conterminous domains. The woodlands become more than an uncontrollable environment in this process; they form a silvicultural and stratigraphical deep map that unites the narrative content and physical trajectory of the reader inside and outside the novel. Hardy uses the complex composition of the multi-layered woodlands and traditions of Hintock to question the reader’s comprehension of the fixity of surface, ecological scale, and the perception of landscape as text to be read.

Notes 1 This is evidenced in Michael Millgate’s online reconstruction of the Max Gate Library. See Thomas Hardy’s Library at Max Gate: Catalogue of an Attempted Reconstruction (2014). 2 Scale features significantly across Hardian scholarship. See Gillian Beer on ­Darwinism and geology (2009); Carol Reed Andersen (1954) and Ken ­Ireland (2014) on Hardy and time; and Pamela Gossin on Hardy, astronomy, and ­cosmology (2007). 3 The Oxford Dictionary of English defines a ‘billhook’ as ‘a tool having a ­s ickle-shaped blade with a sharp inner edge, used for pruning or lopping branches or other vegetation’ (2015). In The Woodlanders the tool appears frequently. Winterborne takes ‘a bill-hook […] [and] he began lopping off—“shrouding,” as they called it at Hintock—the lowest boughs [of a tree]’ (Hardy, 2009: p. 84). Whilst Creedle uses a ‘small bill-hook’ to free ‘the collar of the tree from twigs and patches of moss’; and during a conversation with Mrs Charmond, ‘Chop, chop, chop, went Marty’s little bill-hook with never more assiduity’ (2009: pp. 122, 213). 4 See James Mitchell’s Dendrologia; or, a Treatise of Forest Trees with Evelyn’s Silva Revised, Corrected and Abridged (1827: p. 105). Much like Lauder’s version of Forest Scenery (1834), this author amends a famous tree text in order to align it with his own arboreal observations.

Ancient trees and arboreal strata  165 5 In her 1998 Penguin edition of The Woodlanders, Patricia Ingham uses the first edition of this text as it appeared in ‘volume form’ (Ingham’s emphasis, 1998: p. vii). 6 The majority of subsequent references to this text are taken from the 2009 Oxford University Press edition, edited by Dale Kramer, unless stated otherwise. This version is based on the last edit by Hardy (the Wessex edition) and is used most widely in scholarly editions. 7 See the Osgood edition of The Woodlanders (Hardy, 1896: p. 319). 8 ‘It was one of the early crustaceans called Trilobites. Separated by millions of years in their lives […] It was the single instance within reach of his vision of anything that had ever been alive and had had a body to save, as [Knight] himself had now. The creature represented but a low type of animal existence, for never in their vernal years had the plains indicated by those numberless slaty layers been traversed by an intelligence worthy of the name. […] They were grand times, but they were mean times too, and mean were their relics. He was to be with the small in his death’ (Hardy, 1985: p. 209). 9 See Three Essays on Picturesque Beauty; on Picturesque Travel; and on Sketching Landscape for Gilpin’s usage of the terms ‘picturesque’, ‘varied’, and ‘wild’ in context (Gilpin, 1792: pp. ii, 19, 52). 10 ‘Phenomena’, in Mantell’s sense of the word can be attributed to the physical evidence of traces within layers of rock, ‘imbedded’ Iguanodon fossils for example, or the term can be used to describe the natural processes and composition of strata, for instance, ‘the melting and transmutation of loose materials into compact rocks’ (Mantell, 1848, 1:444, 289). 11 The Oxford English Dictionary also denotes the term ‘mass’ as a ‘deposit or layer of ore, mineral, or rock’ from 1815 onwards. See ‘mass, n.2’, in Oxford English Dictionary Online. The term ‘mass’ or ‘masses’ can therefore relate the arrangement and substance of a particular space or object. 12 See John Glendening, ‘“The World-Renowned Ichthyosaurus”: A ­NineteenthCentury Problematic and Its Representations’ (2009: pp. 23–47). Glendening takes an extensive look at the cultural presence of this creature in the Victorian period. Glendening quotes this example from The Woodlanders, but alternatively sees the ‘old beech’ as a complex web of metaphors centring around a representation of Darwin’s ‘Tree of Life’ (p. 41).

References Ainsworth, William Harrison. (1900) Boscobel; or The Royal Oak. London: Howell. Andersen, Carol Reed. (1954) ‘Time, Space and Perspective in Thomas Hardy’, Nineteenth-Century Fiction, 9(3): pp. 192–208. Beer, Gillian. (2009) ‘Finding a scale for the human: plot and writing in Hardy’s novels’, in Darwin’s Plots: Evolutionary Narrative in Darwin, George Eliot and Nineteenth-Century Fiction. 3rd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 220–241. Bezruka, Yvonne. (2007) ‘Thomas Hardy’s The Woodlanders: Tradition, Heritage and Identity’, Textus, 20(2): pp. 339–353. ‘billhook’ (2015), in Oxford Dictionary of English. Edited by Angus Stevenson. 3rd ed. Available at: ­(Accessed: February 2020). Bodenhamer, David J., Corrigan, John, and Harris, Trevor M. (2015) Deep Maps and Spatial Narratives. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

166  Ancient trees and arboreal strata Buckland, Adelene. (2013) Novel Science: Fiction and the Invention of Nineteenth-­ Century Geology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013. Buckland, Adelene. (2008) ‘Thomas Hardy, Provincial Geology, and the Material Imagination’, Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century, 6: pp. 1–22. Bullen, J. B. (2013) Thomas Hardy: The World of His Novels. London: Frances Lincoln. Burton, Anna. (2017) ‘Reading Stratigraphical Woodscapes in Thomas Hardy’s The Woodlanders’, Victoriographies, 7(3): pp. 210–223. Burton, Anna. (2016) ‘Thomas Hardy, The Woodlanders and a Silvicultural ­Tradition’, The Thomas Hardy Society Journal, 12(2): pp. 56–65. Coleman, William Stephen. (1859) Our Woodlands, Heaths, And Hedges: A Popular Description of Trees, Shrubs, Wild Fruits, ETC. With Notices of Their Insect ­Inhabitants. London: Routledge. Cox, R. G. (ed.) (1979) Thomas Hardy: The Critical Heritage. London: Routledge. Cronin, Nessa. (2016) ‘“The fineness of things”: the deep mapping projects of Tim Robinson’s art and writings, 1969–72’, in Gladwin, Derek and Cusick, Christine (eds.), Unfolding Irish Landscapes: Tim Robinson, Culture and Environment. ­Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp. 53–72. Darwin, Charles. (2014) On the Origin of Species. Edited by Gillian Beer. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Deakin, Roger. (2008) Wildwood: A Journey through Trees. London: Penguin. Edlin, Herbert L. (1949) Woodland Crafts in Britain: An Account of the Traditional Uses of Trees and Timber in the British Countryside. London: B.T. Batsford Ltd. Gaskell, Elizabeth. (2008) North and South. Edited by Angus Easson. Oxford: ­Oxford University Press. Gatrell, Simon. (2003) Thomas Hardy’s Vision of Wessex. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Gilpin, William. (1798) Observations on the Western Parts of England, Relative Chiefly to Picturesque Beauty: To Which Are Added a Few Remarks on the Picturesque Beauties of the Isle of Wight. Facsimile of 1st ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014. Gilpin, William. (1794) Remarks on Forest Scenery and Other Woodland Views ­(Relative Chiefly to Picturesque Beauty) Illustrated by the Scenes of New-Forest in Hampshire (2 vols). 2nd ed. London: R. Blamire. Gilpin, William. (1792) Three Essays on Picturesque Beauty; on Picturesque Travel; and on Sketching Landscape: To Which Is Added a Poem, on Landscape Painting. Facsimile of 2nd ed. Farnborough: Gregg International. Gilpin, William. (1786) Observations, Relative Chiefly to Picturesque Beauty, Made in the Year 1772, on Several Parts of England; Particularly the Mountains and Lakes of Cumberland and Westmoreland (2 vols). Facsimile of 1st ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013. Gilpin, William. (1782) Observations on the River Wye, and Several Parts of South Wales, &c. Relative Chiefly to Picturesque Beauty, Made in the Summer of the Year 1770. Facsimile of 1st ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014. Glendening, John. (2009) ‘“The World-Renowned Ichthyosaurus”: A NineteenthCentury Problematic and Its Representations’, Journal of Literature and Science, 2(1): pp. 23–47. Gossin, Pamela. (2007) Thomas Hardy’s Novel Universe: Astronomy, Cosmology, and Gender in the Post-Darwinian World. Aldershot: Ashgate.

Ancient trees and arboreal strata  167 Hardy, Florence. (1928) The Early Life of Thomas Hardy 1840–1891. London: Macmillan. Hardy, Thomas. (2013) Under the Greenwood Tree. Edited by Simon Gatrell. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Hardy, Thomas. (2009) The Woodlanders. Edited by Dale Kramer. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Hardy, Thomas. (2008) Tess of the D’Urbervilles. Edited by Juliet Grindle and ­Simon Gatrell. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Hardy, Thomas. (1999) The Return of the Native. Edited by Tony Slade. London: Penguin. Hardy, Thomas. (1998) The Woodlanders. Edited by Patricia Ingham. London: Penguin. Hardy, Thomas. (1985) A Pair of Blue Eyes. Edited by Alan Manford. Oxford: ­Oxford University Press. Hardy, Thomas. (1966) Thomas Hardy’s Personal Writings. Edited by Harold Orel. Lawrence: University of Kansas Press. Hardy, Thomas. (1896) The Woodlanders. London: Osgood McIlvaine. Hardy, Thomas. (1887) ‘The Woodlanders’, Macmillan’s Magazine, 55(327): pp. 224–240. Hardy, Thomas. (1886) ‘The Woodlanders’, Macmillan’s Magazine, 54(320): pp. 81–99. Heringman, Noah. (2004) Romantic Rocks, Aesthetic Geology. New York: Cornell University Press. Ireland, Ken. (2014) Thomas Hardy, Time and Narrative: A Narratological Approach to His Novels. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Johnson, Matthew. (2007) Ideas of Landscape. Oxford: Blackwell. Kramer, Dale. (1971) ‘Revisions and Vision: Thomas Hardy’s The Woodlanders’, Bulletin of New York Public Library, 75: pp. 195–230, 248–282. Kroll, Allison. (2009) ‘Hardy’s Wessex, Heritage Culture, and the Archaeology of Rural England’, Nineteenth-Century Contexts, 31(4): 335–352. Loudon, John Claudius. (1838) Arboretum et Fruticetum Britannicum, or the Trees and Shrubs of Britain (8 vols). London: Longman. Maher, Susan Naramore. (2014) Deep Map Country: Literary Cartography of the Great Plains. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. Mantell, Gideon. (1848) The Wonders of Geology: Or, a Familiar Exposition of ­G eological Phenomena (2 vols). London: Henry Bohn. ‘mass, n.2’ (2017), in Oxford English Dictionary Online. Available at: http://www. (Accessed: March 2017). Millgate, M. (2014) Thomas Hardy’s Library at Max Gate: Catalogue of an ­Attempted Reconstruction. Available at: (Accessed: September 2015). Mitchell, James. (1827) Dendrologia; or a Treatise of Forest Trees with Evelyn’s Silva Revised, Corrected and Abridged. Keighley: R. Aked. Morgan, Benjamin. (2019) ‘Scale in Tess in Scale’, NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction, 52(1): pp. 44–63. O’Connor, Ralph. (2007) The Earth on Show: Fossils and the Poetics of Popular ­Science, 1802–1856. Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press. Pollard, Andrew and Brawn, Emma. (2009) The Great Trees of Dorset. Wimborne: Dovecote Press.

168  Ancient trees and arboreal strata Rudwick, Martin J. S. (2005) Bursting the Limits of Time: The Reconstruction of Geohistory in the Age of Revolution. Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press. Tsing, Anna Lowenhaupt. (2015) The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Tsouvalis, Judith and Watkins, Charles. (2000) ‘Imagining and Creating Forests in Britain, 1890–1939’, in Agnoletti, Mauro and Anderson, Steven (eds.), Forest History: International Studies in Socioeconomic and Forest Ecosystem Change, IUFRO Research Series, No. 2. Wallingford: Cabi International, pp. 371–386. Zimmerman, Virginia. (2008) Excavating Victorians. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

5 ‘Such is the Vale of Blackmoor’ Navigating trees, memory, and prospect in Tess of the D’Urbervilles

Throughout Thomas Hardy’s writings, there is a common differentiation between but also an unavoidable alignment of the imaginative and real landscapes of Wessex. In Highways & Byways in Hardy’s Wessex (1913), ­Hermann Lea reiterates this distinction, but also suggests that the ‘features’ of Tess of the D’Urbervilles (1891) are ‘rendered more realistically than in some [of the other novels]’, and in trying to follow the routes taken by the narrative, ‘we find little difficulty in reconciling the actual with the ideal’ (Lea, 1928: p. 3). Highways & Byways in Hardy’s Wessex was the only ‘guidebook’ authorised officially by the author, yet the suggestion that the distinction between the real and the dream is less apparent in this novel is a problematic one. Such a proposal suggests that there is an inherent value attached to how realistic fictional landscapes can be, and it disregards the physical changes in environment since textual composition. However, what Lea does recognise is that Tess is equally a novel and a succession of interconnected journeys for the heroine, reader, and narrator; the action ‘takes place over a wide stretch of country’ that branches out across Wessex (1928: p. 3). As Lea’s p ­ hotograph of Blackmoor Vale in 1913—a key locale s­ pecified in the novel— illustrates (Figure 5.1), trees in this landscape are incremental landmarks across this vast real and dream terrain, they are past and present indicators of spatial distance growing out from underneath the spectator’s viewpoint. In contrast to the ‘self-contained’, geographically limited environs of The Woodlanders (Hardy, 2009: p. 7), Tess is Hardy’s most extensive perambulation of his fictional environment;1 and it is a tour that encompasses a variety of viewpoints, as part of the narrative’s course. There are at least twelve journeys that Tess takes across the narrative, covering new and old ground, encountering arboreal sites, spaces familiar and unfamiliar to herself (and the reader as spectator). Layers of trees and texts accumulate and fade away in different forms in Tess, and these spaces demarcate both narrative and topographical limits in this novel. A reading of The Woodlanders benefits from a deep map perspective of its woodland terrain and insular community and, as this chapter will show, the site of Blackmoor Vale in Tess demands a similar study. However, though place-based narratives accumulate in Tess also, the novel’s plot centres on how and why the heroine traverses (and revisits) a series of different landscapes with their own histories, away from

170 ‘Such is the Vale of Blackmoor’

Figure 5.1 Hermann Lea. (1913) Blackmoor Vale [photograph]. Photograph courtesy of Dorset History Centre, Dorset.

and in relation to this arboreal scene. Both novels require a kind of notional travel from the reader, but for Tess, a story-map becomes a useful framework for thinking about the much broader topography of this novel. This chapter will establish how Tess, as story-map, engages with and becomes part of the silvicultural tradition through the extensive and contained conceptualisation of trees and tree spaces. This chapter provides a close analysis of how tree-writing in this novel precipitates the heroine’s physical, notional, and narratological movements from this (real and dream) woodland and across Hardy’s literary landscape. Just as trees provide refuge for Austen’s characters, and shelter for Gaskell’s heroines, these entities offer varying sorts of cover for Tess Durbeyfield, her family, and even Alec D’Urberville. Trees are notable areas across the topography of this novel; they act as borders, defences, screens, and hiding places. However, the benefits and hindrances that these types of cover provide are formed by the layers of textual, historical, and picturesque association that exist and accumulate in the forms and locations of particular thickets and forests. In picking up on the idea of the arboreal boundary as narrative frame as explored in previous chapters, the following argument will map the importance of the historicity of trees, and the associationist and picturesque impulses that they embody in the novelistic topographies of Tess.

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Topographical perambulation and the arboreal margin ‘Topography’ originally meant the creation of a metaphorical equivalent in words of a landscape. Then […] it came to mean representation of a landscape according to the conventional signs of some system of mapping. Finally […] the name of the map carried over to name what is mapped. (Miller, 1995: p. 3) As J. Hillis Miller details, the relationship between landscape and text has always been, and continues to be, a shifting one. For example, the term ­‘topography’ is often used interchangeably with the physical environment, and is also assimilated into a ‘representation’ of the terrain in a mapped form. Thirdly, according to Miller, the topographical map as text has gradually become synonymous with landscape. As the term ‘topography’ and Miller’s study attest, to see landscape as simply background in a text is to dismiss the role that the cultural imagination has played in the construction of landscape more widely, and vice versa. To reflect upon landscape and its representations for any length of time is to think about environment as physical and notional terrains, fictional and real topographies each framed and limited by the boundaries of one within another. This paradoxical tension and assimilation between landscape and text can be identified across both William Gilpin’s and Thomas Hardy’s writings focused on South-West England in the long nineteenth century. Though these works are a century and more apart, their similar geographical focus offers a useful study of how actual and imagined environments are conceptualised and reconciled at a textual level, and will provide a framework to foreground the following discussion of topographies and tree spaces in Hardy’s Tess. The marginalia in Observations on the Western Parts of England, R ­ elative Chiefly to Picturesque Beauty: To Which are Added a Few Remarks on the Picturesque Beauties of the Isle of Wight (1798) is particularly telling, as it reveals the tensions between landscape and text that Gilpin strives to put to rights in his work. Gilpin explores South-West England here, but in ­encountering previously discussed scenes of the New Forest, he stops his description on two occasions and refers the reader by footnote to his other work on ‘Forest Scenery’ (Gilpin, 1798: pp. 300, 346). Gilpin states that, ‘I have given an account of this country in another work, [so] I shall pass over it here’ (1798: p. 300); he did not overleap this physical terrain on the actual tour, but his picturesque output requires, and therefore the form allows for, such a topographical omission. Moreover, Western Parts repeatedly shifts backwards as it progresses, footnotes referring to earlier passages in the same text for authority. This retrospective glance is characteristic of Gilpin’s texts more generally, as there are multiple notes across this work remarking how the physical landscape is subject to temporal change, in a way that his textual views and descriptions have not. For instance, Gilpin describes


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how, ‘since [Western Parts] was written, [the appearance of Wilton House] has been altered’ (1798: p. 97). Elsewhere, ‘the reader will recollect this was written several years ago; and that many alterations may since have been made [at Castlehill estate]’ (1798: p. 174). Landscape as text allows Gilpin to omit certain scenes, and to shift backwards and forwards in time. This is no linear journey with a clear set of directions, but a text that is aware of its own limitations within and privileges over the landscape it describes, as well as having an awareness of being a text within a wider body of work. Gilpin’s tour writings were in the public domain at a time when the limits and boundaries of topographical writing were less clear; cartography, antiquarianism, and aesthetics all played a part in perceptions of landscape. This fluidity of form allowed for a blurring of the boundary of landscape as text, and the text as a representation of (and engagement with) landscape. For example, Gilpin compares a landscape to a map: ‘[having] viewed […] this immense landscape, which is, on both sides, a mere map of the country […] we descended the promontory’ (Gilpin, 1798: p. 217). The landscape here is a ‘mere map’ from Gilpin’s viewpoint; it appears as two-dimensional as its cartographic equivalent, and as such it ‘has little picturesque beauty’ (1798: p. 217). Comparably in the same text, Gilpin expounds how a map can show whether a landscape is aesthetically pleasing or not: The whole of [this country] from Plymouth is but an uninteresting scene. Its [sic] very appearance on a map, shews, in some degree, its unpicturesque form. It is intersected with several rivers, which run in vallies between opposite hills. (1798: p. 244) Here, a map can direct on what to expect of a landscape in picturesque terms, before it is even viewed by the spectator. However, in both of these examples, the comparison of landscape as map is indicative of ‘unpicturesque[ness]’. Though it is directive, a map cannot account for the varieties of sensory experience and imaginative association that occurs in a scene. The cartographical prospect and the aesthetically pleasing view are in formal and physical conflict with one another. However, whilst Gilpin disliked the perception of landscape as a mere directive, evidently, he used maps in some form himself; in Western Parts, he records viewing ‘a set of maps [of England], which belonged to the old Lord Burleigh’ (Gilpin, 1798: p. 296). The maps that Gilpin viewed are ‘rendered curious’, not in themselves, but ‘by several of [Burleigh’s] notes and memoranda written upon their margins’ (1798: p. 296). Though such annotations are not of any assistance to the picturesque, they are useful to Gilpin in the sense that they are a form of historical record and that they ‘give us an idea of the coast’ (Gilpin’s emphasis, 1798: p. 296). The map is not viewed by Gilpin in the context of the landscape itself but in the British Museum. Gilpin uses Burleigh’s memoranda, rather than the map itself, to provide an

‘Such is the Vale of Blackmoor’ 173 (unspecific) ‘idea’ of the terrain for the spectator, and to provide a context for his own discussion of the coast in question. Whilst the complex associations between landscape and text causes problems for the reception and reading of Gilpin’s text itself, at the same time Gilpin seems to revel in the breaking down of the ‘mere map’ here. Like the marginalia in Western Parts, this discussion of memoranda on the map allows Gilpin to explore the limits of his own textual landscape. Although the textual and formal definition of Hardy’s novels is much clearer than Gilpin’s tour writings, Hardy similarly questions the boundary between landscape and text in the construction and navigation of Wessex. I do not here turn to manuscript alterations, rather, to the maps of Dorset and the surrounding counties that Hardy owned and utilised as part of this topographical thought process. Michael Millgate identified a number of maps that Hardy used and heavily annotated, and as he suggests, they potentially had a role in the topographical composition and alteration of the later writings: —Cruchley’s Railway and Station Map of the County of Wiltshire. London: G. F. Cruchley, n.d. Heavily marked and annotated (e.g., Stonehenge ‘15.9.99’), with map extended by TH to south, east, and north. —Cruchley’s Railway and Telegraphic County Map of Berkshire. London: G. F. Cruchley, n.d. TH signature (badly worn); marked and annotated, with map extended to south, red marks at Great Fawley, and note made at Chaddleworth, April 1895. —Cruchley’s […] County Map of Dorset. London: G. F. Cruchley, n.d. With TH markings showing Tess’s wanderings. —Cruchley’s […] Map of Hampshire. London: G. F. Cruchley, n.d. ‘M. Hardy’ on cover, but extensively marked and annotated by TH, with map extended on three sides. —Cruchley’s […] Map of Somerset. London: G. F. Cruchley, n.d. TH signature (badly worn); lightly marked, with map extended to east and south and red X at site of Sedgemoor. (Millgate, 2014) These maps have all been marked and annotated by Hardy and are often extended with his own pen in a certain direction; this cartographical memoranda gives the reader an ‘idea’ of how vital geographical specificity was to him (if we were not already aware). The Wessex author evidently used these maps in the last decade of the nineteenth century, a period when he was writing the last of his novels and editing his entire novelistic output for collected editions. The ‘Berkshire’ map is dated ‘1895’, and this date is not only the year before the first collected edition of the novels, but also this date and the annotation of ‘Great Fawley’ is perhaps suggestive of having some role in the process of writing Jude the Obscure (1895). However, much more explicitly, Hardy was using the ‘Wiltshire’ and ‘Dorset’ maps in writing and/


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or amending Tess. The reference to Stonehenge in ‘99’ is suggestive that he perhaps revisited or reconsidered the monolith after publication of the novel. But much more significantly, Hardy plotted ‘Tess’s wanderings’ at some point on the Dorset map also (Figure 5.2). However far Hardy utilised these maps cartographically, what they reveal collectively is that Wessex is equally a series of perambulations and journeys as much as it is a region or landscape. Upon scrutiny of these maps, what they have in common is not only a series of annotations, but each one is extended variously to the north, east, south, and west of Wessex. On the Wiltshire map for instance, Hardy has extended south to Winchester and Cranborne (Cruchley, 1875b), the Berkshire map is extended south to Andover (Cruchley, 1875a), the Hampshire map west to Stonehenge (Cruchley, 1865), and the Somerset map east towards Westbury and ‘To Salisbury’ (Cruchley, 1872). Why Hardy chose to

Figure 5.2 Thomas Hardy’s annotated ‘Tess Map’. George Frederick Cruchley. (1855) Cruchley’s Railway and Station Map of Dorset. Showing all the Railways and Names of Stations, also the Turnpike Roads, Gentlemens seats, &c &c. Improved from the Ordnance Surveys. London: G. F. Cruchley. From the library of Thomas Hardy. Photograph courtesy of Dorset County Museum, Dorset.

‘Such is the Vale of Blackmoor’ 175 add certain roads and locations onto these maps is a matter for conjecture, leading possibly to various locations visited and revisited across the Wessex oeuvre. Yet what these extended lines suggest is that like Gilpin, Hardy’s knowledge and vision of landscape was not limited to any map. In Hardy’s copy of the Handbook for Travellers in Wiltshire, Dorsetshire and Somersetshire (1882), this map has been extended eastwards into the margin by its owner, and the boundaries of each of the main counties have been coloured by hand in production;2 notably, Dorset is surrounded by a green border.3 Visually, Hardy’s map is an extended and contained representation of topographical space, and equally, this simultaneous extension and containment of landscape within and beyond the green border can be found in the topographical construction of Tess as text and landscape. Furthermore, the green border manifests itself as an arboreal space, a boundary that divides, contains, and limits the areas of Wessex in this novel. The arboreal margin is a dominant feature in the landscapes of Tess. Like the green border that surrounds Dorset on Hardy’s map, this sylvan boundary serves to both limit and extend environment and narrative in this text, and the following discussion will consider how Tess as individual and Tess as text navigate such space(s). In George Eliot’s novel, Adam Bede (1859), the narrator records that the titular hero delights ‘in a fine tree of all things’ (Eliot, 2008: p. 267). Therefore, in travelling through Donnithorne Chase, it is unsurprising that ‘he could not help pausing to look at a curious large beech which he had seen standing before him […] and convince himself that it was not two trees wedded together, but only one’ (2008: p. 267). In a New Materialist study of Eliot’s text, Ruth Livesey argues that the beech(es) that Adam comes across in his ‘linear’ walk through The Chase creates an interruption in the narrative: ‘the curious beech offers a counter-narrative of a life that is not singular. The beech tree demands Adam stops, pauses story and plot to present the grafting of a stem to stem, root and webbed root system’ (Livesey, 2019: p. 145). The tree as organic entity is a different form and time scale of co-existence and living that interrupts Adam’s ‘linear’ walk and narrative. Trees trap long stretches of history in their rings and are also seasonal and circular; in this ecological encounter, the ‘tree’ possibly being made up of a fusion of two individual specimens further complicates any sense of arboreal temporality, as viewed from a human perspective. In Tess, there is a linearity to the story of the heroine’s existence—her youth and then gradual downfall—and this drives the plot; however, this is a life that is filled with journeys, and so it is a life that appears to become more perambulatory in physical and narrative terms. Moreover, as the novel progresses, I would argue that significant life events occur and accumulate within, and in relation to the marginal green spaces on her travels. These trees create layers and cycles of narrative within the scale of their own confines, and in Tess’s traverses too. On encountering, pausing within, and leaving these trees, the reader witnesses lasting alterations in Tess’s behaviour, direction of travel,


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and personal outlook. This is in response to a network of inherent and ongoing associations surrounding particular forms and locations of woodland, spaces that mark out the limits of the heroine’s (perambulatory) existence. In their very presence in Tess, Hardy’s narrator gestures to the fact that trees have their own narratives that are beyond human comprehension, but this co-exists with layers of silvicultural history that grow and fade through the human-tree encounters within their confines. Tree spaces do not just create physical or spatial pauses within the linearity or geography of this novel, but these moments shape the nature of the heroine’s and the narrative’s topographical trajectory. In differing ways, The Chase and Blackmoor Vale are notable tree-sites that define Tess and her experience of landscape across this novel. ‘The Chase—a truly venerable tract of forest land’ As illustrated in an earlier chapter, the arboreal boundary in Austen’s Mansfield Park has a socio-political role; the trees that mark the edges of Sotherton are indicative of the close proximity of improvement within the estate, and the harsh realities of the untamed wilderness beyond. However in Tess, the physical and narratological negotiation of the woodlands that sit on the borders of The Slopes estate serves to show the corruption of the D’Urberville lineage and its impact upon the heroine. In the description of The Chase in relation to The Slopes, Hardy seeks to juxtapose the new with the old: The crimson brick lodge […] was of recent erection […] [and] formed such a contrast with the evergreens of the lodge. Far behind the corner of the house […] stretched the soft azure landscape of The Chase—a truly venerable tract of forest land, one of the few remaining woodlands in England of undoubted primaeval date, wherein Druidical mistletoe was still found on aged oaks […]. All this sylvan antiquity, however, though visible from The Slopes, was outside the immediate boundaries of the estate. (2008: pp. 43–44) The ‘sylvan antiquity’ of The Chase is contrasted with the ‘recent erection’ of the ‘lodge’ and its ‘evergreens’. It is in Tess’s failed attempt to escape from D’Urberville’s advances wherein the associations of ‘sylvan antiquity’ become further corrupted by the rape of both Tess’s body and the ruination of her family name. This is not to say that The Chase was a pure space to begin with, nor is ‘sylvan antiquity’ an admission of innocence either; the ‘primeval yews and oaks’ are signifiers of an earlier, but nevertheless equally threatening time and terrain (2008: p. 82). At the end of the first ‘phase’, the narrator digresses in his nature description to an admission that in this space, ‘[doubtless] some of [Tess’s] mailed ancestors rollicking home from

‘Such is the Vale of Blackmoor’ 177 a fray had dealt the same measure […] towards peasant girls of their time’ (2008: p. 82). The same kind of history occurs repeatedly in this space, and is reinforced as acceptable, if not inevitable, in the local imagination through recurrent association with this locale. Historically, a chase is an unenclosed tract of woodland used for breeding and hunting animals. This association becomes enveloped within cultural connotations of sexual pursuit also; take for example, in Adam Bede, Hetty Sorrel is seduced by Arthur Donnithorne in the ‘labyrinthine wood which skirted one side of the Chase’ (Eliot, 2008: p. 117). Whilst woodlands or the idea of the ‘greenwood’ has long been associated with illicit liaisons, seductions, and assaults, chases by their very nature seem to sanction this behaviour, as their distinction from royal forests and authoritarian control is complex and somewhat blurry. In Anthony Trollope’s Framley Parsonage (1861), the ‘Chase of Chaldicotes’ is ‘an old forest, not altogether belonging to the property, but attached to it’; this site ‘consisting of aged hollow oaks’ is ‘as all the world knows, Crown property’ (Trollope, 2014: pp. 21–22). However, as John Langton states, chases ‘often passed to and from the crown. While the crown had them, they were treated as royal forests’, but their origins are ‘opaque’ because their ‘passages from earldom to earldom and into and out of crown hands were frequent’ (Langton, 2015: pp, 386, 396). Moreover, in ‘1216 [King] John ordered a perambulation of Cranborne Chase’ that straddles Dorsetshire and Wiltshire, and as Langton suggests, records show that it was a royal forest for Edward IV, Henry VIII, and Elizabeth I, before James I ‘granted it to the earl of Shaftesbury in 1611’ (2015: p. 387). Chases are liminal and often ancient sites then, they are palimpsests of their multiple owners, but the history of this possession in itself is often ill-defined. The history of Cranborne Chase as envisioned fictionally (as The Chase) in Tess therefore legitimates repeated scenes of rape within its confines: it is indifferent to illegitimacy and assault because the space itself holds no accountability, authority, or ownership. Tess is picked up by Alec on her way home, and physically taken into the woodland by him, as ‘he plunged […] between the trees’ (Hardy, 2008b: p. 81). During this journey they become lost, and Alec is in ‘genuine doubt as to the quarter of The Chase they were in’ (2008b: p. 81). For Alec, a lack of cartographical or local knowledge works in his favour. However far Alec and his ‘new’ estate are distanced from ‘sylvan antiquity’ physically, like the figure of the ‘mailed ancestor’, it is his status in the locality of Chaseborough that supersedes the nature of the event. Alec is an indication of, a contributor to, and a benefactor of the corruption of ‘sylvan antiquity’, physically, notionally, and culturally. The local and spatial associations of The Chase serve to compartmentalise this landscape and contain the events that take place there. In her encounter with this site Tess becomes part of and victim to The Chase’s history—much like the unnamed ‘peasant girls’ that came before her—yet, the rest of the


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Figure 5.3 Howard Phipps. (1992) A Beech Shaded Hollow, Cranborne Chase [wood engraving]. Reproduced by kind permission of Howard Phipps.

narrative records the lasting impact of this event upon an individual life. However far the space covers Alec’s crime, the consequences of the assault in The Chase and this place-based association extend beyond its confines through the figure and travels of Tess. Although this specific arboreal border becomes a notionalised ‘dark background’ to Tess’s life forthwith, and a signifier of her unimportance in this sphere, nevertheless, in her navigation of space across the novel she judges her physical place in the landscape using the green boundary as a marker (Hardy, 2008b: p. 111). However, this is dependent on the associations inherent in those thickets of trees. On one journey, for example, Tess views ‘trees, marking the environs of Kingsbere’ that signify the direction of the parish where ‘the bones of her ancestors […] lay entombed’ (2008b: p. 118). Tess associates these spaces with her own narrative, and the choices she makes in her physical navigation of this space become bound up and at times dictated by these connotations. On her return to the family home at Marlott, for instance, on three occasions Tess’s position in the landscape

‘Such is the Vale of Blackmoor’ 179 (and therefore her proximity to home, and away from Alec) is highlighted by an arboreal boundary: 1 2 3

After some miles they came in view of the clump of trees beyond which the village of Marlott stood. It was only then that her still face showed the least emotion, a tear or two beginning to trickle down. She said that she did not wish him to drive her further, and they stopped just under the clump of trees. [As she leaves Alec] Her eyes vaguely rested upon the remotest trees in the lane while the kiss was given, as though she were nearly unconscious of what he did. (2008b: pp. 88–90)

Mobility here is reliant upon the containment and extension of landscape. Tess’s journey back into Blackmoor Vale is marked by the distance between her person and the ‘clump of trees’ which she links with her home notionally. The proximity of the trees marks the duration of this physical and narratological process, and the potential escape beyond that boundary and away from her seducer. Whilst the associations of The Chase are pervasive within Tess’s life, this does not overwhelm her initial responses to other kinds of arboreal space; elsewhere, it is evident that she uses trees to her own advantage. The kinds of cover that trees provide are not all the same for Tess, they are dependent upon the interconnection of association(s) to be found in that place and the nature of her perception at any given point in the narrative. For Tess, travel both limits and extends her field of perception and association; the green border in the distance is both a directive of what lies beyond the viewpoint and a site of refuge for the heroine. On her route to Flintcomb-Ash, in fleeing from a man: ‘she plunged’ into a plantation, ‘and did not pause till she was deep enough in its shade […] [she] scraped together the dead leaves till she had formed them into a large heap, making a sort of nest in the middle’ (Hardy, 2008b: p. 296). Here, the arboreal boundary becomes a space for Tess to obscure her body and identity.4 In The Chase episode, Alec ‘plunged’ her into the woodlands, whereas in the above example Tess ‘plunged’ herself into this space, to avoid such another encounter. The term evokes the idea of an immersion into the depths of a fluid entity, and is mostly associated with watery spaces, as in Hardy’s oft-quoted twentieth-century poem, ‘Under the Waterfall’ (1914).5 In both of these cases in Tess, the verbal echo is a narratorial one, and to opposite purposes, the immersion into an arboreal space is depicted as a movement into another element with its own rules. It is notable that in the second instance it is a plantation, rather than an ancient forest, that offers Tess a literal sanctuary from an aggressor. Whilst The Chase offered cover for the criminal rather than the victim, it is the newer cultivated woodland that offers Tess an immersive escape, and the lack of localised and historical association anonymises the place rather than the person within its confines.

180 ‘Such is the Vale of Blackmoor’ Moreover, it is significant that when Tess reaches Flintcomb-Ash, the place is characterised by its lack of trees altogether. In fact, there ‘was not a tree within sight’, and it is here where Tess is pursued by Alec once more (2008b: p. 303). The notable use of the arboreal margin as a kind of cover or sanctuary provokes a number of questions of Hardy’s landscape construction: does the arboreal boundary and therefore environment more generally in this novel simply have an aesthetic purpose, or a cartographical function in the layers of description? Or are the aesthetics somehow reliant upon physical and narratological circumnavigation? In order to answer these questions more fully, it is necessary to turn to Hardy’s construction and utilisation of Blackmoor Vale as landscape, arboreal boundary, and prospect. Blackmoor Vale In Forest Scenery, Gilpin lists both The Chase and Blackmoor as adjacent sites of arboreal interest in Dorset: ‘A little to the east [of Dorset] lies Cranburn-chase, and on the west, Blackmore Forest, commonly called the forest of White-hart, from a celebrated stag, which afforded great diversion to Henry III’ (Gilpin, 1794, 1: 338). Comparably, physical traces of this forest and its historical associations can be found in Tess: The district is of historic no less than of topographical interest. The Vale was known in former times as the Forest of White Hart, from a curious legend of King Henry the Third’s reign, in which the killing by a certain Thomas de la Lynd of a beautiful white hart which the king had run down and spared, was made the occasion of a heavy fine. In those days, and till comparatively recent times, the country was densely wooded. Even now traces of its earlier condition are to be found in the old oak copses and irregular belts of timber that yet survive upon its slopes, and the hollow-trunked trees that shade so many of its pastures. (Hardy, 2008b: pp. 18–19) The ‘old oak copses’ mark out the ‘traces of [Blackmoor’s] earlier condition’. There is the sense that the remains of this woodland are limited, and in fact the ‘Forest’ is now a ‘Vale’; this is no longer the forest that Gilpin describes, and once again the reader is reminded of the fixed limitations of a textual landscape over time. As much as it is defined by the lasting presence of ‘irregular belts of timber’, an awareness of this location is reliant upon local memory, and the repetition of historical association that extends beyond Tess. It is a site of silvicultural tradition, present in Hardy’s and Gilpin’s writings, but also in other histories of the area too. In the aforementioned Handbook for Travellers in Wiltshire, Dorsetshire and Somersetshire for example, it is noted that ‘Blackmoor Vale is also known for the vigorous growth of its oaks which thrive on the strong clay. It was originally called White Hart Forest, from Henry III’ (Murray’s emphasis, 1882: p. 270). More

‘Such is the Vale of Blackmoor’ 181 recently, Oliver Rackham suggests that the forest ‘faded away without ever being formally abolished’, but its ‘layers of significance’ lived ‘on in memory’; more specifically, he suggests ‘Forest records, ancient trees, coppice stools, estate maps and the works of Thomas Hardy give structure and meaning to the present landscape’ (2015: pp. 393, 401, 385, 401). Hardy’s novel adds a layer of p ersonal and cultural memory to the accumulation of scientific, historical, and geographical evidence surrounding this site. Regardless of the novel’s form or fictional status, Hardy’s realisation of Cranborne Chase and Blackmoor Vale in the narrative contributes to the silvicultural discourse and cultural history of these woodland spaces. Much more than this, Blackmoor Forest and/or Vale is one of the most significant examples of the impact of the silvicultural tradition upon the novel form. However far the forest remains (and has remained) in existence physically is somewhat unclear, though the 1913 photograph by Lea (Figure 5.1) and the painting by Emma Hardy c.1890 (Figure 5.4) are suggestive of a remaining arboreal presence in Hardy’s lifetime, but its presence in silvicultural memory is long-standing and ongoing. In part, this is due to Hardy’s conception of his novelistic environs. Blackmoor is a real and literary space, and is key to understanding the relationship between the navigation and perception of landscape in Wessex. On Tess’s journeys, an arboreal boundary can represent another region of Wessex; for example, when Tess and Angel deliver milk, ‘in the extreme edge of the distance’, Egdon Heath can be recognised by the presence of

Figure 5.4 Emma Hardy. (1890) Blackmore Vale [oil on canvas]. Photograph courtesy of Dorset County Museum, Dorset.

182 ‘Such is the Vale of Blackmoor’ the ‘clumps and stretches of fir-trees’ (Hardy, 2008b: p. 203). Hardy never crosses this physical boundary with Tess, possibly because the details of Egdon have already been delineated in another narrative. Instead, such a topographical reference appears to be an appeal to the reader’s awareness of the wider Wessex map, a reminder that Tess takes place within that pre-existing framework. However, the literary placement and construction of Blackmoor is an inter-textual and cartographical cross-reference on a much larger scale. This location is also mentioned as a distant destination for Henchard’s grain in The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886): ‘The journey […] [the] next day was a long one into Blackmoor Vale’ (Hardy, 2008a: p. 92). In The Woodlanders, Hardy moves north-east to Hintock, and it is here where the reader gets their first glimpse of the Vale: Grace finds Fitzpiers leaning over a gate ‘which opened on the brink of a declivity, slanting down directly into White-Hart or Blackmoor Vale, extending beneath the eye at this point to a distance of many miles’ (Hardy, 2009: p. 182). A few chapters later, Grace returns, ‘whence she had watched Fitzpiers the night before as he skirted the Great Blackmoor or White-Hart Valley […] [the] Vale was wrapped in a dim atmosphere of unnaturalness, and the east was like a livid curtain edged with pink’ (2009: pp. 190–191). Here, Blackmoor is a prospect in the distance, indicative of Fitzpiers’s abandonment of Grace and the subsequent estrangement between the pair. It is a site of mobility, but it is only when the reader reaches the beginning of Tess that the Vale is reached and described fully. In Tess, Hardy avoids straying across the arboreal boundary into the sphere of The Return of the Native (1878), but Blackmoor marks an extended move eastwards across this section of the Wessex canon. However conscious this construction, the placement of this sylvan border in the distance brings the Hardian reader nearer to the text and landscape of Tess. Landscape is a cartographical vehicle across the Wessex novels, and within Tess as a novel. These inter-textual and arboreal perambulations allow the reader to orient themselves within the larger sphere of this country as the narrator (and therefore Hardy) does, creating a collective, self-contained, and extensive form of literary tourism within the text(s) themselves. The construction of Blackmoor as a prospect is equally aesthetic as cartographical: The village of Marlott lay amid the north-eastern undulations of the beautiful Vale of Blakemore or Blackmoor aforesaid—an engirdled and secluded region, for the most part untrodden as yet by tourist or landscape painter, though within a four hours’ journey from London. […] This fertile and sheltered tract of country […] is bounded on the south by the bold chalk ridge that embraces the prominences of Hambledon Hill, Bulbarrow, Nettlecombe-Tout, Dogbury, High-Stoy, and BubbDown. The traveller from the coast who, after plodding northward for a score of miles over calcareous downs and corn-lands, suddenly reaches

‘Such is the Vale of Blackmoor’ 183 the verge of one of these escarpments, is surprised and delighted to behold, extended like a map beneath him, a country differing absolutely from that which he has passed through. […] Here in the valley the world seems to be constructed upon a smaller and more delicate scale; the fields are mere paddocks, so reduced that from this height their hedgerows appear a network of dark green threads overspreading the paler green of the grass. The atmosphere beneath is languorous, and is so tinged with azure that what artists call the middle-distance partakes also of that hue, while the horizon beyond is of the deepest ultramarine. Arable lands are few and limited; with but slight exceptions the prospect is a broad rich mass of grass and trees, mantling minor hills and dales within the major. Such is the Vale of Blackmoor. (Hardy, 2008b: p. 18) This is the first in a series of views that accumulate in Tess, and though the narrator is conscious of Tess herself, this is the only view uncoloured with associations of the heroine’s presence or character. This ‘sheltered tract’ is conceived as an almost Happy-Valley-esque domain to the spectator, as it is isolated, but surrounded by other familiar locations in Wessex. Just as Hintock is ‘self-contained’, this is ‘an engirdled and secluded region’, and once again the reader is placed in a privileged domain outside the ‘gates of the world’ (Hardy, 2009: p. 7). Moreover, the opening prospect that situates Tess within the Wessex canon views a space ‘for the most part untrodden as yet by tourist or landscape painter’. This reference is an explicit nod to the culture of picturesque tourism; yet, this landscape is not only ‘untrodden’, but also unmapped by this mode of vision. However, it is not the ‘London’ tourist who Hardy imagines as a viewpoint here, but the ‘traveller from the coast’. The ‘traveller[’s]’ view is not defined by any specific aesthetic principles, but nevertheless they are a spectator, ‘surprised and delighted to behold, extended like a map beneath him, a country differing absolutely from that which he has passed through’. The landscape is ‘extended like a map’ from this elevated point; yet paradoxically, this is not merely a cartographical or directive scene, but a landscape ‘constructed upon a smaller and delicate scale’. The indelible ‘network of dark green threads’ of trees and hedges that draw away in different directions is aesthetically pleasing in its own right (it is specifically ‘dark green’), but it is also a signifier that both constructs landscape (envisaging a map-like terrain) and draws the reader to notice that construction (a ‘thread’ is a component piece to a larger whole). This is not simply a view with a foreground, middle distance, and background, but also a prospect that requires a careful and aesthetic reading. This passage steers clear of rejecting the picturesque altogether: the ‘atmosphere beneath is languorous, and is so tinged with azure that what artists call the middle-distance partakes also of that hue, while the horizon beyond it that of the deepest ultramarine’. The layers of atmospheric strata, the ‘azure’ and ‘ultramarine’ light in the ‘middle distance’, are not only an

184 ‘Such is the Vale of Blackmoor’ indication of aesthetic specificity, but also a specific form of jargon inherited from picturesque thought. This view is appealing visually, embracing and rejecting the picturesque simultaneously, yet the view is also functional to the spectator, ‘extended like a map’. The idea that these two perspectives merge is somewhat contradictory, yet perhaps the ‘smaller and delicate scale’ of this map requires that these ways of seeing should be aligned, if not united. This first view in Tess sets up the tension between, and the possibility for, multiple perspectives: viewpoints that will guide the reader through this novel. Just as Tess views the clump of trees surrounding Marlott as a register of her proximity, this view of Blackmoor is a reference point across the span of the novel for the reader. The view of the Vale is an extended prospect seen in retrospect across the successive views in (and of) the novel. In fact, this prospect has been the focus of multiple studies of perception in Tess, and as such, it is a site that has allowed for critics to implement their own aesthetic frameworks. John Barrell argues that this view is a constant space in ‘Tess’s system of geography’ (Barrell, 1982: p. 353). For Tess and the reader, ‘the experience of elsewhere’ is constructed in terms of its difference with this terrain: this locale is the ‘centre’ of a ‘circle’ that the heroine negotiates, as Tess is repeatedly drawn back to this ‘centre’ across the novel. Barrell therefore implies that in the eviction of the Durbeyfield family from this locale, the loss of this ‘centre’ is a turning point for the heroine and novel. Barrell directs his reader to Enstice’s work on the subject too, in which he contemplates how ‘[each] setting becomes an arena, its peculiar character contrasted with the others, in which Tess acts out a part of her life’ (Enstice, 1986: p. 116). This almost recalls the physical use of Maumbury Ring as a literal arena in The Mayor of Casterbridge,6 yet here it is Enstice who sees such space within an enclosed (and circular) domain, a series of performative and reflective environments where Tess’s narrative can be played out. Here, Blackmoor is one in a sequence of enclosed, but interconnected landscapes. Alison Byerly suggests that the view from Blackmoor emphasises the dynamism of the viewing figure, who pauses to look at a scene that is only one stop on his journey. This sudden opening up of the narrative frame is similar to the illusion of movement created by the unrolling of a panorama. (Byerly, 2007: p. 165) Byerly rejects the ‘picturesque’ or ‘cinematic’ views of this text, and instead argues for a ‘panoramic’ or rolling view; likewise, she suggests that in this inclusion of an unidentified traveller as perspective here, the novel creates ‘a triangulation of perspective in which another point of view can be panoramically exhibited, imaginatively entered, and eventually […] discarded’ (2007: p. 164). Byerly argues for a succession of views in a seemingly linear fashion. It is the ‘triangulation of perspective’ between character, reader,

‘Such is the Vale of Blackmoor’ 185 and narrator that allows for multiple versions of this panorama to co-exist. Analysis of Hardy’s composition of environment is a way of determining the mixed view, the composite or shared perspective of character, reader and/ or multiple versions of the narrator/author. As Byerly’s argument shows, these two over-arching readings are not distinct but interconnected. One is considered with the mediation of the physical view, whilst the other is concerned with the identity and placement of the spectator. Lucille Herbert makes a case for the ‘mixed perspective’ in her consideration of Blackmoor, a form of perception that is an ‘essential part of Hardy’s narrative method’, through which the reader is asked to see, with the author, from the point of view of the future and, with the character, in blissful ignorance. What matters is not so much the identity of the perceiving consciousness as the perspective with regard to time. (Herbert, 1970: p. 85) The reader is aware of the importance of the physical, spatial, and temporal components of the view from the outset at Marlott: ‘the view almost immediately takes on a historical dimension. The valley has become muddy and torturous only since its ancient forests were cut down; and the traces of its former condition can be discerned only from a distance’ (1970: p. 87). Here, the reader is privileged to exist within the same ‘distanced’ viewpoint as the narrator (as Tess has not yet been introduced here), with an awareness of the temporal dimension of the view, the historical knowledge that is at once annexed and removed from this space. Linda M. Shires highlights the contrariness within the Blackmoor view, in order to set out Hardy’s premise for viewing the rest of the novel and landscape. This is a space that provides the ‘reader with important directives’, explaining that Hardy here conditions his readers by exposing them to a multitude of conflicting impressions (Shires, 1999: p. 145). Offering different routes and different kinds of walks, he introduces further variables by mentioning the pace of arrival, vertical/horizontal positionality, weather, time of year, and decisions about whether to come with a guide or alone. (1999: p. 145) There is a mixed perspective in terms of its participants, but also a mixed passage in its descriptive composition. There are different and conflicting ‘directives’ for the reader or spectator to view this scene. According to Shires, Hardy as author and narrator asks the reader to consider and follow each of these instructions. Hardy conditions the reader’s outlook into a multi-faceted perspective here then, getting them ‘into thinking simultaneously in terms that are multiple and contradictory’ across the rest of the

186 ‘Such is the Vale of Blackmoor’ novel and narrative (1999: p. 147). This is not a novel that posits landscape in the background: to comprehend these spaces in Tess is to acknowledge that this landscape both offers and limits different routes through the narrative. Similarly to Gillian Beer’s consideration of ‘ghost plots’, there are moments of ‘multiple possibilities’ and ‘happy alternatives’ that haunt the reader’s experience of Tess (Beer, 2009: p. 223). Space and distance in this novel create a multiplicity of narrative and perambulatory possibilities. Whilst the reader cannot exert any control over these options, the recognition of their possible existence serves to widen the imaginative comprehension of the prospect. Lastly, Eve Sorum suggests that Hardy brings together ‘two genres of perspective’ in this novel, the ‘geographic viewpoint’ with an ‘empathetic perspective’ (Sorum, 2011: p. 180). Sorum makes the case that as early as the Blackmoor view, Hardy both ‘orients the reader qua tourist on the map of England’ and transforms their experience from a ‘sedentary to an active one’ (2011: p. 180). Through geographical placement, Hardy elicits sympathy for Tess from the reader. Once again these two over-arching readings are directly connected. Sorum’s argument consciously works in opposition to an aspect of Barrell’s: ‘Barrell claims that this passage distances the reader from a “real” understanding […] because the narrator addresses his description to a reader who is familiar with viewing the world as a map’, whereas Sorum argues that ‘the distancing involved in taking the reader-tourist perspective actually enables a sense of connection with the heroine’ (2011: p. 191). When viewed together, all of these frameworks of triangulation, circularity, linearity, and distance function as a critical mapping of Tess. Though there are tensions in these readings, when viewed together (as Shires suggests Hardy directs his reader to), the reader thinks ‘simultaneously in terms that are multiple and contradictory’. In the same way that scholars attempt to map Hardy, critical responses to the text can similarly be mapped. In its scrutiny of Blackmoor Vale, this chapter endeavours to contribute towards this interconnection of perspectives; yet, it avoids any attempt to reiterate or take apart pre-existing interpretations. Unlike Margaret Hale’s initial perception of the New Forest as an idyll, Blackmoor Vale is not an idealised tree space; but like the New Forest in Gaskell’s novel, through the lens of the heroine’s observations, Hardy’s woodscape manifests as a defence from the outside world that then turns into a sanctuary of her past. Moreover, much like Grace Melbury’s shifting engagement with the ‘self-contained’ woodlands of Hintock (2009: p. 7), Tess leaves and returns to Blackmoor Vale with an altered perception of the world beyond its topographical limitations. As the subsequent part of this chapter demonstrates, Tess returns to Blackmoor Vale, physically and notionally, as it is connected to a version of her past and self that she wishes to reclaim, which is reinforced further by her physical removal from its boundaries. However, as the narrative continues, Tess learns that her memorial association with this arboreal space is not enough to provide that shelter once again. Her geographical movement and response to different environments

‘Such is the Vale of Blackmoor’  187 is defined in relation to this arboreal space, but the layers of association with Blackmoor Vale fade away as the heroine traverses a broader scale of topography. This diminishing quality is represented by Hardy through the nature of Tess’s and the narrator’s visual assessment of the wider Wessex environment, an approach that is akin to the picturesque mode. In her article on Under the Greenwood Tree (1872), Elizabeth Carolyn Miller states that if ‘the word photography literally conveys the idea of “light writing”, Hardy’s opening chapters attempt a realism that is closer to dendrography, or “tree writing”’ (Miller, 2016: p. 704). Miller’s concept of ‘Dendrography’ in Hardy’s earlier fiction is akin to more ‘realistic’ portrayals of trees, and centralises the acknowledgement of the human role in the representation and perception of these novelistic, ecological entities (2016: p. 713). As this current study has shown, the form of tree-writing that Gilpin and silvicultural authorities like Hardy practice relies upon the representation of components of individuals and assemblages, of the human and non-human; and this mode speaks to an ecological or proto-ecological impulse. This kind of viewing of components at the level of an individual tree or a broader landscape is a scalar pursuit, one that can be focused inwards or outwards. The picturesque (before photography) practised this representation at a textual level, and is therefore relevant to studies of environmental ecologies (New Materialist, or otherwise) in the long nineteenth-century novel. Taking the broader scale of picturesque ideas as a framework, allows this subsequent analysis to scale up with Hardy’s extended treatment of landscape as Tess leaves Blackmoor Vale and crosses the topographies of Wessex. In assessing the picturesque, cartographical, and silvicultural qualities of these landscapes alongside one another, and the placement and absence of trees and their associations in a larger scene, the reader can trace Tess’s valuation of environment and her place within its margins. The reader can move further out of the story-map, as it were, and view the prospects in the novel in respect of how they shift physically and structurally away from that of Blackmoor Vale. The following discussion will read this retrospective process closely in order to consider the relationship between landscape and plot; it will scrutinise how Tess’s gradually diminishing arboreal view of Blackmoor Vale allows the heroine to plan her movements, and how this outlook then propels the narrative.

Accumulating prospects and retrospective reflection, Tess as active spectator In Western Parts, Gilpin’s memoranda allows him to note the passage of time, but in his scrutiny of landscape and text itself, he also favours the ­retrospective standpoint: [We] turned round, and viewed [the prospect] in retrospect, it united with the woody scene around it, which had a good effect. A retrospect

188 ‘Such is the Vale of Blackmoor’ also afforded beautiful views over […] the town, New-Forest, and the Isle of Wight. (Gilpin, 1798: pp. 352–353) This retrospective view, as a physical and temporal movement, allows for a different outlook of an already-surveyed scene. The retrospect widens the view for the spectator literally, and allows for a notional reflection from a distance. The second significant view in Tess allows for such a retrospective reflection upon the Vale of Blackmoor; narrative distance between these views is marked by the rape of Tess, her time at Trantridge, and the life and death of her Sorrow. This temporal span allows for the following comparative scene from Tess’s perspective: It was intrinsically different from […] Blackmoor Vale, which, save during her disastrous sojourn at Trantridge, she had exclusively known till now. The world was drawn to a larger pattern here. […]. The green lea was speckled as thickly with [cows] as a canvas by Van Asloot or Sallaert with burghers. The ripe hues of the red and dun kine absorbed the evening sunlight, which the white-coated animals returned to the eye in rays almost dazzling, even at the distant elevation on which she stood. The bird’s-eye perspective before her was not so luxuriantly beautiful, perhaps, as that other one which she knew so well; yet it was more cheering. It lacked the intensely blue atmosphere of the rival vale, and its heavy soils and scents; the new air was clear, bracing, ethereal. (Hardy, 2008b: pp. 118–119) From the beginning of the passage depicting Tess’s journey, Hardy directs the reader to compare this view with the one described previously. The Vale of the Great Dairies is picturesque in its own right, as Hardy compares it to ‘a canvas by Van Asloot or Sallaert with burghers’. Moreover, even if the reader is unaware of Hardy’s artistic reference points, both reader and heroine cannot fail to notice the aesthetic detail in how the ‘ripe hues of the red and dun kine absorbed the sunlight’. Most importantly, the second view is ‘intrinsically different’ by comparison; instead of being constructed on a ‘smaller and more delicate scale’, the environment is ‘drawn to a larger pattern here’. The metaphor of the extended map is drawn out as a means to differentiate the terrains physically, and as such the second view is widened by retrospective comparison. However, the ‘bird’s eye perspective’ of this ‘pattern’ has a dual function in this passage: it allows Tess to scrutinise the aesthetics (it is ‘not so luxuriantly beautiful […] as the other one’), and the elevated viewpoint allows her to navigate the topography. Both of these aspects allow Tess (and the reader) to reflect upon her psychological renewal and narrative progress, to perceive the physical and notional distance from the tragic

‘Such is the Vale of Blackmoor’ 189 events at Trantridge and Marlott, and to plan forward accordingly. At the end of the second phase, Hardy makes it clear that in Tess’s perambulations, ‘her whimsical fancy would intensify natural processes around her till they seemed a part of her own story […] for the world is only a psychological phenomenon’ (Hardy, 2008b: p. 97). Tess’s perception and internalised construction of the natural world is reliant upon psychological association with her own ‘story’. Here, Tess is once again ‘in good heart’, and it is at this point that the retrospective view enables a prospective, progressive view simultaneously (2008b: p. 120). However, soon after her descent from this viewpoint, Tess realises that she is still ‘[not] sure of her direction’, and as such, ‘Tess stood still upon the hemmed expanse of verdant flatness, like a fly on a billiard-table of indefinite length, and of no more consequence to the surroundings than that fly’ (2008b: pp. 120–121). For Gilpin, the image of the fly in the face of nature is reduced to a metaphor for human perception, similarly, in his observations on Cambridge, he remarks that ‘[in criticising Nature we] speak […] in this matter like the fly on the column. Her plans are too immense for our confined optics’ (Gilpin, 1804: pp. 174–175). For Gilpin and Hardy, the fly as spectator is ‘confined’ by the limits of perception, and as an object it is dwarfed by the extent of a landscape of ‘kingdoms, continents, and hemispheres’ (1804: p. 175). Nevertheless, there seems to be more to Hardy’s choice of metaphor, than simply highlighting the parameters of vision. For Vernon Lee, this unusual simile of Tess as a fly is ‘utterly dissimilar’ to the image of the landscape in question: it is ‘useless’ and therefore intrusive upon the scene (Lee, 1923: pp. 227, 228). In David Lodge’s reflection upon this review, he makes the case that this stark image is a means to draw attention to Tess’s ‘defencelessness, her isolation’ in this landscape (Lodge, 1966: p. 174). The ‘billiard-table’ landscape is unpicturesque because it is an undifferentiated and unvaried landscape. This featureless scene renders Tess defenceless and inconsequential in its lack of trees; the absence of these landmarks (and their associations) means that the heroine cannot read the landscape, either to appreciate it or to direct her course. Similarly to Gaskell’s unsettling assessment of Brontë’s Haworth where trees are ‘nowhere’ to be found, the absence of trees means that shelter of any sort is impossible (Gaskell, 2009: p. 438). The landscape, in its lack of trees, is drawn to a ‘larger pattern’ as the eye cannot scale down to any smaller components. Arguably, the presence of the cows speckled and grazing across this terrain are small parts within this landscape ecology, but animals are not as fixed within a scene as a tree would be. However, in its difference to the ‘rival vale’, Tess takes simple enjoyment from the stark comparison, the ‘heavy soils and scents’ are replaced with a ‘clear’ air and atmosphere. The heroine revels in the freedom of difference, as she is in ‘good heart’; whilst there may be no cover, there is a value in the sensation of disassociation and also in the fact that no shelter is needed at this point. Nevertheless, Tess is both spectator and an object to be viewed here, and so the reader can perceive

190  ‘Such is the Vale of Blackmoor’ her vulnerability even if she cannot. In reducing her to this ‘defenceless’ stance, the reader (and narrator) is left in the privileged standpoint of being both aware of the topography and in a position to observe the narrative. The reader is inside and outside the frame of perception simultaneously. However, this image is indicative of more than Tess’s ‘defencelessness’ in the eyes of the reader, as there is something more troubling at work in this moment. This is not a ‘column’, but a ‘billiard-table’ that Hardy describes. It is a site for the pursuit of sport; the association of ideas here suggests that Tess as insect is a body to be crushed, not simply by environment or society, but by the impervious rules of fate. This second view is illustrative not just of how Hardy directs the reader to view the landscape in this scene, but also of how the composition of this prospect forms a cross-road for different viewpoints and spectators to intersect. To quote Benjamin Morgan’s analysis of this passage here, the ‘scale at which Tess might feel hope co-exists with a scale at which significance is fly-like’ (Morgan, 2019: p. 55). Tess’s personal viewpoint is optimistic as she thrives in her physical and seemingly uncontained freedom; yet, at the same time, the narrator’s spatial outlook pulls outwards from the scene, and in this movement draws attention to her minuteness (and vulnerability) in this same environment. The comparison of these perspectives gestures to a higher power on a scale that the narrator’s and the reader’s outlook struggles to comprehend. The layering of these perspectives draws attention to the fact that scale is at ‘once an analytic mode and an artifact of perception’ as Morgan suggests (2019: p. 54), and Hardy calls upon the reader to analyse these concurrent modes of perception in a reading of the novel. Nevertheless, this analysis of different perceptive modes serves as a reminder that Tess, the reader, and even the narrator have no control over the narratological routing; these perspectives can exert no control over how Tess fares against a fatalistic determinism. The reader is similarly ‘confined’ by their optical limits, a spectator and passenger on this tour, of ‘no consequence’ to this environment. ‘few trees, or none’: Flintcomb-Ash, Emminster, and fading arboreal associations The next landscape that Tess encounters on her travels is that of ­FlintcombAsh, and once again, this view is situated comparatively in relation to ‘the valley of her birth and the valley of her love’ (Hardy, 2008b: p. 300): Here the air was dry and cold […] There were few trees, or none, those that would have grown in the hedges being mercilessly plashed down with the quickset by the tenant-farmers, the natural enemies of tree, bush, and brake. In the middle-distance ahead of her she could see the summits of Bulbarrow and of Nettlecomb Tout, and they seemed friendly […] [From] Blackmoor in her childhood they were as lofty

‘Such is the Vale of Blackmoor’ 191 bastions against the sky. Southerly, at many miles’ distance […] was the English Channel at a point far out towards France. (2008b: pp. 300–301) The use of ‘Here’ to open the description sets up this retrospective comparison. The lack of trees and the ‘dry and cold’ air contrasts with the ‘prospect’ of ‘grass and trees’ and the ‘blue’, ‘ethereal’ atmosphere at Blackmoor. Just like the aforementioned ‘billiard-table’ landscape, the view at Flintcomb-Ash and Tess’s immediate place within it are defined once again by the absence of environmental features. In particular, the notable lack of trees is the result of ‘tenant-farmers’ cutting them and the ‘quickset’ down; in this context, quickset being young trees that are grown to make hedges. Tenant farmers are noted as ‘the natural enemies of tree, bush, and brake’ by Hardy’s narrator, as during the nineteenth century, some of the nation’s disaffected rural poor cut down or maimed these important parts of the local system as a form of protest against their employers and circumstances. Such an act was a way of causing ‘a degree of financial hardship’ for landowners; but there were serious repercussions if the culprit was caught by the authorities, as it could have resulted in a fine or ‘gaol’ time (Shakesheff, 2003: pp. 130, 134). As G. E. Mingay states, it was ‘Hunger, lack of work, poverty and injustice [which] drove people to desperate measures’ like this; whilst upper-class landowners attempted to counter this rural vandalism through ‘the provision of schools and the preaching of self-help’ (Mingay, 1999: pp. 155, 168). The lack of trees at Flintcomb-Ash in the landscape description is a reflection of the politics of trees at the time. Trees and hedges were key components of environmental and agricultural management, and so they were key targets of social protest too. Trees fade away in this landscape, and their absence is evocative of a wider rural discontent rather than any geographical peculiarities. Trees are absent in this landscape too, but unlike the Vale of the Great Dairies their lack does not elide associations altogether; instead, their absence is filled with broader socio-political connotations. Though the free-indirect narration blends the narratorial perspective with Tess’s outlook, it is unclear how much of this politicised arboreal assessment is present in Tess’s psyche. However, the scene is characterised by its proximity to other locations that she is familiar with: ‘In the middledistance ahead of her she could see the summits of Bulbarrow and of Nettlecomb Tout and they seemed friendly’. This ‘middle distance’ is merely a marker of location rather than of a picturesque view, and the locations in this region are ‘friendly’ by contrast with the current locale. Moreover, these places refer the reader back to the list of environs in the first view at Blackmoor, but they have become merely notional associations of Tess’s ‘childhood’. The association of environment here is at a spatial and temporal distance from Blackmoor Vale. Furthermore, the last imaginative movement in this scene and beyond these vales is a southerly one, ‘at many miles’ distance […] far out towards France’ (2008b: p. 301). It is as if Tess


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wishes to retire with the ‘traveller from the coast’, the imaginary spectator that Hardy describes at the beginning of the novel. The projection of the view in her eye-line is synonymous with the desire to escape her situation and location. This view is not simply one of reflection, but imaginative transcendence. It is here where the retrospective views of Blackmoor and Talbothays start to shift and fade, Tess’s viewpoint begins to look forward away from old associations, and project into the distance. Distance becomes reflective of Tess’s hope for Angel’s return, and her own notional reconstruction of the horizon that limits her existence. In Tess’s desire to escape Flintcomb-Ash, she travels to Emminster to seek refuge with Clare’s family. Tess moves through a series of landscapes in a single scene: Here the landscape was whitey-brown; down there, as in the Froom Valley, it was always green. Yet it was in that vale that her sorrow had taken shape, and she did not love it as formerly. Beauty to her, as to all who have felt, lay not in the thing, but in what the thing symbolized. Keeping the Vale on her right she steered steadily westward; passing above the Hintocks, crossing at right-angles the high-road from Sherton Abbas to Casterbridge […] Still following the elevated way she reached Cross-in-Hand, where the stone pillar stands desolate and silent, to mark the site of a miracle or a murder, or both. Three miles further she cut across the straight and deserted Roman road called Long-Ash Lane […] being now about half-way over the distance. […] The second half of her journey was through a more gentle country, by way of Benvill Lane. But as the mileage lessened between her and the spot of her pilgrimage so did Tess’s confidence decrease, and her enterprise loom out formidably. She saw her purpose in such staring lines, and the landscape so faintly, that she was sometimes in danger of losing her way. (Hardy, 2008b: p. 316) Despite the varied locations across Wessex that are noted and revisited during this journey, the landscapes that Tess and the reader have previously seen are reduced to vaguely ‘whitey-brown’ and ‘green’ terrains. This is no longer a landscape drawn to a ‘larger’ or ‘delicate’ pattern. At this point, Tess has rejected ‘Beauty’ in the prospect altogether, as her perception has been coloured by the conscious association and proximity to her own tragic narrative. The experiences that have formed Tess’s pilgrimage inform Hardy’s construction and navigation of landscape. The heroine refuses to consider the landscape as an aesthetic entity, and in viewing ‘the landscape so faintly’, it is merely a series of ‘right angles’, ‘miles’, and ‘lines’ on a map. Even landmarks lose their definition, the ‘Cross-in-Hand’ ‘stands desolate and silent, to mark the site of a miracle or a murder, or both’. The associations of the ‘stone pillar’ blur, whether a ‘miracle’ or a ‘murder’ happened

‘Such is the Vale of Blackmoor’ 193 there is irrelevant to Tess’s circumnavigation of the space, and so she dismisses it at once. Once again though, as Tess fails to retain physical and psychological perspective, in turning away from landscape she is ‘in danger of losing her way’. In Tess’s navigation of the topography she concentrates on her destination and ‘purpose’, and as such, she refuses to observe her surroundings; moreover, in this intense focus, the narration highlights that the view of this landscape loses aesthetic and cartographical detail for the heroine. After Tess’s failed attempt to visit Emminster, she travels home to Blackmoor to visit her mother: She plunged into the chilly equinoctial darkness […] soon she paced a soil so contrasting with that above it that the difference was perceptible to the tread and smell. It was the heavy clay land of Blackmoor […] Having once been forest, at this shadowy time it seemed to assert something of its old character, the far and the near being blended, and every tree and tall hedge making the most of its presence. The harts that had been hunted here; the witches that had been pricked and ducked, the green-spangled fairies that “whickered” at you as you passed; the place teemed with beliefs in them still, and they formed an impish multitude now. (Hardy, 2008b: p. 365) This is no retrospective or prospective view; this is a route so familiar that it is not visual, but multi-sensory. Tess once again ‘plunge[s]’ into the environment and atmosphere, however this is not an act of refuge, but necessity. Aesthetic views and navigation are redundant, and are replaced by memory. It is Tess’s nose and feet that guide her to the Vale through familiar association, not her eyes. This synaesthetic navigation of place is linked to Tess’s emotional response during this scene and phase of the novel. Tess is guided homeward by the combination of smell and touch, a moment that recalls what Chu and Downes refer to as the Proustian Phenomena, ‘the ability of odours […] to cue autobiographical memories which are highly vivid, affectively toned and very old’ (Chu and Downes, 2000: p. 111). Smell recalls a spontaneous memory of a specific time, place, or event, and for Tess the smell and touch of Blackmoor serves to guide her back to her childhood home. However, this moment goes beyond any kind of nostalgic comfort for Tess. With the loss of vision here, and the ‘far and near being blended’, comes the loss of distance and therefore the loss of landscape as a potential space to escape into. Tess does not simply seem to be recalling the past, but to be travelling almost unconsciously through a past version of this landscape: the synaesthetic response to the environment becomes an inertial movement. Whilst it is no longer a forest in a traditional sense, Blackmoor Vale ‘seemed to assert something of its old character’; the arboreal boundary


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is no longer a reassurance or form of cover as ‘every tree and tall hedge [is] making the most of its presence’. On an individual basis, the physicality of the trees therein threaten the passer-by, and collectively, the forest then appears to reassert itself. Historical associations have been corrupted into ‘Superstitions’, and Blackmoor Vale is now a ‘shadowy’ threat. The manifestation of Blackmoor Vale has witnessed a shift in physical, associational, and temporal terms by this point in the novel. However arboreal Blackmoor Vale is in an actual sense, an awareness of the layered, individualised, communal, and silvicultural associations within that place dictates the dominance of its physicality to the spectator. Similarly to Mr Gower’s fears of ‘Gipsies or ghosts’ beyond the arboreally enclosed estate in Jane Austen’s Evelyn (1792), associations are sublimated here into imagined and fantastical threats in the shadows of the trees (Austen, 2006: p. 240). However, this is not for comic purpose in Tess, nor is this invented peril a worry of the protagonist in question. Despite its newfound sinister aspect, Blackmoor Vale is not a danger to Tess in her passive state, but to the reader as traveller through this landscape; the narrator addresses the reader when discussing the ‘fairies that “whickered” at you as you passed’ (my emphasis). The view of Blackmoor as Vale and/or Forest has become distorted, organicism is ruined through the distortion of association, association has become the realm of superstitious tales, and most significantly Tess is no longer an active spectator; she is psychologically disconnected from the prospect. In Tess’s disconnect from the trees that shaped the extent of her childhood, the associations of this textual space revert to a more general kind of association, a corrupted ‘sylvan antiquity’ like the one that characterises and screens the threat of The Chase earlier in the novel. However, instead of peasants and knights, ‘witches’ and ‘green-spangled fairies’ are the order of the day; this movement is not a historical one, but a shift to an explicitly folkloric kind of arboreal memory that distances the reader from Tess and her environment. As Blackmoor’s status as an arboreal boundary changes, silvicultural association does not just accumulate in this novel, but it fades too. Trees provide physical cover in this novel; however, Tess’s ability to use trees in this way, and her personalised associations with trees diminish across the narrative. In part, this is due to the absence of trees in different landscapes, and because of the heroine’s physical and temporal distance from Blackmoor Vale. Whilst the trees of Blackmoor Vale remain on her return, she no longer needs their cover and holds no further affinity with them. At this point, the associations of the silvicultural tradition in this text—that are defined in the initial parts of the novel—witness a scalar shift. Just as shifts occur within and between Tess’s and the narrator’s outlook, shifts occur between the heroine’s arboreal associations and the more general ones that the narrator brings to the text. This results in a loss of close experiential connection to these scenes, and so associations revert to the fictional realms of myth and folklore. As previous chapters illustrate, the kinds of arboreal knowledge that are part of the silvicultural tradition

‘Such is the Vale of Blackmoor’  195 vary across different sorts of tree-writing, and this is the inter-textual value inherent in the branching of these textual connections. However, at the level of the narrative in Hardy’s novel, these changes in place-based perception and association signify Tess’s psychological deterioration, environmental disconnect, and eventual disappearance from the extent and limits of the Wessex landscape. A ‘forest of monoliths’: environmental disconnect at the New Forest and Stonehenge In the final stages of the novel, arboreal cover becomes distorted and takes on different forms of meaning altogether. Shortly after her return to Blackmoor Vale, Tess loses her family home as well as the perceived control over her own path and fate: Alec takes her to Sandbourne, and even in her escape from his murder, it is Angel who then directs the heroine’s flight. In an ­attempt to hide Tess in their escape, ‘[Angel] persuaded her to remain among the trees and bushes of [a] half woodland, half moorland part of the country, till he should come back’ (Hardy, 2008b: p. 409). Tess’s role as a part-­criminal, part-victim, is confused at this point; but once again, an arboreal scene serves to obscure her person from her pursuers. Nevertheless, this cover is not chosen by herself, but is forced upon her by a man once again, albeit one that seeks refuge for Tess. However, Hardy suspends any interest in describing this environment, presumably in an attempt to ­convey the speed of their movement and Tess’s disassociation from her circumstances. Nevertheless, the narrator indicates that their path ‘had taken them into the depths of the New Forest, and towards […] an old brick building of regular design, and large accommodation’ (2008b: pp. 409–410). Hardy’s use of an actual landscape provides the reader with an idea of their location; yet, unlike Gilpin’s Forest Scenery and Gaskell’s North and South, there is no description of the woodscapes and the heroine here holds no affinity with her New Forest setting. Tess’s subsequent suggestion that they “sleep under the trees” is indicative of her apparent lack of care as to what happens to her next (2008b: p. 410). This is no attempt to hide herself as before, in fact, ironically, it demonstrates an inclination to sleep out in an open (and discoverable) space. This woodland scene is not a refuge from her circumstances as Tess no longer requires such sanctuary; though paradoxically, this is when she needs it the most. Tess then proceeds to ‘walk across country without much regard’, she is detached from observation, and the reader loses any sense of the prospect (Hardy, 2008b: p. 414). Likewise, mobility becomes an act for the heroine, as ‘Tess […] [shows] her old agility in the performance’ of cross-country ­navigation; yet, this movement is directed by Angel as the pair ‘plung[e] across an open plain’ and proceed ‘gropingly’ until they reach Stonehenge (2008b: pp. 414, 414, 415). The choice of this verb no longer evokes an escape into another element, they are plunging across this environment to avoid

196 ‘Such is the Vale of Blackmoor’ the nature of its very openness, the word evokes speed rather than depth. At Stonehenge, Tess loses the refuge of darkness, and the arboreal border as a space of safety is replaced by the ‘forest of monoliths’ (2008b: p. 415). Perception is distorted, and man-made ruination has replaced organicism by this point in the narrative. Moreover, the reduction of Tess to the ‘fly on the billiard-table’ is no longer a metaphor: Tess becomes a literal and vulnerable object in the scene, willingly flinging herself ‘upon an oblong slab’ (2008b: p. 416). She gives herself to ruin, rather than seeking refuge in the arboreal. Even in historicised studies of the physical monument itself, Hardy’s novel gets a mention: Christopher Chippendale’s study of the site designates the text as ‘[the] only enduring novel of Stonehenge’ (Chippendale, 1985: p. 112). Furthermore, Stonehenge is a key feature on Hardy’s map of Wiltshire, on which he records a visit in 1899 in its margins (Cruchley, 1875b). Elsewhere, on his map of Hampshire, Hardy extends the plan with a pencil road directed towards the monolithic landmark (Cruchley, 1865). Before and after Tess, Stonehenge featured in Hardy’s (real and dream) reflections upon Wessex. However, just as it is memoranda for Hardy, Stonehenge is more of a culturally appropriated text than a feature in the landscape for the Victorian reader. As Gilpin states at the end of the eighteenth century in his study of Western Parts, ‘[Stonehenge] is a happy field for conjecture’, because it cannot be fixed in terms of the choices made for the aesthetics, placement, and location of the monument itself (Gilpin, 1798: p. 78). Though it is ‘totally devoid’ of ‘picturesque beauty’, even Gilpin takes time to reflect upon the various narratives and views that have become associated with the monument (1798: p. 81). In Western Parts, the author discusses how ‘Mr Walpole […] examined this monument’, Inigo Jones ‘found out that Stonehenge was a Roman ruin’, and how Doctor Stukeley located it in ‘“Druid times”’ (Gilpin, 1798: pp. 77–78). Though it is not ‘picturesque’, this cultural appropriation and questioning continues right through to the late nineteenth century. Stonehenge was a sight of aesthetic reflection for Ruskin in the first volume of Modern Painters (1843), and a prospect for a painting for Turner and Constable. In Darwin’s study of The Formation of Vegetable Mould through the Action of Worms With Observations on their Habits (1881), Stonehenge is a site that would have been ‘undermined’ over time by the ‘damp’ soil, if earthworms had not affected the position of the stones (Darwin, 2009: p. 191). Jonathan Smith even makes the case that in this study: [Darwin] took one of the staples of the picturesque—monuments and ruins—and rendered them schematically as geological sections. While Darwin’s aesthetic response to natural scenery has long been intimately connected to his geological vision, to see worms as the movers behind a pleasing landscape was to take this intertwining of the aesthetic and geological to a greater extreme. (Smith, 2006: p. 247)

‘Such is the Vale of Blackmoor’ 197 For critics, scientists, natural historians, and artists, the unfixed history of Stonehenge was (and still is) a space that allowed for a conjectural discussion of its cartographical and aesthetic placement, and as Smith’s response to Darwin’s study shows, these discussions could overlap. This narratological and textual accumulation at Stonehenge offers a comparison with the silvicultural tradition surrounding Blackmoor Vale. In fact, ruins and trees are objects in a landscape that correspond with the confluence of human experience and memory. Though fixed in a state of gradual change, they are also ostensibly permanent spaces around which personal and public histories are embedded. Take for example, in 1843 Mary Roberts published a compendium of Ruins and Old Trees Associated with Remarkable Events in English History. Roberts records a series of ruinous and arboreal anecdotes of national importance; sites that have witnessed war (Glendour’s Oak), political and religious unrest (the Yew Trees of Skelldale), sheltered important historical figures (Wallace’s Oak and Queen Mary’s Tower), and even marked the reign of Queen Victoria (the Oak at Chatsworth). Though ruins are not a focus of the silvicultural tradition, there is certainly a broader cultural relationship between the evaluation of ruinous and arboreal space and human experience; for Hardy in particular, these objects are sites of antiquarian and historical interest to his conception of Wessex. In ‘Shall Stonehenge Go?’ (1899), Hardy calls the monument a ‘relic’ that the nation has ‘guardianship’ over (Hardy, 1966: p. 197). Crucially, the author calls for protection of the site: ‘[if] it were enclosed by a wood […] the force of these disastrous winds and rains would be broken by the trees, and the duration of the ruin lengthened far beyond its possible duration now’ (1966: p. 199). Hardy appeals for an arboreal boundary to encircle Stonehenge, as a means to screen the structure from further environment-induced ruin, and in order to prolong the ongoing ‘duration’ of these monoliths. Though ‘most people consider the gaunt nakedness of its situation to be a great part of the […] fascination of Stonehenge’, Hardy appeals not simply for a change to this prospect, but for the layout of the landscape to be reshaped around the landmark (1966: p. 199). This is not for navigational or aesthetic purposes; rather the placement of an arboreal boundary would contain the past, and allow for an extension of the ‘dim conjecture in which we stand in regard to its history’ (1966: p. 200). Trees are not just embedded with associations of their own, these non-human entities might shelter the historical value of man-made sites too. In Tess, the scene at Stonehenge is no mere tableau, but a moment wherein the observation of the prospect is rejected by the heroine. Penny Boumelha suggests that ‘Tess is asleep […] at almost every crucial turn of the plot’, and with the final ‘turn’ in her narrative ‘she [falls] asleep’ on the monument; yet, this is the first time that Tess closes her eyes when confronted with a view of an unfamiliar environment (Boumelha, 1982: p. 121; Hardy, 2008b: p. 417). This is not a prospect of Stonehenge for Tess or the narrator, rather it is a site that ‘hums’ with potential (Hardy, 2008b: p. 415). Hardy was

198  ‘Such is the Vale of Blackmoor’ perhaps aware that he would not need to aestheticise the ruin in any great detail, as the V ­ ictorian reader would already be familiar with the ‘relic’ of ­Stonehenge. Like the ‘ichthyosauri’ reference in The Woodlanders discussed in the previous chapter, Stonehenge is a cultural intrusion in this text for the reader to associate with, as a nexus of texts and narratives that overtake the importance of this physical landscape. Furthermore, at this moment in the novel, Angel and Tess are at the centre of this visual and referential network. In their placement at Stonehenge they are the object to be viewed, a narrative to accumulate around the monument. The description goes on to show how at this point, as Tess closes her eyes, the prospect starts to close in around her: ‘[the] band of silver paleness along the east horizon made even the distant parts of the Great Plain appear dark and near’ (2008b: p. 417). The ‘horizon’ appears to be ‘near’; it is no longer a marker of physical or narratological distance, but physical and narratological closure instead. This landscape is viewed by Angel through the frame of the stones, and in a centripetal motion the world beyond this ‘forest of monoliths’ closes in on Tess, as the figure of the policeman (not the ‘traveller’) draws near. Visual distance does not demarcate an aesthetic or cartographical route forward physically, nor does it offer any narratological alternatives. The prospect here, distant from Blackmoor Vale, is indicative of Tess’s final incarceration by her circumstances and surroundings. Concluding prospect(s) and subverting the arboreal screen The confinement of the heroine does not mark a complete rejection of the prospect or the arboreal in Tess. Hardy leaves the reader with a final view: The prospect from this summit was almost unlimited. In the valley ­beneath lay the city […] its more prominent buildings showing as in an isometric drawing […] Behind the city swept the rotund upland of St Catherine’s Hill, further off, landscape beyond landscape, till the ­horizon was lost in the radiance of the sun hanging above it. Against these far stretches of country rose, in front of the other city edifices, a large red-brick building […] It was somewhat disguised from the road in passing it by yews and evergreen oaks, but it was visible enough up here. The wicket from which the pair had lately emerged was in the wall of this structure. From the middle of the building an ugly flat-topped octagonal tower ascended against the east horizon, and viewed from this spot, on its shady side and against the light, it seemed the one blot on the city’s beauty. Yet it was with this blot, and not with the beauty, that the two gazers were concerned. (Hardy, 2008b: pp. 419–420) This is the denouement ‘prospect’: it is the most formalised and progressive view over the course of the novel. The scene is almost limitless in its

‘Such is the Vale of Blackmoor’ 199 aesthetics, as the spectator is invited to see a ‘landscape beyond landscape’. The layers of the landscape fade into atmospheric strata; the potential for imaginative engagement with this view of projection and obscurity fulfils a somewhat Gilpinesque quota. This is different to Grace’s contemplation of Blackmoor Vale in The Woodlanders, a view that similarly ‘extend[s] beneath the eye’, nor is it a retrospective glance that we have seen in Tess previously. Wintonchester is the most eastward point in Tess, the ‘far stretches of country’ here extend beyond the boundaries of this text—Ralph Pite makes the case that Winchester (the real Wintonchester) is actually a part of Hampshire, rather than Hardy’s Wessex (Pite, 2002: p. 76). However far this location is differentiated from the previous scenes by county boundary lines, the prospect that Hardy considers undoubtedly looks beyond the topographical limits of his previous writings. This distance ‘lost in the radiance of the sun’ is on the edges of the Wessex map. This aesthetic and projected view into the ‘horizon’ looks beyond cartographical features. Yet, this is not to say that the scene rejects cartographical detail either; the layout of the ‘city’ and ‘the valley beneath’ is likened to an ‘isometric drawing’ in the passage. This draws attention to the scene as both an artistic and architectural entity, an isometric projection being a two-dimensional realisation of a three- dimensional space. The reader is presented with a view that consciously demonstrates its textual and physical state, its cartographical and aesthetic place simultaneously. It is telling that Hardy chooses this moment to direct the reader beyond this scene, beyond the boundaries of Wessex. However, in the second paragraph of this ‘prospect’, Hardy draws his reader back to the foreground in question, to the ‘front of the other city edifices’. This is no longer a view for the reader to aesthetically appropriate, as the focus is on the ‘one blot on the city’s beauty’. Whilst the trees of The Chase screen Alec’s crime, the funereal ‘yews and evergreen oaks’ attempt to disguise the prison and criminals from any outside spectator. The inmates are already contained and defended by the prison walls, this means that trees are not needed as a border, refuge, or hiding place; instead, trees screen the outside spectator from the (legal) crimes of those on the other side of its boundary. At the close of the novel, trees become a visual defence, but in the realisation and punishment of Tess’s guilt, the reader might question what (and who) they are defending. In narrative terms, these entities place a boundary between Tess, the reader, and the narrator as no one is witness to her execution at another kind of wooden frame altogether. This is not the view of a ‘traveller’, ‘tourist or landscape painter’: ‘the two gazers’ (Angel and Liza-Lu) are spectators to Tess’s execution from a distance. Just as in the first view of Blackmoor Vale, Tess is absent, replaced by the symbolic counterpart of a ‘black flag’ (Hardy, 2008b: p. 420). Though Tess is the object of focus, she is located in the middle of the scene once more, but this is no middle-distance that Hardy directs the reader towards. This moment signals the physical and narratological erasure of


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Tess’s perspective from the concerns of the prospect. Here, the text becomes untangled from aesthetic, cartographical, and silvicultural perspectives; in fact, this text and this landscape are uncoupled in the construction of this passage. Hardy is looking beyond the pre-existing boundaries of his sphere, but significantly at this point, this landscape also becomes detached from his most mobile character, Tess Durbeyfield. The advancement through this narrative relies upon Tess’s continual movement through, and her reflection on this environment and its arboreal spaces; but this perceived progression of prospect and prospects does not allow her (or the reader) any real agency over the plot. Previous chapters have charted the relevance of the silvicultural tradition and its relationship with English realist fiction; using Gilpin’s arboreally focused writings as an anchor, this study has charted how tree-writing shaped the varied environments, plots, and narrative form of the nineteenth-century English novel. Hardy’s Tess is a significant example of this context at the end of the century, and a historicised close reading of this novel’s woodland space offers a perspective on how Tess and the reader are required to circumnavigate the landscapes and memories of Wessex topography. From 1891 to the present moment, this novel draws its reader’s attention to smaller objects like trees, as well as to their care, and the protection and dangers they might afford to humans. Through this representation, the author presents a way of reading environment (however fictional) that can be adjusted according to the scale of landscape and the ecologies therein. In viewing the role of the arboreal border as a liminal and containing space for the heroine, the reader can see how the novel is drawn to a ‘more delicate scale’. Furthermore, in extending outwards from Blackmoor Vale to perceive the network of prospects, arboreal components, and their shifting environmental associations, the reader can also see how the novel is drawn to a ‘larger pattern’, at the same time.

Notes 1 Though Tess of the D’Urbervilles was not the last Wessex novel to be written by Hardy, Jude the Obscure (1895) witnesses a shift in the nature of Hardy’s landscape choice and description, and more of a transition from the rural landscape to the rural town and city. To quote Simon Gatrell, with Jude the Obscure there is ‘not much of Hardy’s usual Wessex background’, and whilst this change does not disqualify the importance of the novel, the author is doing something decidedly different by this point (Gatrell, 2003: p. 110). 2 The annotation of ‘Aug 9. 1897. TH: EH’ suggests that the author was using the map in the year that The Well-Beloved was published in book form (Murray, 1882). 3 John Cary (1755–1835), a cartographer whose firm was later taken over by George Cruchley, produced maps that were hand-coloured before sale. Presumably, given these practices, the map was therefore sold to Hardy already coloured by hand. See David Smith, ‘Cary, John’, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004). 4 In the creation of a ‘nest’ of leaves specifically, Hardy gestures to the longstanding mythical and literary tradition of the hunted female as bird or bird-like in

‘Such is the Vale of Blackmoor’ 201 representation. In particular, the myth of Tereus’s pursuit of Procne and Philomela, and their subsequent transformation into birds, as depicted in Book VI of Ovid’s Metamorphoses (AD 3-8). See also, Arthur M. Young’s essay, ‘Of the Nightingale’s Song’ (1951: pp. 181–184). Characters as bird-like figures, the presence of birds, and connotations of vulnerability and sexuality in Hardy’s oeuvre has received significant critical attention. See Alexander Fischler, ‘An Affinity for Birds: Kindness in Hardy’s Jude the Obscure’ (1981) and Rosemarie Morgan, Women and Sexuality in the Novels of Thomas Hardy (1988: pp. 53, 61–62, 67, 108). 5 In this poem, plunging an arm into a bowl of water brings back the speaker’s memory of a day long ago when they submerged their hand under a waterfall to retrieve a fallen cup: ‘Whenever I plunge my arm, like this, | In a basin of water, I never miss | The sweet sharp sense of a fugitive day | Fetched back from its thickening shroud of gray’ (Hardy, 1993: p. 64, lines 1–4). 6 ‘The Ring at Casterbridge’, or the actual location of Maumbury Ring, was (and still is) the remains of a Roman amphitheatre in Dorchester, and is a notable location in Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge (Hardy, 2008a: p. 67). In this text, the narrator recalls that it ‘was a huge circular enclosure’, and ‘was to Casterbridge what the ruined Coliseum is to modern Rome’; it is ‘Melancholy, impressive, lonely, yet accessible from every part of the town, [and] the historic circle was the frequent spot for appointments of a furtive kind.’ (2008a: p. 67). ‘The Ring’ is a key meeting place for Michael and Susan Henchard in this novel, but it is also conceptualised as an antiquated space that has accumulated layers of localised history and forgotten memory.

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‘Such is the Vale of Blackmoor’ 203 Langton, John. (2015) ‘Royal and non-royal forests and chases in England and Wales’, Historical Research, 88(241): pp. 381–401. Lea, Hermann. (1928) Highways & Byways in Hardy’s Wessex. London: Macmillan. Lee, Vernon. (1923) ‘Hardy’, in The Handling of Words and other Studies in Literary Psychology. London: Bodley Head, pp. 222–241. Livesey, Ruth. (2019) ‘Arboreal Thinking: George Eliot and the Matter of Life in Adam Bede’, in Carruthers, Jo, Dakkak, Nour, and Spence, Rebecca (eds.), Anticipatory Materialisms in Literature and Philosophy, 1790–1930. Basingstoke: Palgrave, pp. 131–151. Lodge, David. (1966) ‘Tess, Nature, and the Voices of Hardy’, in Language of Fiction: Essays in Criticism and Verbal Analysis of the English Novel. London: Routledge, pp. 164–188. Miller, Elizabeth Carolyn. (2016) ‘Dendrology and Ecological Realism’, Victorian Studies, 58(4): pp. 696–718. Miller, Joseph Hillis. (1995) Topographies. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Millgate, Michael. (2014) Thomas Hardy’s Library at Max Gate: Catalogue of an Attempted Reconstruction. Available at: (Accessed: September 2015). Mingay, Gordon Edmund. (1999) A Social History of the English Countryside. London: Routledge. Morgan, Benjamin. (2019) ‘Scale in Tess in Scale’, NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction, 52(1): pp. 44–63. Morgan, Rosemarie. (1988) Women and Sexuality in the Novels of Thomas Hardy. London: Routledge. Murray, John. (1882) Handbook for Travellers in Wiltshire, Dorsetshire, and Somersetshire. London: John Murray. London, British Library. From the library of Thomas Hardy, with MS. Notes, and annotations to the map. Pite, Ralph. (2002) Hardy’s Geography. Basingstoke: Palgrave. Rackham, Oliver. (2015) Woodlands. London: William Collins. Shakesheff, Timothy. (2003) Rural Conflict, Crime and Protest: Herefordshire, 1800– 1860. Woodbridge: Boydell. Shires, Linda M. (1999) ‘The Radical Aesthetic of Tess of the d’Urbervilles’, in Kramer, Dale (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Thomas Hardy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 145–163. Smith, D. (2004) ‘Cary, John (1755–1835)’, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Available at: (Accessed: June 2016). Smith, Jonathan. (2006) Charles Darwin and Victorian Visual Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Sorum, Eve. (2011) ‘Hardy’s Geography of Narrative Empathy’, Studies in the Novel, 43(2): pp. 175–199. Trollope, Anthony. (2014) Framley Parsonage. Edited by Katherine Mullin and Francis O’Gorman. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Young, Arthur M. (1951) ‘Of the Nightingale’s Song’, The Classical Journal, 46(4): pp. 181–184.


Through a study of silvicultural writing, this book has explored the role of trees and tree spaces in long nineteenth-century English fiction and culture. This is not to say that trees have been any less important in other cultures or centuries; however, as this study argues, and as a result of wider industrial and agricultural changes, this time and place witnessed unprecedented shifts in environmental perception and arboreal awareness. In this context, the silvicultural novel forms part of a broader, multi-temporal, and inter-textual tree-writing tradition that generates and shares arborescent information. Through responding to a network of contemporary tree-related issues, the novelistic landscapes discussed in this study represent and reflect the wider environmental significance of trees during the nineteenth century. Furthermore, these literary landscapes demonstrate how humans have used these sites as landmarks for understanding the parameters of their own narratives and existence. Understanding the presence, absence, combination, shape, and span of trees in the novels of Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell, Thomas Hardy (and their contemporaries) sheds light on how arboreal associations manifest, accumulate, and fade away around these sites. It is an important claim in this book, that a comprehension of this process enables a greater understanding of how trees have been utilised and navigated through human-tree encounters and within the cultural imagination. As discussed in the first chapter, the silvicultural tradition is a network of tree-writings that participate in all kinds of inter-textual borrowing and cross-referencing. This mycorrhizal web of inheritance shares arboreal anecdotes, opinions, and knowledge across generations of tree study. When viewed retrospectively, this nexus of tree histories and ideas grows out of and builds upon past records, and has continued to influence the ongoing perception of trees, woodland, and forests, even today. This study puts forward that William Gilpin is a crucial thinker within this silvicultural tradition, writing and contributing to the understanding of environmental aesthetics, as well as responding to the more naturalistic work of John Evelyn and the Royal Society before him. Through this, Gilpin contributed to contemporary natural history observation, a mode shaped by a variety of concurrent fields. Tree-writing was a beneficiary of this confluence of ideas in his Forest

Conclusion 205 Scenery (1791), and this influenced subsequent nineteenth-century writers— such as Jane and John Claudius Loudon, Jacob George Strutt, William Howitt, and Rebecca Hey—at a time when the intersection of aesthetic and natural history viewing was developing even further. Rooted and branching discourses that constitute this tradition are made up of, but are not limited to, subjects surrounding tree history, care and cultivation, species and variety identification, arboreal sites and locations of interest, and the visual appearance of specimens and combinations in the landscape. Gilpin is a key touchstone for understanding how arboreal information exists through afterlives in other kinds of tree-writing: from the anecdote of the ‘Cadenham’ Oak and other remarkable trees, to the popularity of the New Forest as a picturesque destination of arboreal and natural interest. Subsequent writers wrestle with his comments on the hawthorn or the beech for example, and some deprecate his opinions as outmoded or merely painterly. Forest Scenery underwent revisions by T. D. Lauder in 1834 and was dismissed by John R. Wise in 1863, only to be salvaged and reinstated as a work of authority by Francis George Heath as Gilpin’s Forest Scenery in 1879. Moreover, as Chapter One highlights, Gilpin’s work had a lasting presence across the nineteenth century, and the development of cultural arboreal understanding benefits from these interconnections and tensions. Within this web of knowledge, opinions coincide and conflict, accumulate and grow out of one another irrespective of genre, textual form, or authorial aim. Much more than this, the incremental structure of Gilpin’s Forest Scenery, and how he ‘methodizes’ his ‘remarks’ from single trees, to combinations, and then to forests is conducive to this kind of arboreal study (Gilpin, 1794, 1:iii). Within Gilpin’s discussion of single trees, the author discusses lichens upon bark, ramification, and spray of branches, then gestures out to discuss individual characters and specimens, and then the histories of remarkable trees within the New Forest and elsewhere. Gilpin’s discussion of tree combinations then oscillates from clumps, to parkland scenery, then to the internal and external parts of a forest, its human and non-human inhabitants, and this is followed by a discussion of forest history with regard to localised and international examples of note. Forest Scenery’s final book brings together these threads of arboreal observation and association in a narrative tour of the New Forest and its environs. In its branching composition, Forest Scenery enacts how arboreal discourse develops out of and in relation to different tree topics, as well as being rooted to the same object in focus. In the movement from the study of tree components to the internal and external composition of a forest, Gilpin’s observations occur on a microscopic and macroscopic scale. Furthermore, these visual observations are demonstrative of aesthetic and naturalistic interests simultaneously; and this multifariousness makes Gilpin a key figure in understanding the scope and complexity of silvicultural literature. As the case of the Upas Tree in Chapter One suggests, this literary tradition shares anecdotes of fiction as much as fact in the cultural imagination.

206 Conclusion However, in its fictional form, the novel does not always engage with this network at the level of a direct reference. Despite Marianne Dashwood’s verbal nod to Gilpin as he ‘who first defined what picturesque beauty was’, at the level of narrative, the silvicultural novel participates with this stream of accumulating arborescent history in a number of different ways (Austen, 2013: p. 113). As Chapter Two suggests, engagement with the silvicultural tradition occurs at the level of conversation and communication. Take, for example, the dialogue between Marianne and Edward that gestures to views on arboreal aesthetics and utility, typical of Gilpin and Evelyn’s work. Equally, in Mansfield Park, Fanny Price’s conversations with other characters touch on literary and horticultural reference points in her responses to trees. Through conversations with others, characters reveal their conversance with the variety of arboreal knowledge, and their application (and opinions) of these ideas determine aspects of their characterisation. Moreover, dialogue becomes a means to present and give voice to co- existing tensions in arboreal understanding too. As Chapter Three highlights for example, through Margaret Hale’s conversations with her mother regarding the salubrity of the New Forest in North and South, Gaskell characterises her heroine as forward-thinking and at the same time, gestures to the role of trees in the proliferation of ‘delicious air’ and miasmic vapours co- existing in contemporary discourse (Gaskell, 2008: p. 41). The varied opinions voiced by characters (through dialogue) within these novels are indicative of the inter-textual exchanges that were occurring at the level of non-fiction too. Through the configuration of settings that correspond with real locations, silvicultural novelists add to a web of associations surrounding actual trees and tree spaces, and these arboreal connotations have an impact upon the fictional narratives in question. As Chapter Three reveals, in Libbie Marsh’s Three Eras, Gaskell juxtaposes Dunham Park as a kind of ‘sylvan repose’ away from the ‘whirl and turmoil’ of Manchester (Gaskell, 1855: pp. 38–39). In North and South, this contrast develops through the representation of Milton-Northern and Helstone, which have recognisable urban/rural counterparts in Manchester and the New Forest. Gaskell explicitly places Helstone (a fictional village) in the New Forest to draw upon the cultural associations of this location; Margaret’s connection with her forest home and the community therein act as a memorial marker throughout the heroine’s transplantation to the smoky city. This difference is emphasised through Gaskell’s conceptualisation of the New Forest—built in the picturesque mode and arguably through Gilpinesque associations—at the outset of the novel. The New Forest becomes a kind of shorthand for a rural idyll, and the novel scrutinises this cultural perception through Margaret’s displacement from its boundaries. Furthermore, as Chapters Four and Five set out, within Thomas Hardy’s fiction, arboreal association becomes even more site-specific in this author’s oeuvre. Take, for instance, the representation and utilisation of the ‘Billy Wilkins’ tree in The Woodlanders; Hardy directly refers to this actual tree in

Conclusion 207 the earlier versions of the narrative, and slowly edits the tree out of the pages of the novel across editions. J. B. Bullen argues that this was to distance a plot about marital affairs from the real park wherein the tree resides; trees absorb narratives, and for propriety’s sake, Hardy wanted to distance his narrative physically away from the parameters of an actual familial estate (Bullen, 2013: p. 133). However, regardless of the reasons for this erasure, the movement creates a loss of geographical specificity within the Wessex landscape. At the level of narrative, the loss of personalised association with arboreal landmarks is central to The Woodlanders, wherein Grace Melbury forgets how to navigate the trees of her childhood, and this memorial loss defines both her characterisation and storied trajectory in the novel. In Tess of the D’Urbervilles, rather than a single tree or trees, Hardy takes the actual site and associations of Blackmoor Vale as a palimpsest to be added to, and through the fictional text adds layers of memory to this pre-existing site. Blackmoor Vale is a forest that had disappeared by the time that the author was writing, but in Hardy’s narrative, this space asserts itself as a psycho-emotional and topographical marker across the heroine’s perambulations. As Chapter Five elucidates, a reading of Blackmoor Vale is significant, as it allows the reader to perceive the network of prospects, arboreal components, and their shifting environmental associations, as well as Tess’s experiential view of her surroundings. Trees, tree spaces, and tree cultures manifest through setting, characterisation, and conversation in the silvicultural novel. Arboreal associations with real-life locations are drawn out, utilised, and built upon by the authors in this study. These connotations can have an impact on narrative, as well as the cultural perception of these actual spaces as sites of literary tourism. To some extent, ‘fictional’ associations around these sites blend with landscape memory. However, the representation of trees, woodlands, and forests within the silvicultural novel is more than a dialogic echo of or addition to the nonfiction discourses existing outside novelistic parameters. The significant contribution of the novel form to the silvicultural tradition of tree-writing resides in how characters read, use, and navigate arboreal space. At the level of their narratives, characters’ movements within and around woodscapes reflect and enact an understanding of trees as micro and macro entities in physical and notional terms. Trees are intermediary sites that extend and contain wider environmental discourses and modes of observation, and so they are key non-human landmarks for understanding environment from a human perspective. Despite their fictional nature, the nineteenth-century novels within this study offer protracted instances where broader temporalities of human and tree experience are encapsulated within the span of a single narrative. In observing these encounters in time and space in a condensed format, through the novel form and from a distance, the reader is witness to the extensive scalar quality of arboreal association and accumulation. As this book argues, Austen’s use of the arboreal boundary challenges what the park wall signifies for the author and in physical terms more



generally. As characters in Mansfield Park, Sense and Sensibility, and Emma explore the arboreal limits of parkland—as denoted by trees—they scrutinise and in some cases subvert the exposure of the open prospect. However, in this movement, character and reader become aware of the socio-political issues created by picturesque perception and agricultural enclosures, contexts that define and emanate inwards and outwards from the arboreal boundary. This construction of fictional tree space becomes an intermediary means for Austen to gesture towards the social and political impacts of improvement, topics that she was supposedly limited by as a woman and author. As Chapter Three suggests, just as Fanny Price and Marianne Dashwood seek shelter in the trees at the edges of an estate, in a variety of circumstances in Gaskell’s fiction, trees within and without the domestic setting are places to take refuge in. Through the movement of her characters in Ruth, Libbie Marsh’s Three Eras, and North and South, Gaskell explores what the presence and absence of trees means to individual and collective well-being. Moreover, this author explores how tree sites are liminal spaces that unsettle the fixity of the rural/urban divide in the cultural imagination. In her characters’ negotiations of tree space, Gaskell alludes to public discourses on environmental salubrity and its correspondence with human health. In Hardy’s fiction, characters similarly use trees and woodland as a form of cover and navigation. In The Woodlanders, within the Hintock setting, an arboricultural community lives and works in the woodland’s limits. Characters such as Fitzpiers, Mrs Charmond, and even Grace Melbury are external to this combination of trees and people, and their presence acts as a kind of modernising intrusion within this space. In an inward rather than outward movement, Hardy explores trees on a microcosmic scale, but when read horizontally, this scale in itself is made up of deep layers of memorial association, forgotten and remembered. In contrast to Austen’s and Gaskell’s work, here characters do not seek trees as a kind of shelter, the woodland itself is the home of this community to begin with. Instead, in exploring this boundary between human and tree existence, Hardy considers how the behaviour of humans adds to and intrudes upon the margins of this delicate arboreal ecology. In Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Blackmoor Vale is an extended arboreal boundary, and this novel considers this site and other kinds of tree space in respect of how they absorb and accumulate associations of human-tree encounters that have occurred under their branches. The sort of cover that trees provide here is entirely reliant upon individualised, localised, collective, picturesque, and historical connotations. In the heroine’s navigation and memory of arboreal sites and prospects within which trees feature, the reader witnesses how the literary landscape can be read on smaller and greater scales simultaneously. Each of the novels that this study is concerned with engages with arboreal space as a kind of boundary, margin, hiding place, and/or sanctuary. Similarly to Jay Appleton’s study of aesthetic geography in The Experience of Landscape, this ‘Edge-of-the-wood’ domain is sought after here as a kind

Conclusion 209 of refuge bound up with biological and cultural impulses (Appleton, 1986: p. 135), and as Ruth Livesey suggests in her study of Adam Bede, these sites can generate a moment of pause within the narrative’s trajectory (Livesey, 2019). Trees offer liminal spaces where modes of perception and knowledge might intersect, and wherein associations accrue; but this liminality characterises them as ideal places for cover in a variety of circumstances. Trees are not just narrative framing devices in these cases; understanding how trees (and their associations) are scalar sites of human-arboreal interest, and understanding how novels act out this process is key to discerning the role and composition of novelistic environments more broadly. In many ways, such an anthropocentric conclusion is less about the organic entities in themselves, but how we as humans have continued to respond to trees, use them as intermediaries between the wider world and ourselves, and how this developed in the long nineteenth century specifically. Across the chapters of this study, I have referred to modern environmental, Political Ecology, and Ecofeminist studies that explore non-human and human agency: Jane Bennett’s ecological ‘assemblage’ of ‘vibrant matter’, Stacy Alaimo’s concept of ‘trans-corporeality’, and Anna Tsing’s observations on ‘collaborative survival’ (Bennett, 2010: p. 21; Alaimo, 2010: p. 2; Tsing, 2015: p. 20). This is a broad field in critical terms and within the environmental humanities more generally, and much like my consideration of connecting tree texts, the reader may know of a host of other studies that align with and respond to this area of thought. Donna Haraway’s suggestion for ‘tentacular thinking’ in moving away from environmental individualism (Haraway, 2016: pp. 30–57), and Val Plumwood’s proposal of ‘renarrativization’ in thinking through the human relationship with the natural world are just two more valuable examples that spring to mind here (Plumwood, 2011: p. 45). Without minimising this scholarship, it is fair to say that at the heart of all these studies is a desire to conceptualise and consider how non-human environments cannot (and should not) be unpicked from human existence, physically or notionally. Moreover, thinking through this fluid relationship allows for a necessary reframing of these encounters in the current climate crisis. With this in mind, I have explored how trees specifically are not just picturesque components in the landscape, trees consist of multiple temporal and physical scales, and these organic beings manage to exist as individual and communal specimens, all at once. At the time of writing, it is unsurprising that trees are key and complex markers of interest during the climate crisis; The Woodland Trust states that the UK needs to plant 1.5 million hectares of woodland to help with flooding, reduce pollution, and reach net zero carbon (The Woodland Trust, 2020). Meanwhile, the apparent confusion in understanding the benefits of planting young specimens and the devastating ecological effects of felling ancient trees continues apace; in a movement that evokes Italo Calvino’s ‘The Baron in the Trees’, protestors against the government’s HS2 railway project currently reside in ancient woodland (and even up in the branches



of these trees) along this proposed route. Alongside this activism, there is a developing comprehension of the ‘wood-wide-web’—a scientific understanding of the network of mycorrhizal (fungal) webs that form part of a forest’s root system—and this has been popularised in the now oft-cited English translation of The Hidden Life of Trees (2016) by Peter Wohlleben and Robert Macfarlane’s Underland (2019). Equally, these ideas of tree connection and communication have filtered into contemporary fiction, recently and notably in Richard Powers’s The Overstory (2018). Just as our Victorian counterparts were responding to environmental, experiential, and social upheaval through the developments of industrialisation, the current and ongoing climate crisis (which is also a product of human progress) has similarly evoked a nexus of arboreal observation, articulation, and knowledge sharing. It is not the purpose of this book to contrive that the silvicultural tradition pre-empts these contemporary ideas of tree communication through textual means: if trees teach us anything, it is that there is no cultural or physical starting point in understanding their connection to human existence. However, identifying the long nineteenth-century silvicultural tradition as a web of texts that share and disseminate, not nutrients, but arboreal information, is a novel way of comprehending how we have responded to trees in cultural terms, and exploring how these associations have developed. Silvicultural literature reflects how trees exist on multiple scales, and how humans have responded to this, and records how these responses have defined our treatment of them. Furthermore, the cultural response to these spaces imitates the structure and behaviour of trees themselves. Understanding the micro and macro role of trees in long nineteenth-century literature allows for a better appreciation of the role of environment in these (and other) texts and times. The correspondence between inter-textual tree space and multi-tree textualisation provides a deep and branching map of human-arboreal encounters, and through this, an understanding of self and place on a localised and much broader scale.

References Alaimo, Stacy. (2010) Bodily Natures: Science, Environment, and the Material Self. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Appleton, Jay. (1986) The Experience of Landscape. London: Wiley. Austen, Jane. (2013) Sense and Sensibility. Edited by Edward Copeland. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Bennett, Jane. (2010) Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Bullen, J. B. (2013) Thomas Hardy: The World of His Novels. London: Frances Lincoln. Gaskell, Elizabeth. (1855) Libbie Marsh’s Three Eras. London: Hamilton. Gaskell, Elizabeth. (2008) North and South. Edited by Angus Easson. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Conclusion 211 Gilpin, William. (1794) Remarks on Forest Scenery and Other Woodland Views (Relative Chiefly to Picturesque Beauty) Illustrated by the Scenes of New-Forest in Hampshire (2 vols). 2nd ed. London: R. Blamire. Haraway, Donna. (2016) Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Cthuluscene. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Livesey, Ruth. (2019) ‘Arboreal Thinking: George Eliot and the Matter of Life in Adam Bede’, in Carruthers, Jo. Dakkak, Nour. and Spence, Rebecca. (eds.), Anticipatory Materialisms in Literature and Philosophy, 1790–1930. Basingstoke: Palgrave, pp. 131–151. Macfarlane, Robert. (2019) ‘The Understorey (Epping Forest, London)’, in Underland: A Deep Time Journey. London: Hamish Hamilton, pp. 85–116. Plumwood, Val. (2011) ‘Nature in the Active Voice’, in Irwin, Ruth (ed.), Climate Change and Philosophy: Transformational Possibilities. London: Continuum, pp. 32–47. Powers, Richard. (2018) The Overstory. London: William Heinemann. Tsing, Anna Lowenhaupt. (2015) The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. The Woodland Trust (2020) ‘How Trees Fight Climate Change’. Available at: https:// (Accessed: 8 May 2020). Wohlleben, Peter. (2016) The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate – Discoveries from a Secret World. Vancouver: Greystone Books.


Note: Italic page numbers refer to figures and page numbers followed by “n” denote endnotes. ‘aesthetic geology’ 154 Ainsworth, William Harrison: Boscobel 146, 147 Alaimo, Stacy 10, 129, 209; ‘trans-corporeality’ 129, 209 Anderson, Kathleen 78 Andrews, Malcolm: The Search for the Picturesque 4 antiquarianism 154, 155 Appleton, Jay: ‘edge-of-the-wood’ 91, 99, 109, 208; The Experience of Landscape 90–93, 208 arboreal conversation and characterisation 78–80 arboreal knowledge 1, 24, 78, 146, 194, 206 Armstrong, Nancy 6 Austen, Jane 6, 70, 105, 204, 207, 208; Emma 7, 68, 74, 208; Evelyn 97, 194; Mansfield Park 7, 68, 77, 86, 89, 91, 92, 96, 99n3, 176, 206, 208; Northanger Abbey 78–80, 94; Persuasion 69; Pride and Prejudice 68, 87, 92; Sense and Sensibility 7, 68, 69, 74, 89, 93, 97, 99n3, 208; silvicultural dynamism 68–80; trees, improvement, and maintaining arboreal boundaries 80–99 Bank Holiday Act of 1871 62n8 Barchas, Janine 70, 99n3 Barrell, John 184 Bate, Jonathan: The Song of the Earth 9 Beaulieu Abbey 48 Beer, Gillian 185; Darwin’s Plots 154 Bending, Stephen 62n5 Bennett, Jane 10, 67, 79, 129, 209

Bermingham, Ann: Landscape and Ideology: The English Rustic Tradition 1740–1860 4, 89 Bewell, Alan 117, 133n12 Bezrucka, Yvonne 163 Billy Wilkins 8, 145–146, 148 Birnam Oak 1 Blackmoor Vale 8, 169, 170, 176, 179–188, 191, 193, 194, 195, 197–200, 207, 208 ‘Boabab’ Tree of Senegal 25 Boumelha, Penny 197 Brass, Daniel 122 The British Arboretum (Elliott, Watkins, Daniels) 20, 56, 57 Brontë, Charlotte 6, 25, 106, 133n12; Jane Eyre 117, 120 Buckland, Adelene 160; Novel Science: Fiction and the Invention of Nineteenth-Century Geology 162 Buell, Lawrence 9; The Environmental Imagination 10n3 Bullen, J. B. 147, 207 Burgess, H. W. 18 Burke, Edmund: A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful 4, 10n2 Burnett, Gilbert Thomas 16 Byerly, Alison 184, 185 Cadenham/Cadnam Oak 28–34, 31, 32, 32, 34, 71, 145, 205 ‘The Cadnam Oak’ in Leisure Hour (Anon) 31, 32 Calvino, Italo: ‘The Baron in the Trees’ 209 cartography and maps 174

214 Index Cary, John 200n3 ‘catastrophism’ 162 Cedars of Lebanon 25 ‘Change of Air’ regimens 107 Chippendale, Christopher 196 Clark, Robert 97 clumps 5, 6, 14, 34–40, 79, 87, 88, 89, 119, 179, 182, 184, 205 Colbert, Benjamin 81, 82 Coleman, William Stephen 5, 16, 145; Our Woodlands, Heaths, and Hedges: A Popular Description of Trees, Shrubs, Wild Fruita, ETC. With Notices of Their Insect Inhabitants 23, 139, 141 Commons Act 52 Constable, John 18 Cowen, William 112; View of Bradford 109, 111; View of Huddersfield 109; View of Rotherham, South Yorkshire 109 Cowper, William: The Task 77 Cozens, Alexander 18 Cranborne Chase (The Chase) 176–180, 181, 194, 199 Crawford, Rachel 85 Cruchley, George 199n3; Cruchley’s railway and station map of Berkshire 173, 174; Dorset (‘Tess Map’) 173, 174, 174; Hampshire 173, 174, 196; Somerset 173, 174; Wiltshire 173, 174, 196 Cruikshank, George 28; People Reaching for Alcoholic Drink Falling from a Pile of Barrels of Liquor Likened to the Upas-tree 27 Dainotto, Roberto 122 Daniels, Stephen 10, 20, 56, 62n2, 73; The British Arboretum 20, 56, 57 Darwin, Charles: The Formation of Vegetable Mould through the Action of Worms With Observations on their Habits 196; On the Origin of Species 138 Darwin, Erasmus 15, 24, 25, 140 Darwin’s Plots (Beer) 154 Davis, John R. 59 Deakin, Roger: Wildwood 142 Debrabant, Mary 127 decay 41–44 deep mapping 140 deforestation 13, 34, 41–44

De La Beche, Henry: Ichthyosaurs Attending a Lecture on Fossilised Human Remains 159, 160 Delaford 74, 97, 99n3 Derby Arboretum 56 Dickens, Charles 25; Bleak House 126; The Old Curiosity Shop 115 Dictionary of Superstitions (Opie and Tatem) 105 A Discourse upon the Origin and the Foundation of the Inequality among Mankind (Rousseau) 39 Donwell Abbey 75, 83, 94 Driver, Felix 107 Duckworth, Alistair 80 Dunham Park 113–115, 206 Easton, Celia 80 ecocriticism 9, 10n3 Edgecombe, Rodney 71 Edlin, H. L.: Woodland Crafts in Britain: An Account of the Traditional Uses of Trees and Timbers in the British Countryside 143 Egdon Heath 181 ‘Eidophusikon’ 99n5 Eliot, George 6; Adam Bede 175, 177, 209 Elliott, Paul A. 10, 62n2; The British Arboretum 20, 56, 57 English cultural identity 16 environmental humanities 9, 209 environmental pollution 13 Epping Forest 52, 53, 54, 62n8, 63n9, 109 Eve, Jeanette 132n1 Evelyn, John 7, 24, 70, 71, 74, 75, 76, 83, 85, 86, 97, 100n8, 141, 204; Silva, or a Discourse of Forest-trees and the Propagation of Timber in His Majesty’s Dominions 15, 16, 24, 75, 76, 141 Felber, Lynette 122 felling of timber 40, 72, 74 Fielding, Henry: Tom Jones 100n7 Flick, Carlos 126 forest bathing 115, 133n10 forest-law 41–44, 47 Fosbroke, John 106 Fosbroke, Thomas Dudley 106 Foster, John Bellamy 63n9 Fowler, Kathleen 99n3

Index  215 Gaskell, Elizabeth 6, 7, 186, 189, 204, 206; complete sylvan repose 113–116; ‘delicious air’ and green belt in North and South 121–132; Langue des Arbres 103, 105, 106, 132, 132n1; Libbie Marsh’s Three Eras 108, 109–113, 111, 113–115, 118, 121, 122, 132, 133n7, 134n14, 206, 208; The Life of Charlotte Brontë 106, 118; Mary Barton 105, 117, 128, 130; North and South 8, 108, 109, 110, 121–123, 125, 126, 127, 129, 130, 132, 148, 195, 206, 208; Ruth 7, 103, 108, 109–113, 118, 121, 122, 132, 208; Sylvia’s Lovers 105, 107, 118, 133n5; trees, miasma, and dividing rural/urban spaces 116–118; ‘wildscape’ and associated threat(s) of ‘lush vegetation’ 118–121; Wives and Daughters 105 Gatrell, Simon 149, 200n1 geographic information systems (GIS) 140 geology 154, 155 germ theory 116 Gilpinesque 50, 70, 79, 83, 155, 199, 206 Gilpin, William 4, 6, 7, 8, 10n1, 21, 25, 29–31, 33, 35, 38–52, 62n5, 62n7, 71, 73, 74, 75, 80, 86, 88, 89, 92, 93–94, 97, 109, 133n9, 140, 153, 156, 175, 180, 189, 200, 204, 206; branch spray and ramification 17–19; An Essay upon Prints 3; Forest Scenery 2, 3, 5, 9, 14–18, 20, 22, 23, 25, 28, 32, 34, 36, 37, 40–42, 44, 46, 48–51, 61, 62n1, 68, 70, 72, 77, 79, 81, 84, 85, 87, 88, 93, 98, 119, 123, 124, 141, 171, 180, 195, 204–205; Moral Contrasts 73; the New Forest 40–51; Observations on the Coasts of Hampshire, Sussex, and Kent 3; Observations on the River Wye 153; Observations on the Western Parts of England 100n8, 155, 171; Three Essays on Picturesque Beauty; on Picturesque Travel; and on Sketching Landscape 3; Western Parts 171, 172, 173, 185, 196 Glastonbury thorn 30 Glendening, John 165n12 A Gnarled and Hollow Old Oak Tree (Anon) 17 Goodwin-Hawkins, Bryonny 113 The Great Exhibition 59–61 The Great Trees of Dorset (Pollard & Brawn) 145–146

Green Belt 54, 121–132 Griffin, Carl J. 36, 41, 42 Halliday, Stephen 121 Haraway, Donna 209 Hardy, Emma 181, 181; Blakemore Vale 181, 182 Hardy, Thomas 6, 163, 170, 171, 174, 174, 176, 181, 183, 185, 188–192, 196, 197, 200, 200n4, 204, 206; Jude the Obscure 173, 200n1; The Mayor of Casterbridge 182, 184, 201n6; A Pair of Blue Eyes 154, 158; The Return of the Native 157, 182; ‘Shall Stonehenge Go?’ 197; Tess of the D’Urbervilles 8, 9, 157, 200n1, 207, 208; Under the Greenwood Tree 138, 187; The Woodlanders 8, 139, 140, 141–164, 164n3, 165n5, 165n12, 169, 182, 198, 199, 206, 207, 208 Harris, Elisha 115 Harris, Jason Marc 105 Harrison, Robert Pogue 1, 42 Hartley, Beryl 16, 18 Harvey, David 58 Haworth 106, 118, 133n5, 189 Heath, Francis George: Gilpin’s Forest Scenery 50, 51, 62n1, 62n7, 205 Helstone 122, 125, 126, 128, 130, 130, 148, 206 Henson, Eithne 6 Herbert, Lucille 185 Heringman, Noah 154 Hey, Rebecca 16, 24, 50, 205; The Spirit of the Woods 49 Hibberd, Shirley: ‘Monograph of the Ivy’ 51; The Town Garden: A Manual for the Management of City and Suburban Gardens 56–57 Hight, Julian: Britain’s Tree Story 34 Hintock 8, 140, 141, 147–151, 156, 158, 160–164, 182, 183, 186, 192, 208 Hipple, Walter John: The Beautiful, The Sublime & The Picturesque in British Aesthetic Theory 3, 4, 10n2 Hippocrates: On Airs, Waters, and Places 106 Hooke, Della 10, 85 Hothem, Thomas 86 Howitt, Mary 103 Howitt, William 5, 16, 46, 115, 205; The Rural Life of England 45, 50, 103 human-tree encounters 115, 176, 204, 208

216 Index Hunter, Alexander 99n4 Hussey, Christopher: The Picturesque 4, 10n2 ichthyosauri 158–161, 198 ‘Imagining and Creating Forests in Britain, 1890–1939’ (Tsouvalis and Watkins) 142 Ince, Henry: ‘The Upas Tree’ in The Wonders of the World in Nature and Art 26 Ingham, Patricia 165n5 Johns, Charles Alexander 16; The Forest Trees of Britain 49–50 Johnson, Matthew 144 Kelly, Helena 95 Kennedy, Margaret S. 117, 118 Kickel, Katherine 99n6 King, Steven 103 Knight, Richard Payne 3, 4, 35 Koch, Robert 121 Kramer, Dale 144, 145, 165n5 Kroll, Alison Adler 163 Lacey, W.: The Great Exhibition in the Crystal Palace 61 landscape 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 42, 44, 48, 105, 183, 187, 200; aesthetics 153; arboreal 28, 108, 120, 151; artificial 36; colonial 117; construction 180; containment of 175; gardening aesthetics 20; improvement 80; of Jane Austen (see Austen, Jane); man-made 34; ‘real’ and ‘dream’ 148; silvicultural memory in 159; stratigraphical conception of 156; topography 125 Lane, Maggie 85 Langton, John 177 Lauder, Thomas Dick 20, 22, 23, 25, 28, 46, 50, 205 Lawson, William 15 Lea, Hermann: Blackmoor Vale 170; Highways & Byways in Hardy’s Wessex 169, 181 Lee, Vernon 189 Libbie Marsh’s Three Eras (Gaskell) 108, 111, 113–115, 118, 121, 122, 132, 133n7, 134n14, 206, 208 Lightfoot, John 16, 29 Livesey, Ruth 175, 209 Lodge, David 189

Loudon, Jane: Instructions in Gardening for Ladies 57 Loudon, John Claudius 5, 16, 30, 31, 54, 55, 56, 146, 205; Arboretum et Fruticetum Britannicum 20, 21, 23, 56, 57, 61, 146; ‘Hints for Breathing Places for the Metropolis’ 54; Suburban Gardener and Villa Companion 56 lush vegetation 118–121 Macbeth-Raeburn, Henry: The Woodlanders 8, 139, 140, 141–164, 152, 164n3, 165n5, 165n12, 169, 182, 198, 199, 206, 207, 208 McDonagh, Briony 85 Macfarlane, Robert 210 Maher, Susan Naramore 140 Major, Susan 113 Mantell, Gideon 8; The Wonders of Geology: Or, a Familiar Exposition of Geological Phenomena 153, 155, 156 Manwood, John: A Treatise of the Lawes of the Forrest 42, 46, 52 ‘Marl-pit-oak’ 47 Marsham, Robert 16 Martin, Carol A. 132n2 Martin, John 159 Mayhew, Robert 5 du Maurier, George 104, 105, 109, 110 medical geography 7, 106, 107, 117 medical topography 7, 106–108 Miall, David S. 5, 37 Miasma 7, 54, 116–118, 120, 121, 125–128, 130–132, 206 Michasiw, Kim: ‘Nine Revisionist Theses on the Picturesque’ 4, 5 Millar, Richard 134n13 Miller, Elizabeth Carolyn 187 Miller, J. Hillis 171 Millgate, Michael 164n1, 173 Milton-Northern 121, 122, 125–128, 130, 131, 206 Mingay, G. E. 191 Mitchell, James: Dendrologia 146 Morgan, Benjamin: ‘Scale in Tess in Scale’ 140, 141, 164, 190 Morris, Richard E. 107 Morris, William 53, 54, 63n9 Morton, Timothy 9 Murray, Douglas 95 Murray, John: Handbook for Travellers in Wiltshire, Dorsetshire and Somersetshire 175, 180, 199n2

Index  217 New Forest 5, 8, 14, 28, 29, 30, 32, 33, 34, 40–52, 84, 87, 109, 121–132, 141, 171, 186, 188, 195–198, 205, 206 New Forest Deer Removal Act 51–52 ‘Nineteenth-Century Medical Landscapes: John H. Rauch, Frederick Law Olmsted, and the Search for Salubrity’ (Szczygiel and Hewitt) 114–115, 116 non-human entities 67, 129, 197 Notter, James Lane 117 O’Connor, Ralph 154 Palmer, Samuel 18 Parham, John 130 parkland scenery 14, 34, 87, 89, 205 parliamentary enclosure 13, 73, 85, 86 Paxton, Joseph: Magazine of Botany 56 Payne, Christiana 18 Phipps, Howard: A Beech Shaded Hollow, Cranborne Chase 178 picturesque 6, 84–86, 89, 155; aesthetics 6, 68, 73, 80, 90, 107; beauty 4, 17, 72, 81, 155, 196; and geological discourses 158; perception 4, 208; principles on 2; tourism 4, 183; tradition 3; writings 2, 6, 80, 81, 84, 92 Pillatt, Toby 17 Pliny 15, 24, 38; Natural History 142 Plot, Robert 15, 24 Powell, Robert Hutchinson: Medical Topography of Tunbridge Wells 116 Powers, Richard: The Overstory 210 preservation and planting into Nineteenth Century 51–62 Price, Cheryl Blake: 25 Price, Uvedale 3, 4; An Essay on the Picturesque, as Compared with the Sublime and the Beautiful 35 prospect-refuge theory 7, 90 Proustian Phenomena 193 ‘Questions of Medical Geography’ (Meade and Earickson) 106 Rackham, Oliver 10, 181 Radcliffe, Ann: The Mysteries of Udolpho 94 Readman, Paul: Storied Ground 2, 52 realist fiction 6, 200 Repton, Humphry 35, 89

Roberts, Mary 5, 16, 46, 197; Ruins and Old Trees Associated with Remarkable Events in English History 197; Voices from the Woodlands: Descriptive of Forest Trees, Ferns, Mosses, and Lichens 22, 45 Ross, Alexander: The Imprint of the Picturesque on Nineteenth-Century British Fiction 6 Rousseau, Jean-Jacques: A Discourse upon the Origin and the Foundation of the Inequality among Mankind 39, 62n6 Rudwick, Martin 154 Ruskin, John: Modern Painters 123, 196 scientific forestry 13, 52, 53 Scott, Walter 6 Shakespeare, William: Macbeth 1 Shires, Linda M. 185 Shore, Emily 30 Short, Brian 52 Sibthorp, Charles 59 silvicultural tradition 2, 7, 181, 194, 197, 200, 204, 206, 210 single trees and remarkable specimens 15–34 Smeele, Wietske 121 Smith, Jonathan 196, 197 Snow, John: ‘On the Mode of Communication of Cholera’ 121 Sorum, Eve 186 Sotherton 77, 86, 87, 89, 91, 176 Stafford, Fiona 83 Stagg, David 52 Stevenson, Lloyd 107 Stonehenge 174, 195–198 Stover, Stephen L. 44 Stradling, David 116 Strutt, Jacob G. 5, 16, 18, 20, 21, 49, 205 Strutt, Joseph 50, 56 Stukeley, William 24 ‘sylvan antiquity’ 176, 177, 194 Talbothays 192 ‘The Talking Elms, or the Hamadryals of Hyde Park’ in Punch (Anon) 60 Thompson, Kenneth 114 Thoreau, Henry David 5, 43; Walden 17 Thorsheim, Peter 116 Town Improvement Clauses Act of 1847 126 tree-felling 74

218 Index tree-maiming 36 trees in combination 34–40 tree-writing 6, 9, 14, 16, 17, 22, 24, 34, 45, 49, 61, 70, 72, 75, 103, 170, 187, 195, 200, 204, 205, 207 Trees in England: Management and Discourse since 1600 (Barnes, Pillatt, and Williamson) 17 Trollope, Anthony: Framley Parsonage 177; The Prime Minister 82 Tsing, Anna Lowenhaupt 10, 140, 150, 209 Twinn, Frances 106, 129 Tyas, Robert 16; Woodland Gleanings 20, 22 UpasTree 25–28, 51, 117, 205 urban pollution 117, 118, 120 urban topographies 7, 109, 131 Uvedale Price (1747–1829): Decoding the Picturesque (Watkins and Cowell) 10n2, 35 Walker, G. A Path, with Two Cows on the Left of it and a Blasted Tree on the Right 71 Watkins, Charles 10, 53, 62n2; The British Arboretum 20, 56, 57; ‘Imagining and Creating Forests in Britain, 1890–1939’ 142; Uvedale Price (1747–1829): Decoding the Picturesque 10n2, 35

Wenner, Barbara Britton: Prospect and Refuge in the Landscape of Jane Austen 91 Wessex 8, 139, 142, 144, 147, 148, 169, 173, 174, 175, 181–183, 187, 192, 195–197, 199, 200, 207 White, Gilbert: The Natural History of Selborne 16 Wigan, A. L.: Brighton and its Three Climates; with Remarks on its Medical Topography, and Advice and Warnings to Invalids and Visitors 107–108 Williamson, Tom 10, 17, 62n2 Williams, Raymond 84, 94, 114 Wiltshire, John 98 Wise, John R. 205; The New Forest: Its History and Its Scenery 50 Wohlleben, Peter: The Hidden Life of Trees 210 The Woodland Trust 209 Woodward, John 116 Wordsworth, William: ‘The Thorn’ 132n3 Young, D. W. 33, 34, 45 Young, Thomas: An Essay on Humanity to Animals 44 Zimmerman, Virginia 153, 162 zoological itemisation 39, 44