EU shipping is temporarily suspended


Writers and Artists under English Skies

Alexandra Harris

Out of stock


The first book to consider English literary and artistic responses to the weather, by the winner of the Guardian First Book Award

Also available as an eBook from iTunes, Amazon


The story of English culture over a thousand years can be told as the story of changing ideas about the weather. In a sweeping panorama, Weatherland allow us to witness cultural climates on the move, exploring how writers and artists, looking up at the same skies and walking in the same brisk air, have felt very different things. Alexandra Harris builds her remarkable account from small evocative details and catches the distinct voices of compelling individuals. 'Bloody cold', says Jonathan Swift in the 'slobbery' January of 1713. Percy Shelley wants to become a cloud, and John Ruskin wants to bottle one.

Weatherland is a celebration of English air and a life-story of those who have lived in it.

Chosen as Book of the Year by The Times, Sunday Times, Observer, Independent and Times Literary Supplement.

Winner: Longman – History Today Awards 2016, Historical Picture Researcher of the Year: Maria Ranauro

Read More


'Gathers all the written English centuries and sets them dancing to the seasons on the head of its pin'
Ali Smith, Times Literary Supplement

'A dazzling journey through the weather-worlds of English culture and history'
Robert Macfarlane

'A brilliant, beautiful and sensual book'
Sunday Times

'Splendid … its glory is in the detail, in its recording of facts and lives, atmospheres and words, quirks of feeling and behaviour'
A. S. Byatt, Guardian

'A fascinating portrait of that most British of preoccupations'

'Lovely, lyrical'
Daily Mail

Read More

Product Information

Book Details

Format: Paperback

Size: 19.8 x 12.9 cm

Extent: 432 pp

Publication date: 14 July 2016

ISBN: 9780500292655

Contents List

A Mirror in the Sky • Tesserae • I. 1. The Winter-Wise • 2. Forms of Mastery • 3. Imported Elements • 4. Weathervane • II. 5. ‘Whan that Aprill...’ • 6. Month by Month • 7. Secrets and Signs • 8. A Holly Branch • 9. ‘Why fares the world thus?’ • III. 10. Splendour and Artifice • 11. Shakespeare: Inside-Out • IV. 12. Two Anatomists • 13. Sky and Bones • 14. Milton’s Temperature; A Pause: On Freezeland Street • V. 15. Method and Measurement • 16. Reasoning with Mud • 17. A Language for the Breeze • 18. Dr Johnson Withstands the Weather • 19. Day by Day • VI. 20. Poets in the Storm • 21. Wordsworth: Weather’s Friend; A Flight: In Cloudland • VII. 22. Shelley on Air • 23. The Stillness of Keats • 24. Clare’s Calendar • 25. Turner and the Sun; VIII. • 26. Companions of the Sky • 27.‘Drip, Drip, Drip’: Varieties of Gloom • 28. Ruskin in the Age of Umber • 29. Rain on a Grave; IX. • 30. Bright New World • 31. Greyscale • 32. Too Much Weather; Flood

About the Author

Alexandra Harris studied at Oxford and at the Courtauld Institute in London, and worked at Christie's for a year before returning to Oxford to write a doctorate on art and literature in the 1930s. She is now a lecturer in English at the University of Liverpool, running courses on Modernism and American writing, and leading the MA in Contemporary Literature. Her first full-length book, Romantic Moderns, published by Thames & Hudson, was the winner of the 2010 Guardian First Book Award. Alexandra Harris was also a winner in the BBC's 'New Generation Thinkers' contest in 2011.