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Distributed for Bodleian Library Publishing

The Lighted Window

Evening Walks Remembered

Offering a combination of place-writing, memoir, and cultural study, Peter Davidson examines the motif of the lighted window.
Homecoming, haunting, nostalgia, desire. These are some of the themes evoked by the beguiling image of the lighted window. In this innovative book, Peter Davidson is our guide, taking us on atmospheric walks through nocturnal cities in Britain, Europe, North America, and the field paths of rural England.

Surveying a wide range of material, the book extends from early romantic painting to contemporary fiction. Davidson features familiar lighted windows in English literature, turning to the works of poets such as Thomas Hardy and Matthew Arnold and the novels of Virginia Woolf, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Kenneth Grahame. The Lighted Window also considers the painted nocturnes of James Whistler, John Atkinson Grimshaw, and the ruralist Samuel Palmer; Japanese prints of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; Proust and the painters of the French belle époque; René Magritte’s L’Empire des Lumières; and North American painters such as Edward Hopper and Linden Frederick.

By interpreting the interactions of art, literature, and geography around this evocative motif, Peter Davidson shows how the lighted window has inspired an extraordinary variety of moods and ideas, from the romantic period to the present day.

224 pages | 66 color plates | 6 1/4 x 9 1/4

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"Anyone who has felt the mystery, allure and sadness of lighted windows will find their perceptions heightened and new cultural vistas opened by this unusual and beautiful book. It’s both vast and intimate in scope, taut with precise seeing and capacious in its leaps of association. Davidson inhabits the paintings he writes about, moving and feeling with them until there seems no border between pictures and life. Recognition and surprise mingle as we become wanderers in the nights of Europe, Asia and America. It’s a journey to savour."

Alexandra Harris

Table of Contents


1. Introduction
2. Winter Cities
3. London Nocturne
4. Windows in the Landscape
5. Northern Townscapes; Western Suburbs
6. Summer Night Illuminations

Further Reading
Picture Credits

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