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Upton, Dell. "New Views of the Virginia Landscape." The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 96, no. 4 (1988): 403-470.
Dell Upton provides a broad review of the literature and work which shapes our ideas about the Virginia landscape. The purpose of the essay, he sets out at the beginning, is to offer a critical and narrative review of Virginia's architectural history. He shapes the article around three basic assumptions: first, that architecture is not the only element in the landscape; second, that architecture cannot be separated from other aspects of the landscape; and third, that the architectural history of the state was and is shaped by a wide variety of disciplines through time. Throughout the body of the essay, Upton touches on a wide variety of topics which include how modern ideas of the past shape our interpretation of architectural history in Virginia, the history of the museum movement, and historical preservation movements and how they have shaped architectural studies, a review of the 17th, 18th, and 19th century work on architectural history in Virginia, and how that work has changed, and most interestingly, the movement to use social history, anthropology, and folklore to ask new questions of old topics, and create new topics. Upton also touches on work which seeks to include groups which have been left out of traditional interpretations of architectural history, such as African Americans and women, and work which involves cognitive landscapes. Upton ends the article leaving the reader with thoughts of how the newer perspectives of landscapes might affect the way that history is presented to the public. For researchers interested in cultural landscapes, particularly in Virginia, this thorough article presents ideas about the creation of the term "landscape" and how architectural history has and does affect current perceptions of the study of landscape. Upton's essay is important in that it challenges the researcher to understand why we view the landscape as we do, and to understand the temporal effects of our beliefs before undertaking a particular project. [E. Martin]