THE ROMANCE OF EDGELANDS. I have posted several times about the beauties that can be found in the industrial wastelands near our cities. I posted here about reviews of the book EDGELANDS by Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts. But in my posts I have focused on the individual scenes, the kind of visual effect that can be captured in a photograph. In that post about EDGELANDS, I linked to a review by Rick Poynor that included a quote from the book about edgelands as “places of possibility, mystery and beauty.” I passed over that sentence. A review of the book by Sean O’Brien in the Times Literary Supplement (March 11) made me realize that there is more to the appeal of edgelands than simply beauty. O’Brien describes edgelands as “in spirit…untidy, improvised, accidental, secret and quite likely a risk to health…. He points out that: “Birdwatchers like edgelands, and so do children and criminals….Their climate is strongly but not exclusively working-class.” Edgelands represent “the untidiness of life” and often call up memories of “intense industrial labour performed in harsh conditions for low wages….” So edgelands can evoke hidden parts of present lives, memories of the past and a sense of change.

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