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Observing the Beauty of Nature (Devant la beauté de la nature)

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Original Language: French | 430 pp. | September 2018

2 Seas Represents: World Excl. French

PHILOSOPHY | NATURE WRITING

An exciting book, full of new ideas and unexplored pathways.  Patrick Williams, Elle

A fascinating philosophical enquiry spanning time, space and subject matter to unravel the mystery of nature’s beauty.

Why do some natural landscapes leave us speechless with admiration? Why is a sunset or a starry sky a moving, calming, inspirational or joyful experience? To understand our aesthetic relationship with nature, Alexandre Lacroix takes us on a fascinating journey that spans time, space and subject matter.

He examines philosophy, from Socrates to the latest research carried out at MIT in Boston, exploring the theories of environmental aesthetics, a field that arose in the mid-1960s in the UK and the United States. He examines the sciences – the theories of evolution, physiology and perception – and the arts – poetry, painting and literature. And he goes further than simply reading the texts: he visits the Sibillini Mountains, the Ligurian coast, Burgandy, the forest of Fontainebleau and the River Wye in the UK, places celebrated for their beauty.

The result is an erudite and accessible philosophical enquiry that is as captivating as it is thought provoking. An essay on aesthetics that takes a political turn as it uncovers the roots of the ecological crisis: our distancing from nature. Preserving, and developing, our sensibility to nature’s beauty has never been so essential.

Alexandre Lacroix, born in 1975, is the managing editor of Philosophie Magazine. A writer of fiction and non-fiction, his work has been translated in over 10 countries.