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Introduction: Sandscapes

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Charting the territory of sand’s multiple and numerous significances, the introduction positions the chapters in Sandscapes: Writing the British Seaside within a cultural history of sand and the sandscape, from the day-to day prosaic work of sand to its poetic inspirations. Here we explore the aesthetic, literary, political and social history of sand from the neglected sandscape to the overpopulated beach. What is the significance of sand – as setting, mythology, granular, playground, beach – for thinking about the British seaside? The introduction encourages readers of the Sandscapes collection to turn away from the alluring horizon of sky and sea to consider the sand at our feet. It offers a short history of the seaside town, a brief cultural history of sand, and explains the thinking behind the collected essays’ granular writing.