Caroline Ford


On her book Natural Interests: The Contest over Environment in Modern France

Cover Interview of February 21, 2017

A close-up

I would hope that a reader browsing in a bookstore would first look at the range of subjects explored in the book’s seven chapters and look more closely at one or two chapters that align most with his or her interests in order to get a sense of the wide range of sources and materials on which the book relies. I would also like for the reader to look at some of the illustrations. Chapter 1 contains lithographs from a journal published in the 1820s depicting “Regeneration of the Sweet Bounties of Nature in all Cantons of France” and “Mexicans contemplating the rich productions of Upper Mexico.” Chapter 3 on the disastrous floods of the nineteenth century, culminating in the great flood of 1910, when most of Paris was under water, indicates the range of pictorial representations of flooding, from block prints dating from the 1840s to the first officially commissioned photographs of the 1856 flood by the Prussian photographer E.D. Balthus and postcards of the flooded streets of France’s capital in 1910.