A major area of interest in French geomorphology during the last quarter of a cen- tury has been to understand denudation chronologies and the legacies of environ- mental change in shield regions. The mechanisms and consequences on landform patterns of differential erosion in plutonic,metamorphic and related cover rocks have been approached from the double angle of structural landforms in the landscape and petrographical,mineralogical and geochemical analysis in the laboratory. The detailed study of layered igneous intrusions has been particularly helpful in making progress more generally in the understanding of crystalline landform configurations of base- ment terrains. The Laboratoire de Geographic Physique CNRS-URAiai. nowreformed as twin research units (Paris: CNRS-UMR8591,and Clermont-Ferrand: CNRS-UPRES- A6042), and itsprecursor research group at the Sorbonne under the guidance of Pierre Birot,constituted the spawning ground for French research on the geomorphology of basement terrains. Alain Godard masterminded much of the research synthesised in this volume,which isbased on apreviously publishededition in French.YannickLageat and Jean-Jacques Lagasquie have not only upheld the spirit of this school of geomor- phology but also introduced novel concepts and methods to the investigation of crys- talline terrains. They have also maintained geomorphological research abreast of con- temporarydevelopments in the geosciences. YanniGunnell translated the original text into English, adapted the figures and introduced a measure of editing, updating and explicating in order to make the volume more accessible - not only to a non franco- phone audience, but to an audience unfamiliarwith the intellectual undercurrents and 30 years.