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The Old Ways: A Journey on Footby Robert Macfarlane
Synopses & Reviews
From the father of English nature writing: a superb selection of essays about rural England in the 1800s, with an introduction by the celebrated writer Richard Mabey
Richard Jefferies was the most important and imaginative observers of the natural world in the nineteenth century. Trekking across the English countryside, he recorded his responses to everything from the texture of an owl's feather and 'noises in the air' to the grinding hardship of rural labor.
This fantastic selection of his essays and articles shows a writer who is brimming with intense feeling, acutely aware of the land and those who work on it, and often ambivalent about the countryside. Who does it belong to? Is it a place, an experience, or a way of life? In these passionate and idiosyncratic writings, almost all our current ideas and concerns about rural life can be found.
Celebrated nature writer Richard Mabey's introduction to his selection of Jefferies' work discusses the author's life, his views on the paradoxes of rural life, and his place in the tradition of nature writers, and helps us see Jefferies in a whole new way.
"This scintillating travelogue is a celebration of well-worn footpaths and ancient sea routes. Naturalist MacFarlane (The Wild Places) traipses across Britain via Stone-Age trails, sand flats that briefly emerge between daily tides, and sea lanes to the Hebridean Isles. He ventures abroad into the bullet-strewn hills of the West Bank and follows a pilgrimage route in Spain. Along the way, the author meets artists, poets, farmers, sea-bird hunters, and adventurers, each with stories to tell and idiosyncratic attitudes toward the terrain ahead. MacFarlane writes with a discerning eye and an immediacy that immerses us in his surroundings — whether a delicately misty shore, a seemingly chaotic field of rocks that reveals hidden patterns, or a holy Himalayan mountain that makes him ' up, neck cricked and mouth bashed open at the beauty of it all.' MacFarlane strikes a fine balance between lyrical nature writing and engrossing scholarship that makes him the ideal walking companion. (Oct. 15)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
How we walk, where we walk, why we walk tells the world who and what we are. Whether it's once a day to the car, or for long weekend hikes, or as competition, or as art, walking is a profoundly universal aspect of what makes us humans, social creatures, and engaged with the world. Cultural commentator, Whitbread Prize winner, and author of Sex Collectors Geoff Nicholson offers his fascinating, definitive, and personal ruminations on the literature, science, philosophy, art, and history of walking.
Nicholson finds people who walk only at night, or naked, or in the shape of a cross or a circle, or for thousands of miles at a time, in costume, for causes, or for no reason whatsoever. He examines the history and traditions of walking and its role as inspiration to artists, musicians, and writers like Bob Dylan, Charles Dickens, and Buster Keaton. In The Lost Art of Walking, he brings curiosity, imagination, and genuine insight to a subject that often strides, shuffles, struts, or lopes right by us.
The acclaimed author of The Wild Places examines the subtle ways we are shaped by the landscapes through which we move
In this exquisitely written book, which folds together natural history, cartography, geology, and literature, Robert Macfarlane sets off to follow the ancient routes that crisscross both the landscape of the British Isles and its waters and territories beyond. The result is an immersive, enthralling exploration of the voices that haunt old paths and the stories our tracks tell. Macfarlanes journeys take him from the chalk downs of England to the bird islands of the Scottish northwest, from Palestine to the sacred landscapes of Spain and the Himalayas. He matches strides with the footprints made by a man five thousand years ago near Liverpool, sails an open boat far out into the Atlantic at night, and commingles with walkers of many kinds, discovering that paths offer a means not just of traversing space but also of feeling, knowing, and thinking.
About the Author
Geoff Nicholson is the author of twenty books, including Sex Collectors, Hunters and Gatherers, The Food Chain, and Bleeding London, which was shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize. He divides his time between Los Angeles and London
Table of Contents
I. The Pace of Thoughts
1. Tracing a Headland: An Introduction
3. The Mind at Three Miles an Hour
3. Rising and Falling: The Theorists of Bipedalism
4. The Uphill Road to Grace: Some Pilgrimages
5. Labyrinths and Cadillacs: Walking into the Realm of the Symbolic
II. From the Garden to the Wild
6. The Path Out of the Garden
7. The Legs of William Wordsworth
8. A Thousand Miles of Conventional Sentiment: The Literature of Walking
9. Mount Obscurity and Mount Arrival
10. Of Walking Clubs and Land Wars
III. Lives of the Streets
11. The Solitary Stroller and the City
12. Paris, or Botanizing on the Asphalt
13. Citizens of the Streets: Parties, Processions, and Revolutions
14. Walking After Midnight: Women, Sex, and Public Space
IV. Past the End of the Road
15. Aerobic Sisyphus and the Suburbanized Psyche
16. The Shape of a Walk
17. Las Vegas, or the Longest Distance Between Two Points
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