Synopses & Reviews
A fascinating, definitive, and very personal rumination on the history, science, philosophy, art, and literature of walking, by a skilled cultural commentator
Geoff Nicholson, author of Bleeding London and Sex Collectors, turns his eye to the intellectual and cultural history of that most common of activitieswalking. This simple, omnipresent activity has inspired numerous subcultures, literary and artistic legacies, sporting events, personal memories, epic journeys, mystical revelations, and scandals.
Its a rich tradition that embraces such novelists as Charles Dickens and Paul Auster, musicians like Robert Johnson and Bob Dylan, and moviemakers from Buster Keaton to Werner Herzog. But its also a tradition that includes obsessives and eccentrics, such as the artist Mudman, who coats his body in mud and then walks the city streets; competitive pedestrians such as Captain Barclay, who walked one mile an hour for a thousand successive hours; and gang members who use the hidden language of the Crip Walk to spell out messages in the dirt with their scuffing. How we walk, where we walk, why we walk announces who and what we are.
Geoff Nicholson is a master chronicler of the hidden subversive twists on a seemingly normal activity. He analyzes the hows, wheres, and whys of walking through the ages. He finds people who walk only at night, or naked, or for thousands of miles at a time, in costume, for causes, or for no reason whatsoever. Here, he brings curiosity and genuine insight to a subject that often walks right past us.
"'Setting foot in a street makes it yours in a way that driving down it never does,' says Nicholson (Sex Collectors), and mundane though walking may be, Nicholson tells us in this leisurely, charmingly obsessive literary stroll, pedestrianism is not without drama, from pratfalls like the one in which he broke his arm on an innocuous Hollywood Hills street to getting lost in the desert of western Australia. Walks, he reminds us, have inspired writers from Thoreau and Emerson to Dickens and Joyce, as well as musicians from Fats Domino to Aerosmith. Nicholson guides readers from the streets of L.A. where walkers are invariably regarded with suspicion to New York City and London. He considers the history of 'eccentric' walkers like the 'competitive pedestrian' Capt. Robert Barclay Allardice, whose early 19th-century walking feats gave him the reputation of a show-off. From street photographers to 'perfect' walks the first at the Poles, the first on the moon and walks that never happened, Nicholson's genial exploration of this 'most ordinary, ubiquitous activity' is lively and entertaining." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
The author of "Bleeding London" and "Sex Collectors" turns his eye to the intellectual and cultural history of that most common of activities--walking. This fascinating rumination by a skilled cultural commentator analyzes the hows, wheres, and whys of walking through the ages.
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.
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.