Synopses & Reviews
To enter caves is to venture beyond the realm of the everyday. From huge vaulted caverns to impassable, water-filled passages; from the karst topography of Guilin in China to the lava tubes of Hawaii; from tiny remote pilgrimage sites to massive tourism enterprises, caves are places of mystery. Dark spaces that remain largely unexplored, caves are astonishing wonders of nature and habitats for exotic flora and fauna.
This book investigates the natural and cultural history of caves and considers the roles caves have played in the human imagination and experience of the natural world. It explores the long history of the human fascination with caves, across countries and continents, examining their dual role as spaces of both wonder and fear. It tells the tales of the adventurers who pioneered the science of caves and those of the explorers and cave-divers still searching for new, unmapped routes deep into the earth. This book explores the lure of the subterranean world by examining caving and cave tourism and by looking to the mythology, literature, and art of caves. This lavishly illustrated book will appeal to general readers and experts alike interested in the ecology and use of caves, or the extraordinary artistic responses earthand#8217;s dark recesses have evoked over the centuries.
Caves have been the sites of historical and fictional adventures for centuries. They are known for harboring dragons and treasure chests and for being dark, damp, and wonderfully unexplored. Despite their gloomy and cold nature however caves are often the homes of exotic flora and fauna, making an exploration all the more interesting to the eye. Caves are popular tourist destinations for their mystery from the lava tubes of Hawaii to the karst regions of China. To enter a cave is a thrilling experience, a mixture of fear and unabated curiosity. Some caves seem to go on forever, and others end in disappointment when one encounters a water-filled passage. Other times, the appeal is the sense that it has never been found before, until one stumbles across a discarded gum-wrapper.
Ralph Crane and Lisa Fletcher investigate the history of caves, and their role in human imagination and experience of the natural world. They relate the stories of explorers who climbed and hiked to the best-hidden gems, as well as the adventurous cave-divers who went below sea level to swim through underwater caves.
This colorful book, complete with beautiful illustrations of these wonders of natures, is suited to everyone from the general reader and cave-hunter to the ecological expert.
About the Author
Ralph Crane is professor of English at the University of Tasmania. He is the author or editor of several books and most recently coeditor of The Complete Indian Housekeeper and Cook.and#160;Lisa Fletcher is senior lecturer in English at the University of Tasmania, Australia. She has published widely on literature and the environment.
Table of Contents
1. What is a Cave?
2. Speaking of Speleology
3. Troglodytes and Troglobites: Living in the Dark Zone
4. Cavers, Potholers and Spelunkers: Exploring Caves
5. Monsters and Magic: Caves in Mythology and Folklore
6. Visually Rendered: The Art of Caves
7. andlsquo;Caverns measureless to manandrsquo;: Caves in Literature
8. Sacred Symbols: Holy Caves
9. Extraordinary to Behold: Spectacular Caves
Associations and Websites