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 activitiesawalking. This simple, omnipresent activity has inspired numerous subcultures, literary and artistic legacies, sporting events, personal memories, epic journeys, mystical revelations, and scandals.
Itas 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 itas 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 aCrip Walka 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.
A leisurely, entirely delightful ramble through the history and lore of walking.
Washington Post Book Review
This book is no mere miscellany, but the story of a mans love affair with the oldest means of locomotion: one foot in front of the other
Perfect for the armchair walker.
The New York Times Book Review
Anyone who enjoys excellent nonfiction should enjoy.
A "determinedly personal collection of travel appreciation."
A "diverting meditation on passages from his own and other writers' works. [T]he strongest pieces descry a tangible place through a discerning eye and pungent sensibility..."
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.
A philosophical guidebook and collection of insights celebrating the joy of travel, chosen by eminent travel writer Paul Theroux
“A book to be plundered and raided.” — New York Times Book Review
“A portal into a world of timeless travel literature curated by one of the greatest travel writers of our day.” — USA Today
Paul Theroux celebrates fifty years of wandering the globe in this collection of the best writing from the books that have shaped him as a reader and a traveler. Part philosophical guide, part miscellany, part reminiscence, The Tao of Travel contains excerpts from the best of Theroux’s own work interspersed with selections from travelers both familiar and unexpected:
Vladimir Nabokov Eudora Welty
Evelyn Waugh James Baldwin
Charles Dickens Pico Iyer
Henry David Thoreau Anton Chekhov
Mark Twain John McPhee
Freya Stark Ernest Hemingway
Graham Greene and many others
“Dazzling . . . Like someone panning for gold, Theroux reread hundreds of travel classics and modern works, shaking out the nuggets.” — San Francisco Chronicle
About the Author
PAUL THEROUX's highly acclaimed novels include Blinding Light, Hotel Honolulu, My Other Life, Kowloon Tong, and The Mosquito Coast. His travel books include Ghost Train to the Eastern Star, Dark Star Safari, Riding the Iron Rooster, The Great Railway Bazaar, The Old Patagonian Express, and The Happy Isles of Oceania. He lives in Hawaii and on Cape Cod.
Table of Contents
Preface: The Importance of Elsewhere ix
1. Travel in Brief 1
2. The Navel of the World 23
3. The Pleasures of Railways 26
Travel Wisdom of Henry Fielding 39
4. Murphys Rules of Travel 41
5. Travelers on Their Own Books 47
6. How Long Did the Traveler Spend Traveling? 55
Travel Wisdom of Samuel Johnson 75
7. The Things That They Carried 78
8. Fears, Neuroses, and Other Conditions 85
9. Travelers Who Never Went Alone 93
Travel Wisdom of Sir Francis Galton 105
10. Travel as an Ordeal 108
11. English Travelers on Escaping England 117
12. When Youre Strange 121
Travel Wisdom of Robert Louis Stevenson 127
13. It Is Solved by Walking 130
14. Travel Feats 147
15. Staying Home 158
Travel Wisdom of Freya Stark 167
16. Imaginary Journeys 171
17. Everything Is Edible Somewhere 181
18. Rosenblums Rules of Reporting 198
Travel Wisdom of Claude Lévi-Strauss 201
19. Perverse Pleasures of the Inhospitable 203
20. Imaginary People 210
21. Writers and the Places They Never Visited 215
Travel Wisdom of Evelyn Waugh 231
22. Travelers Bliss 234
23. Classics of a Sense of Place 238
24. Evocative Name, Disappointing Place 256
Travel Wisdom of Paul Bowles 259
25. Dangerous, Happy, Alluring 262
26. Five Travel Epiphanies 271
27. The Essential Tao of Travel 275
Index of People and Places 279