Wanderlust: A History of Walking


Wanderlust: A History of Walking Running & Walking
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Product Description

A cultural history of walking explores the ancient practice, from ancient Greece to the present, delving into Wordsworth, Gary Snyder, Rousseau, Jane Austen, and other cultural and literary icons to show how this basic activity has been imagined throughout history. 17,500 first printing.

Editorial Reviews

A luminous study of a little-considered but essential human capability. Walking is natural, or rather part of natural history, writes essayist Solnit (A Book of Migrations, 1997, etc.), but choosing to walk in the landscape as a contemplative, spiritual, or aesthetic experience has a specific cultural ancestry. Moving with ease from discussions of early hominid skeletal structure to the place of wandering on foot in the development of the Romantic poetic sensibility, Solnit embraces nature and culture alike in this vigorous look at all things peripatetic. Walking, she observes, is good for us humans, and not only for the exercise it affords; it also allows us to be in our bodies and in the world without being made busy by them. Her portraits of famous walkers of city streets and rural byways alike Henry Thoreau, John Muir, Aristotle, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Charles Baudelaire among them suggest that the best thinking is indeed done, as Saint Jerome observed, by walking around; the author s remarks on the history of pilgrimage show the importance of peregrination in contemplative spiritual traditions. And Solnit s own memoirs of wandering on foot across the hills of California and England and down the busy streets of Europe s great capitals and, in a particularly inspired turn, along the Las Vegas Strip offer inspiration and succor to anyone who rails against the soulless supremacy of automobiles in the modern age. Walking alone can mark a person as an oddball, she observes (especially if, like the French poet G,rard de Nerval, the walker chooses a lobster on a leash as a strolling companion). And walking alone can mark a woman as a potential victim or a prostitute, with all the attendant perils. Even so, the careful reader, duly warned, will emerge from Solnit s pages moved to wander. Full of learned asides and juicy historical tidbits: a fine addition to the literature of rambling. (First serial rights to Outside) Copyright 2000 Kirkus Reviews

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