Here’s how this week’s arts and culture column begins:
Robert Macfarlane (b. 1976) is an award-winning British writer on landscape, place, people, language, memory, and meaning. He’s also a Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge.
Mountains of the Mind (2003) explores the history of mountaineering and our sometimes fatal fascination with the metaphysical dimension of precipitous, perilous terrain on which we long to be the first to place our feet or flag.
The Wild Places (2007) charts a series of journeys made in search of the ever-shrinking wildness remaining in Britain and Ireland.
The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot (2012) is a kind of elegy to one of Macfarlane’s heroes, the poet Edward Thomas (1878-1917), who was a lover of nature, a depressive, and a passionate lifelong walker, especially in and around the South Downs. The “old ways” include holloways, pilgrimage routes, cliff paths, animal passages, and ancient byways, rights-of-way, and foraging grounds in England, Scotland, Palestine, Sichuan and Palestine.
Together, the three from a loose trilogy about the “landscape and the human heart”—a subject upon which Macfarlane speaks eloquently in a 2012 IQ2 talk of that name available on YouTube.
READ THE WHOLE PIECE HERE.