Wanderlust: A History of Walking by Rebecca Solnit
What does it mean to be out walking in the world, whether in a landscape or a metropolis, on a pilgrimage or a protest march? In this first general history of walking, Rebecca Solnit draws together many histories to create a range of possibilities for this most basic act. Arguing that walking as history means walking for pleasure and for political, aesthetic, and social meaning, Solnit homes in on the walkers whose everyday and extreme acts have shaped our culture, from the peripatetic philosophers of ancient Greece to the poets of the Romantic Age, from the perambulations of the Surrealists to the ascents of mountaineers.
With profiles of some of the most significant walkers in history and fiction – from Wordsworth to Gary Snyder, from Rousseau to Argentina’s Mother of the Plaza de Mayo, from Jane Austen’s Elizabeth Bennet to Andre Breton’s Nadja – “Wanderlust” offers a provocative and profound examination of the interplay between the body, the imagination, and the world around the walker.
Rebecca Solnit is the author of, among other works, Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities; A Field Guide to Getting Lost; and (also from Verso) A Book of Migrations: Some Passages in Ireland.
“A history of walking that is about time and space and consciousness of the world as much as about putting one foot in front of the other.”
“A writer of startling freshness and precision.”
New York Times Book Review
“Solnit walks, but her prose soars. This is a stunningly original account of the simple, subversive activity that keeps us human. Pedestrians of the world, unite!”
Mike Davis, author of City of Quartz
“Through landscapes of pleasure, over the hills and dales of politics, Wanderlust is a long, sweet walk through history in very good company. With her unique combination of erudition, lyricism, and irreverence, Rebecca Solnit has written a book for those who trespass with both mind and body.”
Lucy R Lippard, author of On the Beaten Track: Tourism, Art and Place
“Solnit certainly knows her subject, as some famous and not so famous walkers move across the page. She knows how and where they move. She knows why they take to the road in the first place. It’s a pleasure and an education to follow them.”
Duncan Minshull, editor of The Vintage Book of Walkin
The Emancipated Spectator by Jacques Rancière
In this title, the foremost philosopher of art argues for a new politics of seeing. The role of the viewer in art and film theory revolves around a theatrical concept of the spectacle. The masses subjected to the society of spectacle have traditionally been seen as aesthetically and politically passive – in response, both artists and thinkers have sought to transform the spectator into an active agent and the spectacle into a performance. In this follow-up to the acclaimed “The Future of the Image”, Ranciere takes a radically different approach to this attempted emancipation. Beginning by asking exactly what we mean by political art or the politics of art, he goes on to look at what the tradition of critical art, and the desire to insert art into life, has achieved. Has the militant critique of the consumption of images and commodities become, instead, a melancholic affirmation of their omnipotence?
“His art lies in the rigor of his argument – its careful, precise unfolding – and at the same time not treating his reader, whether university professor or unemployed actress, as an imbecile.”
“It’s clear that Jacques Ranciere is relighting the flame that was extinguished for many – that is why he serves as such a signal reference today.”
Ways of Seeing: Based on the BBC Television Series by John Berger
“Seeing comes before words. The child looks and recognizes before it can speak. “But there is also another sense in which seeing comes before words. It is seeing which establishes our place in the surrounding world; we explain that world with words, but word can never undo the fact that we are surrounded by it. The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled.” John Berger’s Ways of Seeing is one of the most stimulating and the most influential books on art in any language. First published in 1972, it was based on the BBC television series about which the (London) Sunday Times critic commented: “This is an eye-opener in more ways than one: by concentrating on how we look at paintings . . . he will almost certainly change the way you look at pictures.” By now he has.
John Berger was born in London in 1926. He is well known for his novels & stories as well as for his works of nonfiction, including several volumes of art criticism. His first novel, “A Painter of Our Time”, was published in 1958, & since then his books have included the novel “G.”, which won the Booker Prize in 1972. In 1962 he left Britain permanently, and he lives in a small village in the French Alps.
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