Robert Macfarlane“Landscapes” is a quartet of books by the singular British author Robert Macfarlane, of whom John Banville has said “no one writes about the natural world with such lyrical exactitude.” Mountains of the Mind combines accounts of legendary mountain ascents with vivid descriptions of Macfarlane’s own forays into wild, high landscapes. In The Wild Places, Macfarlane embarks on journeys through some of the most remarkable landscapes of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. In The Old Ways, he sets off to follow the ancient routes that crisscross both the British landscape and its waters and territories beyond. And in Landmarks, Macfarlane offers an exploration of the links between landscape and language.
From Robert Macfarlane, the acclaimed author of The Old Ways and Underland—a celebration of the language of landscape and the power of words to shape our sense of place
For years now, the British writer Robert Macfarlane has been collecting place-words: terms for aspects of landscape, nature, and weather, drawn from dozens of languages and dialects of the British Isles. In this, his fifth book, Macfarlane brilliantly explores the linguistic and literary terrain of the British archipelago, from the Shetlands to Cornwall and from Cumbria to Suffolk, offering themed glossaries of hundreds of these rare, deeply local, poetical terms, organized by such geographical terrains as flatlands, uplands, waterlands, coastlands, woodlands, and underlands. Interspersed with this archive of place words are biographical essays in which Macfarlane writes of his favorite authors who have paid close attention to the natural world and who embody in their own work the huge richness of place language—from Barry Lopez and John Muir to Nan Shepard, J. A. Baker, and Roger Deakin. Landmarks is a book about the power of language and how it can become a way to know and love landscape, from a writer acclaimed for his own precision of utterance and distinctive, lyrical voice.
The acclaimed author of The Wild Places and Underland examines the subtle ways we are shaped by the landscapes through which we move
Chosen by Slate as one of the 50 best nonfiction books of the past 25 years
In this exquisitely written book, which folds together natural history, cartography, geology, and literature, Robert Macfarlane sets off to follow the ancient routes that crisscross both the landscape of the British Isles and its waters and territories beyond. The result is an immersive, enthralling exploration of the voices that haunt old paths and the stories our tracks tell. Macfarlane’s journeys take him from the chalk downs of England to the bird islands of the Scottish northwest, from Palestine to the sacred landscapes of Spain and the Himalayas. He matches strides with the footprints made by a man five thousand years ago near Liverpool, sails an open boat far out into the Atlantic at night, and commingles with walkers of many kinds, discovering that paths offer a means not just of traversing space but also of feeling, knowing, and thinking.
From the author of The Old Ways and Underland, an “eloquent (and compulsively readable) reminder that, though we’re laying waste the world, nature still holds sway over much of the earth’s surface.” –Bill McKibben
Winner of the Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature and a finalist for the Orion Book Award
Are there any genuinely wild places left in Britain and Ireland? That is the question that Robert Macfarlane poses to himself as he embarks on a series of breathtaking journeys through some of the archipelago’s most remarkable landscapes. He climbs, walks, and swims by day and spends his nights sleeping on cliff-tops and in ancient meadows and wildwoods. With elegance and passion he entwines history, memory, and landscape in a bewitching evocation of wildness and its vital importance.