Majestic and awe-inspiring, mountains demand our attention. Through the centuries, they have both repulsed and attracted. They have been appreciated and despised as sites of divine and diabolic sublimity, as the dwellings of gods and demons, hermits and revolutionaries. Mountain encounters have defined ways of seeing. They have changed our sense of time. They have pushed the boundary between life and death. Progressively tamed, exploited, even commodified, today mountains continue to attract seekers of spiritual quietness and of extreme emotions alike, as well as weekend travellers looking for a break from the everyday.
In this compelling journey through peaks both real and imaginary, Veronica della Dora explores how the history of mountains is deeply interlaced with cultural values and aesthetic tastes, with religious beliefs and scientific practices. She shows how mountains are ultimately collaborations between geology and the human imagination, and how they have helped shape our environmental consciousness and our place in the world. Magnificently illustrated, and featuring examples from five continents and beyond, Mountain offers a fascinating 12 exploration of mountains and the idea of the mountain in art and literature, science and sport, religion and myth.
‘Mountain traverses centuries and continents, sacred peaks and summit observatories, in a deeply original cultural history of mountains. Every mountain lover will want to find a place for Veronica della Dora alongside Simon Schama or Robert Macfarlane on their bookshelf or in their backpack.’ – Peter Hansen, professor in Humanities and Arts, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and author of The Summits of Modern Man: Mountaineering after the Enlightenment
The sweep of the book, like its subject, is massive. In one 250-page volume it considers what mountains might bring to bear on religion, life, death, vision, time, science, technology and heritage . . . The many colour illustrations in the book make it an enjoyable volume to leaf
through.’ – Methodist Recorder
Veronica della Dora is Professor of Human Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her books include Imagining Mount Athos: Visions of a Holy Place from Homer to World War ii (2011) and Landscape, Nature, and the Sacred in Byzantium (2016).