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: Nature and Culture offers a fascinating exploration of mountains and the idea of mountain in art and literature, science and sport, religion and myth.
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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).