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Throughout history, swamps have been idealised and demonised, purged and protected. Today, they are simultaneously considered metaphorical places of evil, pestilence, and death, and treasured as diverse biological ecosystems teeming with life.
Covering not only swamps and bogs but also marshes and wetlands, Swamp ventures into the cultural and ecological histories of these mysterious, mythologized, and misunderstood landscapes. Anthony Wilson takes readers into swamps across the globe, from the fresh water marshes of Botswana's tremendous Okavango delta, to the notable swamps between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, to the peat bogs in Russia, the British Isles, and Scandinavia, which have been used as energy sources for centuries. It explores ideas and representations of wetlands across centuries, cultures, and continents, considering legend and folklore, mythology, literature, film, and natural and cultural history. As it plumbs the murky depths of swamps from the distant past to an uncertain future, Swamps provides an engaging, accessible, informative, and lavishly illustrated journey into these fascinating landscapes.
Anthony Wilson is an Associate Professor of English at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Georgia. He is the author of Shadow and Shelter: The Swamp in Southern Culture (2006).