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Robert Macfarlane is the author of the award-winning Mountains of the Mind, The Wild Places and The Old Ways. He is currently working on two new books: Landmarks, about language and landscape; and Underland, an exploration of the hidden worlds beneath our feet. He is a Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge.
This is a totally unique and breathtaking introduction to what lies beneath us, to the earth below our feet. Let this very special and beautiful book take you by the hand and lead you through the sunlit fields to the place where the underland begins, a place most human thoughts shy from in fear and confusion. This is a sequel to The Old Ways, yet you can begin here without concern, you can trust and join Robert Macfarlane as he explores the underland. I will admit that I am in love with the writing, the words, the vision that allows you to see and feel in darkness. I haven’t ever considered our deep connection to this stunning underworld in the way you are encouraged to here. Robert Macfarlane meets and shares experiences with people who have chosen to explore, to look beyond the obvious. I absolutely adored how much he shares, how accessible Underland is, his words reached out and connected with my thoughts and feelings, altering, reshaping, transforming. While there is plenty to fear for our future, all the time there are humans with this amount of love for our natural world, there is also hope. Underland is one of my picks of the month, and also one of our star books - it is quite simply stunning.
Shortlisted for The THWAITES WAINWRIGHT PRIZE 2014 - The new literary prize for Nature & Travel Writing about Britain. The Old Ways is the stunning new book by acclaimed nature writer Robert Macfarlane. Shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson prize 2012. Following the tracks, holloways, drove-roads and sea paths that form part of a vast ancient network of routes criss-crossing the British Isles and beyond, Robert Macfarlane discovers a lost world - a landscape of the feet and the mind, of pilgrimage and ritual, of stories and ghosts; above all of the places and journeys which inspire and inhabit our imaginations. Really do love it. He has a rare physical intelligence and affords total immersion in place, elements and the passage of time: wonderful . (Antony Gormley). A marvellous marriage of scholarship, imagination and evocation of place. I always feel exhilarated after reading Macfarlane . (Penelope Lively). Macfarlane immerses himself in regions we may have thought familiar, resurrecting them newly potent and sometimes beautifully strange. In a moving achievement, he returns our heritage to us . (Colin Thubron). Every Robert MacFarlane book offers beautiful writing, bold journeys...With its global reach and mysterious Sebaldian structure, this is MacFarlane's most important book yet . (David Rothenberg, author of Survival of the Beautiful and Thousand Mile Song ). Luminous, possessing a seemingly paradoxical combination of the dream-like and the hyper-vigilant, The Old Ways is, as with all of Macfarlane's work, a magnificent read. Each sentence can carry astonishing discovery . (Rick Bass, US novelist and nature writer). The Old Ways confirms Robert Macfarlane's reputation as one of the most eloquent and observant of contemporary writers about nature . ( Scotland on Sunday ). Sublime writing ...sets the imagination tingling...Macfarlane's way of writing [is] free, exploratory, rambling and haphazard but resourceful, individual, following his own whims, and laying an irresistible trail for readers to follow . ( Sunday Times ). Macfarlane relishes wild, as well as old, places. He writes about both beautifully...I love to read Macfarlane . (John Sutherland, Financial Times ). Read this and it will be impossible to take an unremarkable walk again . ( Metro ). Robert Macfarlane won the Guardian First Book Award, the Somerset Maugham Award, and the Sunday Time Young Writer of the Year Award for his first book, Mountains of the Mind (2003) . His second, The Wild Places (2007) , was similarly celebrated, winning three prizes and being shortlisted for six more. Both books were adapted for television by the BBC. He is a Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge.
This is what a reading experience is all about, Ness touches, tests, pushes, strokes, inspires, and I have given this little book my heart. I have hesitated about explaining the background to Ness, but have decided that to know doesn’t unduly shape thoughts. Orford Ness in Suffolk is a shingle island which is constantly changing due to the sea and weather. It is the site of an abandoned military base where research included nuclear weaponry during the Cold War. The author and illustrator know this place, and have created a powerful lyrical read where nature takes steps to stop a crime against the world. It is a wonderful heady mix of novella and poetry-prose, a fantasy creation of word and illustration that took up lodging in my mind. A hagstone, which allows a veiled glimpse to the future or past, sits centre stage throughout the book, the illustrations by Stanley Donwood allowing a viewing station, a pause, before the next taste of action. The words by Robert Macfarlane sing, they just beg to be spoken, to be heard. As I spoke the words, I had the feeling that I was setting them free, and at the final few pages a shiver of emotion skittered down my arms. Ness is a beautiful yet fierce and frightening call, containing a warning that we should be shrieking from the rooftops. I have chosen it as one of my Liz Robinson Picks of the Month, and a LoveReading Star Book.
Spell Songs is a musical companion piece to The Lost Words: A Spell Book by author Robert Macfarlane and artist Jackie Morris. This mixed media CD is accompanied by sumptuous illustrations from Jackie Morris, new 'spells' by Robert Macfarlane, enlightening thoughts by Robert, Jackie and Spell Singer Karine Polwart and stunning photography by Elly Lucas. In 2018 Folk by the Oak Festival commissioned Spell Songs because of their love of The Lost Words book. Spell Songs comprises eight remarkable musicians whose music engages deeply with landscape and nature; musicians who are perfectly placed to respond to the creatures, art and language of The Lost Words. They spent a week in Herefordshire bringing this music together in the company of Jackie Morris. Art inspired music and music inspired art. Jackie Morris immersed herself in the musical residency where she generously created new iconesque artwork of each musician and their instruments portrayed in an unexpected and enchanting way. These stunning new artworks accompany the CD. Spell Songs allowed these acclaimed and diverse musicians to weave together elements of British folk music, Senegalese folk traditions, and experimental and classical music to create an inspiring new body of work. Here are 14 songs which capture the essence of The Lost Words book. Spoken voice, whispers, accents, dialects, native languages, proverbs, sayings, birdsong, river chatter and insect hum all increase the intimacy of the musical world conjured by the songs. Inspired by the words, art and ethos of The Lost Words book, each musician brings new imaginings, embellishments and diversions which are rooted in personal experience, a deep respect for the natural world, protest at the loss of nature and its language and an appreciation for wildness and beauty. In February 2019 Spell Songs enjoyed standing ovations at sell-out performances in major venues across the UK culminating at The Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Southbank Centre, London. Spell Songs was a highlight of The Hay International Literary Festival 2019 and in August 2019 they were invited to perform at the BBC's Lost Words Prom in the Royal Albert Hall. They will continue to tour each year. There are songs here that would live with me for the rest of my years, even if I'd had no part in their making . Robert Macfarlane
Penguin presents the CD edition of The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane, read by Edith Bowman, Guy Garvey, Cerys Matthews and Benjamin Zephaniah. All over the country, there are words disappearing from children's lives. Words like Dandelion, Otter, Bramble, Acorn and Lark represent the natural world of childhood, a rich landscape of discovery and imagination that is fading from children's minds. The Lost Words stands against the disappearance of wild childhood. It is a joyful celebration of the poetry of nature words and the living glory of our distinctive, British countryside. With acrostic spell-poems by peerless wordsmith Robert Macfarlane this enchanting audiobook captures the irreplaceable magic of language and nature for all ages. Across a rich and vivid natural soundscape, Edith Bowman, Guy Garvey, Cerys Matthews and Benjamin Zephaniah, iconic voices of modern Britain, bring the magic of nature and language to listeners. Through captivating readings, wonderful natural recordings and more, the audio edition of The Lost Words is a stunning celebration of the nature and the power of language.
Landscape photography is one of the most popular genres for amateur photographers. Mastering the genre, however, takes time: time to perfect exposure, color, composition, and--perhaps above all else--the ability to see and record the landscape in a way that will make your photographs stand above the rest. This guide delves into the world of 16 leading lights, each with their own unique take on how, where, and why the landscape should be recorded. Through probing interviews and beautifully reproduced images, the reader is given an insight into the artist's working practices, from equipment to techniques. Glorious color photographs sit beside atmospheric monochrome, the latest digital techniques rub shoulders with traditional film-based imaging, and conventional landscape mores are countered by experimental artworks, guaranteeing something to inspire every reader. The book includes work by the following photographers: Marc Adamus, Valda Bailey, Sandra Bartocha, Mark Bauer, Thierry Bornier, Jonathan Chritchley, Joe Cornish, Ross Hoddinott, Daniel Kordan, Mikko Lagerstedt, Tom Mackie, David Noton, Colin Prior, Hans Strand, Lars Van De Goor and Art Wolfe.
Are there any genuinely wild places left in Britain and Ireland? Or have we tarmacked, farmed and built ourselves out of wildness? In his vital, bewitching, inspiring classic, Robert Macfarlane sets out in search of the wildness that remains.
WINNER OF THE GUARDIAN FIRST BOOK AWARD Once we thought monsters lived there. In the Enlightenment we scaled them to commune with the sublime. Soon, we were racing to conquer their summits in the name of national pride. In this ground-breaking, classic work, Robert Macfarlane takes us up into the mountains: to experience their shattering beauty, the fear and risk of adventure, and to explore the strange impulses that have for centuries lead us to the world's highest places.
From the bestselling author of UNDERLAND, THE OLD WAYS and THE LOST WORDS - an essay on the joy of reading, for anyone who has ever loved a book Every book is a kind of gift to its reader, and the act of giving books is charged with a special emotional resonance. It is a meeting of three minds (the giver, the author, the recipient), an exchange of intellectual and psychological currency, that leaves each participant enriched. Here Robert Macfarlane recounts the story of a book he was given as a young man, and how he managed eventually to return the favour, though never repay the debt. From one of the most lyrical writers of our time comes a perfectly formed gem, a lyrical celebration of the transcendent power and humanity of the given book.
SHORTLISTED FOR THE SAMUEL JOHNSON PRIZE SHORTLISTED FOR THE WAINWRIGHT PRIZE From the bestselling author of UNDERLAND, THE OLD WAYS and THE LOST WORDS 'Few books give such a sense of enchantment; it is a book to give to many, and to return to repeatedly' Independent 'Enormously pleasurable, deeply moving. A bid to save our rich hoard of landscape language, and a blow struck for the power of a deep creative relationship to place' Financial Times 'A book that ought to be read by policymakers, educators, armchair environmentalists and active conservationists the world over' Guardian 'Gorgeous, thoughtful and lyrical' Independent on Sunday 'Feels as if [it] somehow grew out of the land itself. A delight' Sunday Times Discover Robert Macfarlane's joyous meditation on words, landscape and the relationship between the two. Words are grained into our landscapes, and landscapes are grained into our words. Landmarks is about the power of language to shape our sense of place. It is a field guide to the literature of nature, and a glossary containing thousands of remarkable words used in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales to describe land, nature and weather. Travelling from Cumbria to the Cairngorms, and exploring the landscapes of Roger Deakin, J. A. Baker, Nan Shepherd and others, Robert Macfarlane shows that language, well used, is a keen way of knowing landscape, and a vital means of coming to love it.
Holloway - a hollow way, a sunken path. A route that centuries of foot-fall, hoof-hit, wheel-roll and rain-run have harrowed deep down into bedrock. In July 2005, Robert Macfarlane and Roger Deakin travelled to explore the holloways of South Dorset's sandstone. They found their way into a landscape of shadows, spectres & great strangeness. Six years later, after Deakin's early death, Macfarlane returned to the holloway with the artist Stanley Donwood and writer Dan Richards. The book is about those journeys and that landscape.
In Silt, bestselling travel writer Robert Macfarlane walks the Broomway, the deadliest path in Britain.In one of the most striking chapters of his brilliant 2012 book The Old Ways, Robert Macfarlane walks the Essex offshore path which has claimed the lives of more than sixty people over the centuries. His companion on this atmospheric and potentially perilous journey is his old friend and photographer, David Quentin.In this special e-book edition, the Broomway section of The Old Ways appears alongside a run of twenty-two photographs taken that day by David, which form a haunting counterpoint to the text itself. In a newly written afterword, David reflects on the walk, on Robert Macfarlane's writing and on the fascinating legal terrain which paths like this one traverse even as they cross the land itself.Praise for The Old Ways:'Macfarlane has shown how utterly beautiful a brilliantly written travel book can still be. As perfect as his now classic The Wild Places. Maybe it is even better than that' William Dalrymple, Observer'A lovely book, a poetic investigation into what it is to follow a path, on land and at sea, in the footsteps of both our ancient predecessors and such writers as Edward Thomas: Macfarlane is reviving an entire body of nature writing here' David Sexton, Evening Standard'Beautifully written, moving, thrilling. It reminded me of how much stranger and richer the world is... at walking speed' Philip Pullman, Guardian 'A magnificent meditation on walking and writing. An astonishingly haunted book' Adam Nicolson, Daily Telegraph'The Old Ways sets the imagination tingling . . . it is like reading a prose Odyssey sprinkled with imagist poems' John Carey, Sunday TimesRobert Macfarlane is the author of the award-winning Mountains of the Mind; The Wild Places; The Old Ways, which was shortlisted for the 2012 Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction; and Landmarks, which was shortlisted for the 2015 Samuel Johnson Prize. He is a Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge.David Quentin is a barrister specialising in tax law. He also takes photographs, teaches Cambridge undergraduates about versification and plays the bass guitar in London-based krautgoth noisegaze outfit The Murder Act.
From the acclaimed author of The Wild Places comes an engrossing exploration of walking and thinking. In this exquisitely written book, Robert Macfarlane sets off from his Cambridge, England, home to follow the ancient tracks, holloways, drove roads, and sea paths that crisscross both the British landscape and its waters and territories beyond. The result is an immersive, enthralling exploration of the ghosts and voices that haunt old paths, of the stories our tracks keep and tell, and of pilgrimage and ritual. Told in Macfarlane's distinctive voice, The Old Ways folds together natural history, cartography, geology, archaeology, and literature. His walks 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. Along the way he crosses paths with walkers of many kinds-wanderers, pilgrims, guides, and artists. Above all this is a book about walking as a journey inward and the subtle ways we are shaped by the landscapes through which we move. Macfarlane discovers that paths offer not just a means of traversing space but of feeling, knowing, and thinking.