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Rising Ground A Search for the Spirit of Place by Philip Marsden

Rising Ground A Search for the Spirit of Place

The Real World   Travel   

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In this extract “ a feeling for the peculiar ambience of a place...’ and “the ability to convey...the sum and substance of a particular locale” sums up for me what Philip Marsden set out to convey in his Rising Ground. It is a book that excites for its subject, the Spirit of Place and also for its writing, it was a very dull day when I came to the last page, it felt as if a small light had been extinguished. It’s through Cornwall that Philip Marsden attempts to show us how our land has revealed itself throughout human history, it is what we make of the land, the hand we place on it, our fight to understand our place and what that means to our innermost thoughts and feelings. A superb book that through the breadth of research and quotation has left me with a lifetime of reading and memories. ~ Sue Baker

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The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. When travel writer Philip Marsden moved to a remote Cornish farmhouse, he determined to explore the region and his fellow countrymen’s enduring fascination with such rugged and bleak locations. Marsden offers his own perceptive observations bolstered by the insights of medieval chroniclers and Tudor topographers, 18th-century antiquarians, Edwardian naturalists, artists and post-industrial poets. Part travelogue, part cultural history, it takes us to some of the most ruggedly beautiful locations in the British Isles from Bodmin Moor, Tintagel and Glastonbury, to the Isles of Scilly, in search of what the author calls ‘the spirit of place’, and for answers to why we are drawn to such places.
~ The Good Book Guide


Rising Ground A Search for the Spirit of Place by Philip Marsden

When Philip Marsden moved to a remote, creekside farmhouse in Cornwall, the intensity of his response took him aback. It led him to wonder why we react so strongly to certain places and set him off on a journey on foot westwards to Land's End through one of the most myth-rich regions of Europe. From the Neolithic ritual landscape of Bodmin Moor to the Arthurian traditions at Tintagel, from the mysterious china-clay region to the granite tors and tombs of the far south-west, Marsden assembles a chronology of Britain's attitude to place. In archives, he uncovers the life and work of other enthusiasts before him - medieval chroniclers and Tudor topographers, eighteenth-century antiquarians, post-industrial poets and abstract painters. Drawing also on his travels from further afield, Marsden reveals that the shape of the land lies not just at the heart of our own history but of man's perennial struggle to belong on this earth.

About the Author

Philip Marsden is the award-winning author of a number of works of travel, fiction and non-fiction, including The Bronski House, The Spirit-Wrestlers, and The Levelling Sea. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and his work has been translated into fifteen languages. He lives in Cornwall.

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Book Info

Publication date

4th June 2015


Philip Marsden

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Granta Books


352 pages


The Real World

Travel writing



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