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book jacket

A Rope of Writers

Graham Wilson

A look at mountaineering literature in Britain — shortlisted for the Boardman Tasker Prize 2006

From O G Jones and W P Haskett Smith to the modern guidebook, from early Club articles to The Black Cliff, writing about the British hills has a long, varied and (mostly) honourable tradition. In A Rope of Writers Graham Wilson, mountain enthusiast, literature teacher and several-times author in the field himself, takes a shrewd, appreciative look at the genre. With characteristic idiosyncrasy, he leads the reader on a tour as diverse as the walks and climbs themselves, taking in essayists, fiction-writers, humorists, philosophers and even a hill fanzine, tracing the strands running through a century of mountaineering literature, and acknowledging the debt to those who went before.

The aptly chosen collective noun of the title suggests continuity, its thread a common purpose explored by Wilson in a whimsical and pleasantly meandering narrative through the history of climbing literature … Wilson makes it clear that each genre has its place on this long and developmental linguistic rope. This is one of the strengths of this Boardman-Tasker shortlisted volume; the others are the quietly insistent signposting of the milestones of writing about climbing, the intimately personal view of the natural landscape afforded by Wilson’s appreciation of such revelatory writers as Jim Perrin, the exquisitely fluid prose style of the author and the wise and timely reminder that ‘in the mirror of reading you often catch a glimpse of what and how you think or feel. Such moments can encourage a further generation to polish its own reflections and add them to the common store.’ … Amen to the continuity. Amen to the rope.

Val Randall, Climber

cover
hardback
dimensions
170x120mm, xviii + 184 pp
list price
£14.95
ISBN
978 1 902173 221