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Mountain Literature Classics: The Playground of Europe by Leslie Stephen

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If not for this wordy celebration of early alpinism, published in 1871, the sport of mountaineering might have gone the way of squeak-piggy-squeak, muses Ronald Turnbull.

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 simoninger 08 Apr 2022
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

I'm really appreciating this series, thanks for digging these out Ronald. And I love your phrase:

to cut delicate steps up the untrodden, avalanche-prone terrain of a Victorian gentleman who is "expressing his emotions"

 Doug 08 Apr 2022
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Thanks for that but could I ask why the drop down menu under the heading 'Articles' doesn't include literature & so no direct link to https://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/literature/ ? Its not listed under the 'latest articles' link either.

In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

A beautifully written review as always. I haven’t read Scrambles in the Alps - now I will!

In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

One of my favourite classic mountaineering books. Beautifully written, and perhaps even better written than 'Scrambles Amongst the Alps', which still remains the greatest of all.

 Mick Ward 09 Apr 2022
In reply to rsc:

The ending of 'Scrambles Amongst the Alps' remains the greatest paragraph ever written about climbing.  Its wisdom is undimmed, even 150 years later. Be warned - it will break your heart.

Mick 

In reply to Mick Ward:

..and the greatest paragraph ever written in fiction is this:

Her [Dorothea's] finely-touched spirit had still its fine issues, though they were not widely visible. Her full nature, like that river of which Cyrus broke the strength, spent itself in channels which had no great name on the earth. But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.”

In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Another splendid piece, Mr Turnbull. I vividly remember playing squeak-piggy-squeak in the late 50s. I thought my mother had invented the game, but clearly not.


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