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Item #: OP1189-288
AN ECCENTRIC IN THE ALPS: THE STORY OF THE REV. W.A.B. COOLIDGE, THE GREAT VICTORIAN MOUNTAINEER Ronald W. Clark 1959 1st ed DJ Fine
By Clark, Ronald W.
Price: $59.00

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Detailed Product Description

London, 1959, 1st edition. 224 pp, 17 plates, ills. Coolidge was an American who climbed extensively in the Alps with his aunt Meta Brevoort and his dog Tschingel, who had a better list of ascents than many two-legged climbers of the day. Hardcover with DJ, Fine.

From the dust jacket:

'Few men climb mountains with an aunt and a dog. The Rev. W. A. B. Coolidge did so - and subsequently became the greatest Alpine scholar the world had ever known. He made 1,700 ascents, 600 of them major ones and more than 60 of them with his beloved dog, Tschingel; his bibliography includes 220 main items, and to one edition of the Enyclopaedia Britannica alone he contributed 200 articles.

Argumentative, dogmatic - 'he could do anything with a hatchet except bury it' commented his Times obituary - he edited the Alpine journal for a decade, embroiled himself in every Alpine controversy from 1870 to 1926, and for half a century quarreled with, and dominated, much of the Alpine world.

He claimed to have 'fiddled' the great mountaineer Mummery into the Alpine Club; he was nearly sued for libel by Whymper; he was 'the fiery lamb,' 'the sage of Grindelwald,' and 'an adept in the gentle art of making enemies.'

His devotion to his aunt, that early woman mountaineer Meta Brevoort, was intense; his relations with the rest of the world were stormy.

At one time Senior Fellow of Magdalen, Oxford, Coolidge swore allegiance to the Queen on two occasions; but, living in Switzerland from 1896, he found himself unable to claim citizenship either of Britain or of the United States where he had been born in 1850. Thus he lived the last thirty years of his life as one of the first displaced persons of modern times.

Ronald Clark, the well-known authority on mountain history and Victoriana, has been given access to the vast correspondence which Coolidge maintained with every contemporary mountaineer of importance. He has also made use of much other previously unpublished material and has succeeded in painting an astonishingly vivid picture of an extraordinary Victorian eccentric.' 


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