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Item #: OP1190A-865
VICTORIAN MOUNTAINEERS Ronald Clark 1953 1st UK ed Hardcover Near Fine
By Clark, Ronald
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London, Batsford, 1953, 1st edition. 232 pp, 45 b/w photos, index. Red cloth hardcover with no jacket, slightly faded spine. Near Fine.

Biographies of many British climbers, including Ball, Wills, Tuckett, Slingsby, Conway, Stephen and Whymper. 

One of the products of the wonderfully prolific age of Victoria was the invention of the sport of mountaineering. Ronald Clark, himself an enthusiastic climber and the author of a work on the Early Alpine Guides, discusses in this book the character of the Victorian mountaineers, and the motives which led them to climb the mountains. Some explanation is evidently necessary, when it is remembered that in the previous century the attitude of horror with which, for example, Walpole and Gray regarded the Alps was typical of the 18th century generally. The obvious Marxian answer is insufficient : that the Victorians climbed to escape from the oppressive luxury of their normal, day-to-day surroundings.
 
Mr. Clark's own thesis is more convincing: he points out that the scientific enquiries of the age had awakened interest in the physical nature of the mountains themselves. Even more, they led to a wider, religious inquietude, and it is no surprise to find scientists and clergymen so numerous amongst the early climbers who went to the mountains for some kind of answer to their questioning. It is these considerations which form the background to Mr. Clark's book.
 
In the foreground are the mountaineers themselves : Edward Whymper, Alfred Wills, John Ball, Hereford George, Cecil Slingsby, Francis Tuckett, Professor Tyndall, W.A.B.Coolidge, Lord Conway, Leslie Stephen, Miss Straton, Meta Brevoort....and many, many more. What an extraordinary collection of men and women they were : original, enterprising, adventurous and tough! 
 
Something of their character can be seen in the exceedingly interesting collection of nearly 50 old photographs, the majority of them previously unpublished, with which the book is illustrated. The Victorian Mountaineer will for this reason appeal not only to climbers, but the growing number of people who are fascinated by the great men of an extraordinary epoch.

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