Tuesday, May 17, 2005

In Praise of Walking

Book Review: In Praise of Walking. Essays by Hazlitt, Stevenson & Thoreau

WestPort, Connecticut, The Redcoat Press. 1942. vii[i], 48[2] pp. Colophon: #108 of 210 copies. 12mo. Dull green cloth, 7 illustrations after Thomas Bewick woodcuts. Includes (loose) the 4-page printer's advertisement (title page and foreword) announcing the book's availability "In time for Christmas!" at $1.75.

I paid $3.50 for the book, double the original 1942 price. Abebooks presently lists 4 copies for sale around the country, ranging from $25-50. None of these listings mentions the printer's advert.

I chanced upon this book at an antique store in McIntosh, FL this past weekend and have gotten halfway through it in just one sitting. A brief quote from the foreword indicates the tone of the delightful essays:
"The road he travels, the fields he saunters over, the spring of water that refreshes him, the distant hills he looks upon, the bypath that tempts him to some never-before-seen spot, the smell of hay in the field, -- all these linger with him as permanent possessions in a way and to a degree no other kind of travel can bring to pass."
I thoroughly enjoy the essays presented in this book, both as examples of fine writing, and as impassioned musings upon the delights of contemplation at the slow pace walking provides.

The Clog-wife and I have done a fair bit of extremely enjoyable walking of the sort praised in this book. My personal accounts of some of these 8-11 mile rambles in the north central Florida countryside can be found here.

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