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Mountains have long inspired the wit and daring of the world's most fascinating explorers. In this definitive collection of mountain lore, Alan Weber exhibits forty-three essays by artists and adventurers to whom climbing was more a mission than a sport. Beginning with the fabled tale of Hannibal's Roman invasion-men, horses, and elephants in tow-through the hitherto impassable Alps, the accounts progress to recent descriptions of high-peaks mountain climbing in Mount Everest and the formidable K-2. Included among the earlier pieces are Petrarcha's introspective journey to the Windy Mount; William Windham's exploration of Montenvers and the "Sea of Ice" in 1741; and English artist-critic John Ruskin's essay on mountain climate and culture. Literary masters portray the idyllic and imperfect aspects of mountain life: the restoration poet Andrew Marvell offers a hymn to the Barrow hills, while poems from Shelley, Lord Byron, and Matthew Arnold praise the natural beauty and fresh air of the mountain crags. Because It's There pays homage to the spiritual introspection and respect for nature engendered by the looming mountain ranges that have demarcated territories, protecting villages and cities from invasion. The explorations these mountains have inspired have tested human endurance and mental strength.
Alan Weber is a research fellow of the Institute for European Studies at Cornell University and a CEMERS Associate Fellow at the State University of New York at Binghamton. He is the editor and author of Nineteenth Century Science: A Selection of Original Texts, and Women Almanac Writers (Forthcoming). A long-time member of the Penn State Outing and Cornell Outing Clubs, he has rock and ice-climbed in the Adirondacks, Green and Shawangunk Mountains, and Mount Rainier.

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