Looking back down the path

Dawn reflects on the end of project. Seven years (!) ago, I applied for a position as a postdoctoral researcher on a Leverhulme Trust research project, ‘mountains in ancient literature and culture and their postclassical reception’. As a historian I had been fascinated by mountains, and how people interacted with them, for years: I started … Read more

Running a mountains research ‘unconference’

Our project on ‘Mountains in ancient literature and culture and their postclassical reception’ has stretched some way beyond its original 3-year duration – and has ended up having a reach far beyond its already-broad title. Two maternity leaves and the small matter of the COVID pandemic have seen the original end-date of July 2020 pushed … Read more

Introducing: Mountain research spotlights

In December 2022 we had the pleasure of hosting a much-anticipated workshop on ‘The mountain humanities: past, present, and future pathways’. This workshop brought together a dozen scholars working on mountains across a range of disciplines including archaeology, English literature, art history, and performance studies. One of the realisations we’ve come to over the course … Read more

Mountains in Scottish Gaelic poetry

I am currently redrafting the manuscript of my book,┬áMountains Before Mountaineering: The Call of the Peaks Before the Modern Age, which I’m delighted to say will be coming out with the History Press in spring 2024. I am finding, inevitably, that I am having to cut a lot of material: I have a word count … Read more

Mountain Dialogues – now available in paperback!

We are delighted to announce that our edited volume,┬áMountain Dialogues from Antiquity to Modernity, is now available in paperback! We are really honoured by this, as well as by the reviews the book has received thus far (see for example Terry Gifford’s generous take in The Classical Review). The volume contains contributions from scholars across … Read more

Mountaineering journals – making an activity a sport, and giving sport a history?

When I went on maternity leave in 2021 pandemic restrictions were still in moderate swing, so when I went into the University Library a few weeks ago it was the first time in quite a while that I’d gone to the shelves to pick up a physical book with my own two hands. The pandemic … Read more

Mountain Scholarship and Personal Experience: A Conversation

In this podcast, Dawn talks to Chloe Bray (University of Heidelberg) about the relationship between scholarship and personal experiences of the mountain landscape. Is it possible to move beyond our own preconceptions of mountain experiences to understand those of the past? Or is a personal experience of the physical experience of mountain landscapes in fact … Read more

Isolated mountains

Dawn shares examples from early modern literature presenting mountains as spaces of isolation, and reflects on whether the future of mountain engagement might learn valuable lessons from the past. In the middle of March, before the UK even went into lockdown, the Everest climbing season was cancelled. Base camp might be strangely empty this year, … Read more

Mountain Gloom and Mountain Glory: The Genealogy of an Idea

Dawn shares a link to her latest article, unpicking the myth that Europeans feared and disliked mountains before the advent of modernity. Although the blog has been quiet, quite a lot has happened with the mountains project over the past few months. Book proposals have been submitted (watch this space), articles published… and a new … Read more

From ancient mountains to the Appalachians…

Dawn reports on yet another mountain trip, this time to the Appalachians. As my post about attending Thinking Mountains 2018 in Banff, Canada, may have suggested, one of the real advantages of studying mountains is getting to visit them. A few months ago, our mountains project was privileged to be invited to participate in the … Read more