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

The Ascent of Jumbo: Twentieth Century Mountaineers on the Search for Hannibal’s Pass

Dawn considers the surprising story of a twentieth-century elephant and Hannibal’s crossing of the Alps. I am currently beginning to make the first cautious steps into a new area of research. During my PhD, which focussed on sixteenth- and seventeenth- century responses to mountains, I trawled through the first thirty or so volumes of the Alpine Journal … Read more

Mountain Conquest

Jason highlights the connection between ancient traditions of military mountain activity and twentieth-century mountaineering.  Greek and Roman history writing is packed with descriptions of military activity in the mountains: it’s probably the category of mountain description that survives in the biggest volume from the ancient Mediterranean world, especially from the Roman empire. In classical Greece … Read more

Why study mountains? a question for a 21st-century historian

Dawn discusses what brought her to the study of premodern mountains. Last time I posted, I wrote about why a seventeenth-century traveller might choose to visit a mountain. Today, I want to turn that question on its head – why did I, a twenty-first century historian, choose to study such mountain interactions? I grew up … Read more