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Wanderlust: A History of Walking

Posted by Canto Rodado on August 23, 2006

“El ritmo del andar genera un tipo de ritmo del pensar y el pasaje por un paisaje refleja o estimula el pasaje a través de una serie de pensamientos. Esto produce una singular consonancia entre un pasaje interno y uno externo, que sugiere que la mente es un paisaje dentro de otros y que el andar es un modo de atravesarlo. Un nuevo pensamiento aparece como una característica del paisaje, como si el pensar fuera más un viajar que un hacer.”

 

Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking (Reseña)

“In the late 20th century, this connection is still asserted: the French structuralist Jean-Christophe Bailly has spoken of a generative grammar of the legs (grammaire generative des jambes), while his compatriot Michel de Certeau believes that: “The act of walking is to the urban system what the speech act is to language.” Just as the woods and hills are best explored, and their mysteries penetrated, by foot, so too are the streets and enclaves of the city.

Solnit distinguishes between the tradition of peripatetic meditation in enclosed spaces, exemplified by the Greek sophists and the later monastic tradition, with that of the unbounded walk which, like life itself, has no pre-determined pattern or teleology. It is the latter kind of walking which is the principal subject of this book, inspired by Thoreau’s belief that, “When we walk, we naturally go to the fields and the woods: what would become of us, if we only walked in a garden or a mall?” Modern mall-walkers might profitably ask themselves the same question.”

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