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Arctic Dreams: Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape

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9781860465833: Arctic Dreams: Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape
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Winner of the National Book Award and a best-seller upon publication in 1986, Arctic Dreams is now acknowledged as a classic, a book that re-defined the genre of nature writing. In prose of transparent beauty, Lopez celebrates the Arctic landscape and the animals and people that live there. He recounts massive migrations by land, sea and air, the epic voyages of explorers, distant mountain that is actually a looming mirage. But he also looks deep into our dreams and the strange fascination that the Arctic exerts over our imaginations. Why do we find such a hostile, elemental environment so beautiful, so full of magic, so rich in ideas about how we should live our lives?

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The European picture of the Arctic is usually of snow and ice: the inhospitability of the terrain and the frigid wastes of the tundra contribute to our incapacity to imagine ordinary life there. In this magisterial book Barry Lopez draws on this hazy understanding of the far north to provide a compelling account of the land and its hold upon the psyche.

It is a book which could be compared to Chatwin's The Songlines for its combination of travelogue and poetic vision. Yet the beauty of the prose and the thought-provoking evocations of modern culture's shifting relationship with the environment are in a league of their own. Here are sparkling descriptions of the lives of caribou, muskoxen, polar bears and narwhals, and extraordinarily moving passages which meditate on the nature of our relationship with the world, the inter-dependence of ideas, desire and science and the possibility of dignity and compassion in the contemporary world.

It is a measure of the respect which Lopez has for his subject that his book exemplifies the supreme importance which he ascribes to the ethics of respect in the face of all existential paradox:

"There are simply no answers to some of the great pressing questions. You continue to live them out, making your life a worthy expression of a leaning into the light".
--Toby Green

Review:

"The Arctic dreamland seen and described by a writer of rare perception and poetic descriptive power... The pages sparkle with Arctic light" (David Stephen Scotsman)

"A marvellous evocation of the Arctic by a naturalist, who is part poet... A magical book to read slowly and savour" (Gillian Somerville-Large Irish Times)

"Barry Lopez by some rare magic manages to combine a poetic vision with accuracy of observation; and although he writes mainly about Eskimos, polar bears, and other denizens of the frozen north, many of his perceptive insights apply the world over" (Paula Johnson Mail on Sunday)

"Dazzling... Treats the distant, snowy world of the Arctic as a place that exists not only in the mathematics of geography but also in the terra incognita of our imaginations" (Michiko Kakutani New York Times)

"By what comes close to sheer magic, the magic of a highly literate and perceptive naturalist, Barry Lopez has transformed the austerity and Sibelius-like gloom of the tundra and great ice walls into a living pageant of high latitudes. This book will become a classic within its genre" (John Hillaby)

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780375727481: Arctic Dreams: Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape

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ISBN 10: 0375727485 ISBN 13: 9780375727481
Publisher: Vintage Books USA, 2001
Softcover

9780684185781: Arctic Dreams: Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape

Charle..., 1986
Hardcover

9780553263961: Arctic Dreams: Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape

Random..., 1993
Softcover

9780553346640: Arctic Dreams: Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape

Bantam..., 1996
Softcover

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