The Literature of Mountaineering If adventure [exploration] has a final and all-embracing motive, it is surely this: we go out because it is our nature to go out, to climb mountains, and to paddle rivers, to fly to the planets and plunge into the depths of the oceans. . . . When man ceases to do these things, he is no longer a man. -- Wilfrid Noyce
According the great American psychologist, William James, humans are born with an innate desire to seek adventure. For much of human history this desire has been satiated by war and if not by war, by exploration with the express purpose of increasing national boundaries and land holdings, not to mention national treasuries. It was not until the mid-nineteenth century that humans came to exploration for aesthetic reasons. Modern mountaineering is a clear cut example of exploration for its own sake--its own reward. We will read and discuss a number of essays that deal with exploration as an aesthetic activity, yet we will also look at many adventures that were wholly nationalistic in nature and yet out of these, comes some of the most touching and well-written accounts of human endurance, sacrifice, and survival. It is the purpose of literature to stir the soul.
1:30 - 2:45 PM TTH
Elizabeth Hall 205
Mike Vause (English)
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