Swamp

Nature and Culture

Anthony Wilson

Swamp

Anthony Wilson

Distributed for Reaktion Books

248 pages | 80 color plates, 20 halftones | 5 3/4 x 8 1/4
Paper $24.95 ISBN: 9781780238449 Published January 2018 For sale in North and South America only
Throughout history, swamps have been idealized and demonized, purged and protected. Today, they are simultaneously considered metaphorical places of evil, pestilence, and death, and treasured as diverse biological ecosystems teeming with life.

Covering not only swamps and bogs but also marshes and wetlands, Swamp ventures into the cultural and ecological histories of these mysterious, mythologized, and misunderstood landscapes. Anthony Wilson takes readers into swamps across the globe, from the freshwater marshes of Botswana’s tremendous Okavango delta, to the notable swamps between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, to the peat bogs in Russia, the British Isles, and Scandinavia, which have been used as energy sources for centuries. It explores ideas and representations of wetlands across centuries, cultures, and continents, considering legend and folklore, mythology, literature, film, and natural and cultural history. As it plumbs the murky depths of swamps from the distant past to an uncertain future, Swamps provides an engaging, accessible, informative, and lavishly illustrated journey into these fascinating landscapes.
 
Contents
Introduction: Terra Incognita
1 Swamp as Home: People of the Swamps
2 Swamp as Quagmire: Obstacle, Trial and Problem
3 Swmap as Horror: Monsters, Miasma and Menace
4 Swamp as Spectacle: Paradise, Sanctuary, Aesthetic Object
Postscript: Paradise Lost? The Swamps’ Uncertain Future
Appendix: An Array of Major World Wetlands
References
Bibliography
Acknowledgements
Photo Acknowledgements
Index
 
Review Quotes
Natural History
"Swamps, once deemed tangles of putrefaction and peril, are only now receiving the respect they deserve. That's the dramatic arc of this beautifully illustrated social and literary history of wetlands."
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