Or the Art of Living a Wild and Poetic Life

Tomas Espedal


Tomas Espedal

Distributed for Seagull Books

Translated by James Anderson
313 pages | 5 x 8 | © 2010
Cloth $21.95 ISBN: 9781906497682 Published December 2010 World sales rights except India

“Why travel?” asks Tomas Espedal in Tramp, “Why not just stay at home, in your room, in your house, in the place you like better than any other, your own place. The familiar house, the requisite rooms in which we have gathered the things we need, a good bed, a desk, a whole pile of books. The windows giving on to the sea and the garden with its apple trees and holly hedge, a beautiful garden, growing wild.” The first step in any trip or journey is always a footstep—the brave or curious act of putting one foot in front of the other and stepping out of the house onto the sidewalk below. Here, Espedal contemplates what this ambulatory mode of travel has meant for great artists and thinkers, including Rousseau, Kant, Hazlitt, Thoreau, Rimbaud, Whitman, Giacometti, and Robert Louis Stevenson. In the process, he confronts his own inability to write from a fixed abode and his refusal to banish the temptation to become permanently itinerant.

            Lyrical and rebellious, immediate and sensuous, Tramp entertainingly conveys Espedal’s own need to explore on foot—in places as diverse as Wales and Turkey—and offers us the excitement and adventure of being a companion on his fascinating and intriguing travels.

Part 1
Why not begin with a street
Going to the dogs
Before I go
An impossible living room
The dream of vanishing
To walk away from a relationship
A lonely wanderer’s reveries
I should have had a trade
Down the open road
Swansea. Wales. Summer ’98
Staufen. Germany. Spring ’99
The origin of loneliness
So full of leave-taking
The perfect day
I found a resting place
Breakfast with the Dales in Modal
To the mountains
Night in the mountains
The sun’s reveille
With Anders Øvrebø at Ortnevik
Boots and the Man, I sing!
At the hairdresser’s
Faun’s evening
To go alone or with a companion
The wayfaring books
The diaries
An attempt
A midsummer night’s dream
Sleeping out
On the beach

Part 2
Sports and entertainment
Giacometti and the prostitutes
The Rimbaud route
How does a journey begin?
Finding the way
Out of Greece, into Turkey
Walking the streets of Istanbul
The Lycian way
A sojourn at Olympos
Review Quotes
David M. Smith | Contrary
"Even as his fame has grown in his native Norway, the range of what Tomas Espedal writes about has shrunk. Instead of an ever-expanding autobiographical space in which to tell his life story, Espedal’s project is more of a paring-down, an endlessly repeated return to a single scene. In Tramp: Or the Art of Living a Wild and Poetic Life, Espedal journeys on foot to places like Germany, Wales, Greece, and Turkey, meeting a host of interesting figures along the way. . . . In establishing the silent context of family and home, Espedal brings to the foreground a past that is far more distant and not as clear-cut as the travels he explicitly relates. Chronological time and authorial distance give way to a personal history that is at once more primordial, and in its way, more poetic. Espedal’s memoir thus becomes an especially vivid and deeply satisfying account of a ’wild and poetic life.’ "
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