Wanderers: A History of Women Walking (Hardcover)

Wanderers: A History of Women Walking Cover Image
By Kerri Andrews, Kathleen Jamie (Foreword by)
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“A wild portrayal of the passion and spirit of female walkers and the deep sense of ‘knowing’ that they found along the path.”—Raynor Winn, author of The Salt Path
“I opened this book and instantly found that I was part of a conversation I didn't want to leave. A dazzling, inspirational history.”—Helen Mort, author of No Map Could Show Them

This is a book about ten women over the past three hundred years who have found walking essential to their sense of themselves, as people and as writers. Wanderers traces their footsteps, from eighteenth-century parson’s daughter Elizabeth Carter—who desired nothing more than to be taken for a vagabond in the wilds of southern England—to modern walker-writers such as Nan Shepherd and Cheryl Strayed. For each, walking was integral, whether it was rambling for miles across the Highlands, like Sarah Stoddart Hazlitt, or pacing novels into being, as Virginia Woolf did around Bloomsbury. Offering a beguiling view of the history of walking, Wanderers guides us through the different ways of seeing—of being—articulated by these ten pathfinding women.

About the Author

Kerri Andrews is a senior lecturer in English literature at Edge Hill University. She has published widely on women’s writing, especially Romantic-era authors, and is a keen hill-walker and member of Mountaineering Scotland.

Praise For…

"The reader of Andrews's Wanderers: A History of Women Walking laces her boots and strikes out with ten women who walked, wrote, and wrote about walking. . . . There are some lovely vignettes. . . . The book is at its best when imaginatively recreating the sole-tiring, soul-stirring, stomping simplicity of walking alone. Then the reader shares the rapture of Virginia Woolf's cry: 'Oh the joy of walking!'"

— Laura Freeman

"Historically, women were consigned to domestic tasks that hemmed them in. For a woman to walk as freely as a man was a radical act and fraught with potential danger. Here Andrews turns a scholarly eye on ten women throughout history, most of whom lived in Great Britain, who walked or, rather, hiked long distances. . . . Andrews interacts with each walker by either tracing similar paths herself or reflecting upon those paths' significance."

— Booklist

"In her book Wanderers: A History of Women Walking, Borders-based writer and hillwalker Kerri Andrews profiles women writers for whom walking solo has been an empowering act, pivotal to their creativity and personal freedom. 'The history and literature of walking is all about men, so there’s the sense that it is therefore a male space because women have no role models or history,' said Kerri. 'But there is a long history of women walking. It held great importance for them but they wrote in journals and letters, so their accounts were not as well-known."

— Sunday Post

"A wild portrayal of the passion and spirit of female walkers and the deep sense of 'knowing' that they found along the path."

— Raynor Winn, author of the "The Salt Path"

"For centuries, women have walked for freedom, pleasure, identity, and solace: they have walked-for-their-lives. Andrews’s remarkable history of these wanderers is timely and exciting. Enchanted by Andrews’s accessible, engaging, rigorous work, I opened this book and instantly found that I was part of a conversation I didn’t want to leave. A dazzling, inspirational history."

— Helen Mort, author of "Black Car Burning," "Division Street," and "No Map Could Show Them"

“Walking is a seemingly straightforward, near-universal activity. But Andrews’s revelatory and important book shows us how walking has, for women, come to hold such political significance that walks—Reclaim the Streets marches—are a mainstay of feminist protest. With the absorbing voice and attention to detail of a favorite hiking companion, Andrews unearths the forgotten women who have walked for creativity, for independence and self-discovery, to remember, to forget, to escape violence, to find physical and emotional strength. It’s easy to think of hiking as a solitary pursuit, but Andrews expertly reveals how walking and walkers are profoundly shaped by social dynamics. The remarkable women in Wanderers walk in the face of restrictive corsets and crinolines, the demands of motherhood, nay-saying medical advice, and an ever-present fear of male violence. When we picture a walker, it is usually a man, alone on a mountain summit. But Andrews opens up a very different and vastly more expansive vista, in which ‘the history of walking has always been women’s history,’ and every present-day walker, male and female, should be grateful to her.”

— Rachel Hewitt, historian and trail-runner, author of "Map of a Nation"

Wanderers discovers a history of women walkers which spans three hundred years. . . . [Andrews’s] company is just as intelligent and lively as the women she ‘companions’ along the way. Heaven knows how many miles are covered—an astonishing number. But miles don’t really matter. What matters is that all women who can, should feel encouraged to get out there and claim our birthright. We should all be able to enjoy our walking free from fear, in what is, after all, our world too. Thanks to this book, we know that even in solitude we never walk alone. A fine female tradition is at our backs, encouraging us along.”

— Kathleen Jamie, author of "Surfacing," "Sightlines," and "Findings"

"Think of famous walkers and it's men like Wordsworth and Keats who likely spring to mind. But that's only half the story: here Andrews fills in the blanks with a history of women walkers of the last three hundred years, including eighteenth-century roamer Elizabeth Carter, Anaïs Nin, Nan Shepherd, and Cheryl Strayed."

— Country Walking Magazine
Product Details
ISBN: 9781789143423
ISBN-10: 178914342X
Publisher: Reaktion Books
Publication Date: October 1st, 2020
Pages: 288