17 May 2019 | Reading and Walking

46. Ian S. McIntosh, E. Moore Quinn, and Vivienne Keely, eds., Pilgrimage in Practice: Narration, Reclamation and Healing

I think I’ve written here about the advice I’ve received from my supervisors about this project. They tell me I should be “skinning” the books I read: reading the introduction and the conclusion and skimming the chapters in between, looking for anything relevant to my project. I’m usually reluctant to do that, because you never […]

12 May 2019 | Reading and Walking

43. Simon Coleman, “Do You Believe in Pilgrimage?: Communitas, Contestation and Beyond”

“Do You Believe in Pilgrimage?: Communitas, Contestation, and Beyond,” by Simon Coleman–another in the bunch Matthew Anderson sent my way–presents an intellectual rapprochement between two texts on pilgrimage that are typically considered to be completely at odds with each other: Image and Pilgrimage in Christian Culture, a 1978 study by Victor and Edith Turner; and Contesting the Sacred: The […]

12 May 2019 | Reading and Walking

42. Simon Coleman, “Accidental Pilgrims: Passions and Ambiguities of Travel to Christian Shrines in Europe”

In the group of essays Matthew Anderson were a couple by Simon Coleman. You may recall him as the co-editor of Reframing Pilgrimage: Cultures in Motion, the anthology of essays on pilgrimage and motion I read last week. He is, Matthew tells me, a very influential writer on pilgrimage and currently the Chancellor Jackman Professor in the Department […]

10 May 2019 | Reading and Walking

40. Rubén Camilo Lois González, Belén María Castro Fernández, and Lucrezia Lopez, “From Sacred Place to Monumental Space: Mobility Along the Way to St. James”

Sometimes an article turns out to be not quite what I expected. That’s the case with “From Sacred Place to Monumental Space: Mobility Along the Way to St. James,” co-authored by three academics from the University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. I had hoped it would help me think about the relationship between space […]

09 May 2019 | Reading and Walking

37. Ian Reader, Pilgrimage: A Very Short Introduction

If I’m going to write about pilgrimage, or consider my walks to be pilgrimages, I’m going to need a clearer sense of what pilgrimage is, even though I’ve made one recognized pilgrimage: the walk to the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain. That’s why I turned to Ian Reader’s short book on the […]

27 Apr 2019 | Reading and Walking

35. Thelma Poirier, Rock Creek

My plan had been to spend the past week and a half reading Iain Sinclair’s London Orbital, a 500-page account of walking around London, roughly following the route of the M25 expressway. That plan didn’t take into account the vicious chest cold I developed the day after I wrote my Cree examination. It was impossible […]

05 Apr 2019 | Reading and Walking

33. Katherena Vermette, North End Love Songs

I’m not totally convinced that I’m the best person to write about Governor General’s Award-winning poet and novelist Katherena Vermette’s book North End Love Songs, since I’ve never spent much time in Winnipeg and I’ve never made the trip up Main Street to Winnipeg’s North End, the place explored in these poems. And I always […]

05 Apr 2019 | Reading and Walking

32. Eudora Welty, “A Worn Path”

I used to teach Eudora Welty’s story, “A Worn Path,” and I still love it anyway. The story’s main character, Phoenix, is “an old Negro woman” (142) walking from her home somewhere “away back off the Old Natchez Trace” (147) into the town of Natchez, Mississippi. The narrator tells us that Phoenix was very old […]

19 Mar 2019 | Reading and Walking

27. Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life

My productivity has diminished lately, partly because it’s that time of the semester when other tasks, like marking, take up much of my time, and partly because it’s that time of the winter when I’m particularly exhausted and anxious for spring to arrive. The winters here are long, and this one has been very cold, […]