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The Basque Country: A Cultural History
     

The Basque Country: A Cultural History

by Paddy Woodworth
 

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The Basque Country is a land of fascinating paradoxes and enigmas. Home to one of Europe's oldest peoples and most mysterious languages, with a living folklore rich in archaic rituals and dances, it also boasts a dynamic modern energy, with the reinvention of Bilbao creating a model for the twenty-first-century city. In The Basque Country, Paddy Woodworth

Overview

The Basque Country is a land of fascinating paradoxes and enigmas. Home to one of Europe's oldest peoples and most mysterious languages, with a living folklore rich in archaic rituals and dances, it also boasts a dynamic modern energy, with the reinvention of Bilbao creating a model for the twenty-first-century city. In The Basque Country, Paddy Woodworth takes us on a sweeping tour of this enchanting land. We discover a small territory which abounds in big contrasts, ranging from moist green valleys to semi-desert badlands, from snowy sierras to sandy beaches, from harsh industrial landscapes to bucolic beech woods. The book reveals how this often idyllic scenery forms the backdrop for a land of ancient and modern culture, where Basque poets still compose spontaneous stanzas in public contests and where strange age-old sports--rock lifting, goose decapitation--are still held at fiestas. Likewise, the region has made important contributions to modern culture, through novelists like Bernardo Atxaga, sculptors like Eduardo Chillida, painters like Zuluoaga, and cineastes like Julio Medem. And of course Bilbao's flagship museum, the Guggenheim, designed by Frank O. Gehry, may be the best work of architecture of the last century. Here then is a marvelous guide to the culture and landscape of one of the most intriguing places on Earth.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The Basque Country is full of gems.... Woodworth has a good eye for architecture and topography.... This is a splendid portrait of a bewitching land."—Financial Times

"An enthralling homage...deserves to rank as [the] companion of Julio Medem's film, The Basque Ball."—The Sunday Tribune

"A terrific modern introduction to the Basque Country...succeeds in showing us the complexities of the Basque struggle for identity."—Irish Times

"He weaves a rich tapestry from his catalogue of stories and journeys but is not slow to criticise, often with acerbic wit...knows his subject intimately...a roller-coaster ride around the region...expands our idea of identity in a world of sameness...more than a travel book. Through this valuable record of a culture surviving, often thriving, we share a richness and depth often missing from modern life. Woodworth guides us down that road with style and intensity, until you want to savour the uniqueness of the Basque country first-hand."—Sunday Business Post

"A spectacular achievement by any standards. Definitive in scope and lyrical in style...fit to set alongside any of the finest travel writing of recent decades."—The Hot Press

"A marvellous book...subtle and ironic...he has] an exasperated love for this region...do buy this book if you are going to the Basque Country, or if you have no intention of ever going but enjoy armchair exploration."—The Dubliner

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199886890
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
12/27/2007
Series:
Landscapes of the Imagination
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
1,311,455
File size:
6 MB

Meet the Author

Paddy Woodworth has written about the Basque Country for thirty years, and is the author of Dirty War, Clean Hands: ETA, the GAL and Spanish Democracy, described by Paul Preston as "one of the best books ever published on post-Franco Spain."

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