Friday, 9 December 2011

Waterfall: Nature and Culture

'An evocative, well-researched, beautifully illustrated and many-layered exploration of one of our planet's most compelling natural wonders.' – Margaret Drabble

'Waterfall is that rare book on nature, learned and beautifully illustrated, encyclopedic in detail and sweeping in historical, aesthetic, and applied coverage, a "must" not only on the shelf of every nature lover's library, but also – I might add – on his or her coffee table.'
– Yi-Fu Tuan, author of Space and Place

With their fountains of glistening spray, overwhelming roar and terrifying might, waterfalls are extraordinary features of the natural world. While many flock to sites such as Niagara Falls and Victoria Falls, until now the rich cultural background of these natural wonders has been neglected. The Beautiful, the Sublime and the Picturesque are among the ideas considered in relation to waterfalls, and in Waterfall: Nature and Culture, Brian J. Hudson portrays these natural wonders in an entirely new light.

Diverse cultures around the world, from Native American to Celtic and Indian, have their own myths and legends about tumbling water. Together with the history and ecology of waterfalls, the book explores their portrayal in art, literature, photography, film and music, and their influence on landscape design and architecture. Waterfalls are an important source of hydroelectric power, and can also often be tourist attractions, but these two often incompatible ways for humans to exploit waterfalls frequently cause conflict, since both have an impact on the environment.

Regardless of their role, waterfalls are a vital presence in an increasingly urban landscape. This beautifully illustrated book by an expert on the subject will be a superb addition to the library of anyone who loves the natural world.

Brian J. Hudson has published widely on the subject of waterfalls, including Waterfalls of Jamaica: Sublime and Beautiful Objects (2001).

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