David Downie - Paris to the Pyrenees (in conversation with Sandra M. Gilbert)

In conversation with Sandra M. Gilbert

Driven by curiosity, wanderlust, and health crises David Downie and his wife set out from Paris to walk across France to the Pyrenees. Starting on the Rue Saint-Jacques then trekking 750 miles south to Roncesvalles, Spain, Paris to the Pyrenees: A Skeptic Pilgrim Walks the Way of Saint James ($27.95) follows their eccentric route: 72 days on Roman roads and pilgrimage paths--a 1,100-year-old network of trails leading to the sanctuary of Saint James the Greater. It is best known as El Camino de Santiago de Compostela-"The Way" for short.

The object of any pilgrimage is an inward journey manifested in a long, reflective walk. For Downie, the inward journey met the outer one: a combination of self-discovery and physical regeneration. More than 200,000 pilgrims take the highly commercialized Spanish route annually, but few cross France. Downie had a goal: to go from Paris to the Pyrenees on age-old trails, making the pilgrimage in his own maverick way.

Professor Emerita at the University of California, Davis, Berkeley resident Sandra M. Gilbert has published eight collections of poetry, most recently Aftermath. Among her prose books are the memoir Wrongful Death, the cultural study Death’s Door: Modern Dying and the Ways We Grieve; and two essay collections, On Burning Ground, and Rereading Women.. With Susan Gubar, she is coauthor of The Madwoman in the Attic, No Man’s Land (three volumes) and coeditor of The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women. She is currently at work on a book tentatively titled The Culinary Imagination along with an anthology of food writing. In 2013, Gilbert and Gubar were named winners of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Listen to David discuss his new book on NPR below:


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ISBN-13: 9781605984322
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Pegasus Books, 4/2013

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