Winter, Tamed

Dec 24 2012 @ 6:26pm

Adam Gopnik's book on Winter describes how, thanks to modern technology and luxuries, we've essentially conquered an entire season. From Adam Nicolson's review:

Gopnik’s winter is a world in transition from its potency to our potency, from it being in charge to us being in charge, with many finely graded phases between those two poles. It is not quite true that no one loved the winter and its beauties in the distant past. There are ravishing descriptions in the Iliad of snow falling ‘on the grey sea and the beaches, and the surf that breaks against them’, and a love of heroic winter glamour in Anglo-Saxon poetry and of its cosmic mystery in Gawain. But for Gopnik, the Romantics essentially invented winter, largely because they were living inside and looking at it from the comfort of their drawing rooms. ‘It is one of the oddities of our cultural history,’ he says, ‘that we tend to overlook the authors of our comforts, even though we are almost always perfectly knowledgeable about the poets of our distress. Every one has heard of Caspar David Friedrich but who knows the names of the men who invented central heating?’