The Basque Country: A Cultural History

Hardcover | January 4, 2008

byPaddy 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 thetwenty-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 beechwoods. 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, theregion 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 ofarchitecture of the last century. Here then is a marvelous guide to the culture and landscape of one of the most intriguing places on Earth.

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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 thetwenty-first-century city. In The Basque Coun...

Paddy Woodworth is an investigative reporter from Ireland who has spent many years living in the Basque Country.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 5.39 × 8.31 × 1.3 inPublished:January 4, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195328000

ISBN - 13:9780195328004

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Table of Contents

ContentsAcknowledgementsPrefaceIntroduction - Land of stone, iron, glass: Land of the BasquesChapter One. Where are we, exactly? And what will we call this place?Chapter Two. A short version of a long history: From the stone age to the Civil WarChapter Three. Bai, bai, Urdaibai: cave paintings, painted trees, tree of GernikaChapter Four. The fronton at the heart of life: the power and beauty of pelotaChapter Five. Cinco Villas: Pio Baroja, flying Mari, sword dances, and sorceryChapter Six. Gastronomy: some answers to the most urgent Basque questionChapter Seven. Wow, Bilbao! The transformation of a tough cityChapter Eight. From the music of labor, to music as a labor of loveChapter Nine. Obaba in Asteasu: the Basque village as a literary universeChapter Ten. Gudari for GodChapter Eleven. Serious Fun: fiestas in LaguardiaChapter Twelve. Don't mention the war: the dark side of Basque - and Spanish - politicsChapter Thirteen. Bay of Biscay: whales, Belle Epoque, decapitated geese, sexual politicsChapter Fourteen. Living in shadowlands: Basque, but not Basque nationalistChapter Fifteen. Navaree - heartland or hinterland?Chapter Sixteen. Mountain high: pleasure and penitence and pagan godsChapter Seventeen. Iparralde: the Basques on the other side of the mountainsAfterword

Editorial Reviews

"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