We inhabit a world of more than humans. For life to flourish, we must listen to the calls this world makes on us, and respond with care, sensitivity and judgement. That is what it means to correspond, to join our lives with those of the beings, matters and elements with whom, and with which, we dwell upon the earth. 

In this book, anthropologist Tim Ingold corresponds with landscapes and forests, oceans and skies, monuments and artworks. To each he brings the same spontaneity of thought and observation, the same intimacy and lightness of touch, but also the same affection, longing and care that, in the days when we used to write letters by hand, we would bring to our correspondences with one another. 

The result is a profound yet accessible inquiry into ways of attending to the world around us, into the relation between art and life, and into the craft of writing itself. At a time of environmental crisis, when words so often seem to fail us, Ingold points to how the practice of correspondence can help restore our kinship with a stricken earth.

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  • November 2020
  • 180 pages
  • 145 x 214 mm / 6 x 8 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $69.95
  • 9781509544103
  • Paperback $19.95
  • 9781509544110
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  • 9781509544127
Table of Contents
Preface and Acknowledgements

Part 1: Tales from the Woods
1.1 Somewhere in Northern Karelia…
1.2 Pitch-black and firelight
1.3 In the shadow of tree being
1.4 Ta, Da, Ça

Part 2: Spitting, Climbing, Soaring, Falling Introduction
2.1 The foamy saliva of a horse
2.2 The mountaineer’s lament
2.3 On flight
2.4 Sounds of snow

Part 3: Going to Ground Introduction
3.1 Scissors paper stone
3.2 Ad coelum
3.3 Are we afloat?
3.4 Shelter
3.5 Doing time

Part 4: The Ages of the Earth Introduction
4.1 The elements of fortune
4.2 A stone’s life
4.3 The jetty
4.4 On extinction
4.5 Three short fables of self-reinforcement

Part 5: Line, Crease and Thread Introduction
5.1 Lines in the landscape
5.2 The chalk-line and the shadow
5.3 Fold
5.4 Taking a thread for a walk
5.5 Letter-line and strike-through

Part 6: For the Love of Words
6.1 Words to meet the world
6.2 In defence of handwriting
6.3 Diabolism and philophilia
6.4 Cold blue steel

Au revoir
About the Author
Tim Ingold is Emeritus Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen.
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“Tim Ingold’s correspondents include not only his fellow humans and their works, but also animals, trees, rocks, rivers, sunshine, wind, rain, and snow – in short, all of the variegated, sensate, ever transforming materials of a universe in constant becoming. Ranging across what the author has previously referred to as the “4 A’s” (Anthropology, Archaeology, Art and Architecture) and beyond, and expressed through a prose that is at once exactingly lucid and engagingly lyrical, these writerly exchanges set out not merely to describe but embody the co-emergence and inextricable intertwinement of human and other than human being in the world.”
Stuart J. McLean, University of Minnesota

“In his most artistic work, Tim Ingold invites the reader to wander through these 27 touching and breathing pieces of writing. During the process of reading them, an image has been growing along my correspondence with the author: this work is not a building, nor a box, rather a tent, or a beehive; it is made of linen cloths and wooden reeds provisionally rooted into the different grounds it encounters. It goes along with you, reader, adapting itself to the occurring weather.”
Nicola Perullo, Università di Scienze Gastronomiche di Pollenzo

“Tim Ingold has taught with unparalleled grace how to think with the textures of a living world. In these marvelous new dispatches from the deep woods and coastal tidelands, from museum galleries and temple ruins, Ingold recovers an art of attentive writing.”
Anand Pandian, Johns Hopkins University

“Tim Ingold’s extraordinary book presents a celebration of the care of letter writing which in our age risks to disappear. Correspondences helps us to relearn the art of thinking and writing from the heart and is an urgent book for the 21st century.”
Hans-Ulrich Obrist, Director, Serpentine Gallery

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