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A Philosophy of Walking

Written by Frederic Gros | Translated by John Howe | April 2014
A Philosophy of Walking
Verso Books | April 2014

In A Philosophy of Walking, a bestseller in France, leading thinker Frédéric Gros charts the many different ways we get from A to B — the pilgrimage, the promenade, the protest march, the nature ramble — and reveals what they say about us.

Gros draws attention to other thinkers who also saw walking as something central to their practice. On his travels he ponders Thoreau’s eager seclusion in Walden Woods; the reason Rimbaud walked in a fury, while Nerval rambled to cure his melancholy. He shows us how Rousseau walked in order to think, while Nietzsche wandered the mountainside to write. In contrast, Kant marched through his hometown every day, exactly at the same hour, to escape the compulsion of thought. Brilliant and erudite, A Philosophy of Walking is an entertaining and insightful manifesto for putting one foot in front of the other.

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  • “An unclassifiable book in which ideas are illuminated by the bright light of the morning.” - L’Express

  • “Philosopher Gros ponders walking, that most mundane mode of transportation or exercise, elevating it to its rightful place in inspiring creativity, evoking freedom, and quieting a troubled soul.” - Booklist

  • “This elegant book inspires consideration of an oft-overlooked subject.” - Publisher's Weekly


  • Article originally published by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States on frenchculture.org.

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