Tuesday, March 25, 2008

"So palpably present ..."

As the biographer of Katherine Pease Routledge, who was an intrepid Edwardian explorer, a British contemporary of Edith Wharton, and my scientific predecessor on Easter Island, I was invited to speak at The Mount. My presentation there dealt with Routledge's life and achievements, and the extraordinary setting provided by The Mount was a vivid inspiration.

Edith Wharton's love of The Mount, so palpably present in her beautifully restored home and gardens, was paralleled in the warm attachment Routledge had to Woodside, her family seat in Yorkshire. Yet, both women had ranged intellectually and spiritually far from their privileged families to create independent and lasting artistic and scientific legacies.

The Mount, and other such fascinating real places, whether humble or great, anchor us to the real world and are vital to the preservation and recall of cultural memory.

- Jo Anne Van Tilburg, Ph.D.