ABOUT THIS BOOK
Offers a philosophical history of bridges—both literal bridges and their symbolic counterparts—and the acts of cultural connection they embody.
“Always,” wrote Philip Larkin, “it is by bridges that we live.” Bridges represent our aspirations to connect, to soar across divides. And it is the unfinished business of these aspirations that makes bridges such stirring sights, especially when they are marvels of ingenuity.
A rich compendium of myths, superstitions, and literary and ideological figurations, Of Bridges organizes a poetic and philosophical history of bridges into nine thematic clusters. Leaping in lucid prose between distant times and places, Thomas Harrison questions why bridges are built and where they lead. He probes links forged by religion between life’s transience and eternity as well as the consolidating ties of music, illustrated by the case of the blues. He investigates bridges in poetry, as flash points in war, and the megabridges of our globalized world. He illuminates real and symbolic crossings facing migrants each day and the affective connections that make persons and societies cohere. In readings of literature, film, philosophy, and art, Harrison engages in a profound reflection on how bridges form and transform cultural communities. Of Bridges is a mesmerizing, vertiginous tale of bridges both visible and invisible, both lived and imagined.