BLDGBLOG: The bridged architecture of adjacent peaks and "the fallen man of letters"

BLDGBLOG: The bridged architecture of adjacent peaks and "the fallen man of letters":

"Awesomely, sci fi author and war correspondent H.G. Wells even did some reporting on the matter. For The New York Times, back in 1916, Wells wrote:

Mountain surfaces are extraordinarily various and subtle. You may understand Picardy upon a map, but mountain warfare is three-dimensional. A struggle may go on for weeks or months consisting of apparently separate and incidental skirmishes, and then suddenly a whole valley organization may crumble away in retreat or disaster.

Describing the Italy-Austrian mountain war as 'among the strangest and most picturesque [battlefields] in all this tremendous world conflict' –

– in fact, he adds, the "fighting in the Dolomites has been perhaps the most wonderful of all these mountain campaigns" – Wells goes on:

    Everywhere it has been necessary to make roads where hitherto there have been only mule tracks or no tracks at all; the roads are often still in the making, and the automobile of the war tourist skirts precipices and takes hairpin bends upon tracks of loose metal not an inch too broad for the operation, or it floats for a moment over a dizzy edge while a train of mule transport blunders by. (...) Down below, the trees that one sees through a wisp of cloud look far too small and spiky and scattered to hold out much hope for a fallen man of letters. And at the high positions they are too used to the vertical life to understand the secret feelings of the visitor from the horizontal.
One more long quotation – come on, how many of you knew that H.G. Wells was also a war correspondent? – because his descriptions of these mountain landscapes are just great:
    The aspect of these mountains is particularly grim and wicked; they are worn old mountains, they tower overhead in enormous vertical cliffs of sallow gray, with the square jointings and occasional clefts and gullies, their summits are toothed and jagged; the path ascends and passes around the side of the mountain upon loose screes, which descend steeply to a lower wall of precipices. In the distance rise other harsh and desolate-looking mountain masses, with shining occasional scars of old snow. Far below is a bleak valley of stunted pine trees, through which passes the road of the Dolomites.
In any case, it's the idea of the Alps being riddled with manmade caves and passages, with bunkers and tunnels, bristling with military architecture, even self-connected peak to peak by fortified bridges, the Great Moutain Wall of Northern Italy, architecture literally become mountainous, piled higher and higher upon itself forming new artificial peaks looking down on the fields and cities of Europe, that just fascinates me – not to mention the idea that you could travel up, and thus go futher into history, discovering that the past has been buried above you, the geography of time topologically inverted. "

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