In A Hundred Himalayas, Sydney Lea has collected a group of essays written over 30 years, representing what he refers to as the persistence of preoccupations and the absence of theory---a group of speculations, each one a single Himalaya, together a great elevation achieved in small increments. His musings on his own "favored genius," Robert Frost, his own approach to literary criticism, imagination, the American nature essay, rural life, the process of writing a poem, and fitting writing into everyday life all combine to create a picture of the things that interest Lea. "If there is grandeur at all in this volume," he says, "then, it must come in small increments." All of his small increments of gentle and insightful writing combine to create a collection that is, indeed, grand.
Sydney Lea is Professor Emeritus at Dartmouth College, Poet Laureate of Vermont, and a recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim, Rockefeller, and Fulbright Foundations. Lea founded, and for 13 years edited, the New England Review. Retired after 43 years of college teaching, he has published 10 volumes of poetry, a novel, and two collections of naturalist essays.