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Written by Adam Gopnik

Series Title: CBC Massey Lectures

  • 272 Pages
  • 9781770890459



Publication Date August 24, 2011

The 2011 CBC Massey Lectures celebrates fifty years with bestselling author, essayist, cultural observer, and famed New Yorker contributor Adam Gopnik, whose subject is winter -- the season, the space, the cycle.

Gopnik takes us on an intimate tour of the artists, poets, composers, writers, explorers, scientists, and thinkers, who helped shape a new and modern idea of winter. Here we learn how a poem by William Cowper heralds the arrival of the middle class; how snow science leads to existential questions of God and our place in the world; how the race to the poles marks the human drive to imprint meaning on a blank space. Gopnik’s kaleidoscopic work ends in the present day, when he traverses the underground city in Montreal, pondering the future of Northern culture.

A stunningly beautiful meditation buoyed by Gopnik’s trademark gentle wit, Winter is at once an enchanting homage to an idea of a season and a captivating journey through the modern imagination. This deluxe 50th anniversary edition includes full-colour images printed on two 8-page inserts.

Selected for the Globe and Mail Top 100 Book 2011


Adam Gopnik
Adam Gopnik is the author of the international bestseller Paris to the Moon; Through the Children’s Gate: A Home in New York; Angels and Ages: A Short Book about Darwin, Lincoln, and Modern Life; and Steps Across the Water. He has been writing for The New Yorker since 1986. He is a three-time winner of the National Magazine Award for Essays and for Criticism and the George Polk Award for Magazine Reporting. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he grew up in Montreal, Quebec. From 1995 to 2000, he lived in Paris. He now lives in New York City with his wife and their two children.


"Winter is a soulful, studied meditation on the season that most captures our imagination . . . highly recommended." New York Review of Books

"...outstanding...[Adam Gopnik's] windows on winter illuminate varied aspects of the season, but, more profoundly, they also shed light on the human condition and our complex relationship with nature." Toronto Star

"...charming...[Adam Gopnik's essays] provide a timely reminder that we still have something to learn about the season." Montreal Gazette

"... a stream of endlessly entertaining insights and ideas -- a treasury of people and places and art." Globe and Mail

"... a book every Canadian needs to own." Chronicle Herald

"... enlightening and full of discovery ... insightful ..." Quill and Quire

"... pleasurably readable ... the Massey selectors made an inspired choice for 2011." Montreal Review of Books

"Gopnik melds familiar and arcane without talking down to readers ... thoughtful ..." Winnipeg Free Press

"[Adam Gopnik] is adept at connecting disparate subjects and ideas in interesting and unusual ways." Canadian Geographic

"... beautifully written ..." Columbian

"... sensationally good ..." Toronto Star

"[Gopnik is] a wonderful essayist, erudite, elegant and incisive." Telegraph

"Few writers are as adept as Gopnik, a natural born essayist, at generating such thoughts and seeing them spiritedly advancing across the page, like the "secret ministry" of frost at midnight." Guardian

"These lectures, these chapters, these thematic notes rise and fall with the senses they evoke: not just the visual indulgences of art, the oral of poetry, the taste of warm dishes, the touch of snowflakes, the absent odor of frigid air: Gopnik outfits winter with art, literature, bodily experience, and history, such that the reader can recall the season in the context of culture as well as anticipate it as well." American Book Review