Buch der Talschaft Lauterbrunnen, by Hans Michel. 503 pages, including bibliography, 64 photographic illustrations and six color plates from old prints. Interlaken: Verlag Otto Schlaefli. Price, 50 Swiss francs.
An interesting recent development in Alpine literature is the succession of local social histories, many of which we have reviewed in these pages—Gräber’s Volksleben in Kärnten, Perkonig’s Kärnten, deutscher Süden, Weiss’s Volkskunde der Schweiz, Guichonnet’s Visages de la Savoie, Veyret’s similar work on Dauphiné (both in the Horizons de France series), as well as the books on Swiss cantons, six of which have already appeared in the Volkserbe der Schweiz series.
The present massive work covers the occurrences and customs in the Lauterbrunnen villages during the seven centuries from 1240 to 1949. It has additional chapters on the streams and waterfalls, the animal and plant life of the mountains. There are reproductions of 13th-century documents in which Lauterbrunnen (“in claro fonte”) is first mentioned; there are genealogical tables; there is an interesting historical discussion of the early routes (chiefly the Wetterlücke and the Petersgrat) connecting the Lauterbrunnenthal with the Lötschenthal. The illustrations are well chosen; they include fine pictures of avalanches, waterfalls and climbing, and some superb reproductions of Lory’s color prints.
J. M. T.