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Climber George Mallory's writings are republished
Mount Everest

A new generation of people is set to discover the writings of the climber George Mallory, who died on Mount Everest in 1924.

The re-release of his Complete Writings coincides with a new film telling the story of this fatal climb.

"It's quite radical, experimental writing for that time," said the book's editor Peter Gillman.

The film, Wildest Dreams, stars Liam Neeson and is being screened in Cambridge from 1 October 2010.

Neeson's late wife Natasha Richardson co-stars as Mallory's wife Ruth in the drama documentary.

Wildest Dreams

George Mallory
George Mallory as a young man. Liam Neeson stars as him in a new film

The film is based on Mallory's biography The Wildest Dreams, which was written by Peter and Leni Gillman.

The biography introduced Mallory to a new audience who knew little about him, except that he perished while trying to become the first man to reach the highest point on earth during the 1924 expedition, and was a public school-educated Cambridge graduate.

"He was a very radical figure in many ways. He was not your stiff-upper-lip Englishman," said Peter Gillman, explaining why he became interested in researching Mallory's life.

"He believed in women's suffrage, was interested in the new Labour Party and politics, he raved about the Post-Impressionists.

"He was very interested in the new Freudian psychology, and his writing was of a piece with that. He wanted to push the boundaries and you can see parallels with climbing too, he wanted to push the limits there as well."

The book was published in 2000, just after Mallory's body was discovered on the side of Mount Everest, and won the Boardman Tasker prize for mountain writing.

Well planned expedition

The Wildest Dreams inspired the Neeson and Richardson film of the same name.

The Gillmans were historical advisers on the film and will be seen in the film, because they were interviewed as part of it.

"The title The Wildest Dreams was taken from a phrase of his when he first saw Everest," said Peter Gillman. "But although he was a dreamer, he wasn't a fantasist, his dreams became things he wanted to live out.

"It was a very well planned expedition, the third one in four years. They weren't innocents abroad.

George Mallory
George Mallory's writings have been over-shadowed by his Everest death

"They had the best equipment - they were not that cliche of climbing in Harris tweed. They were in the best polar clothing they could find.

"They were serious people who knew what they doing and while they made mistakes, you do when operating in conditions like that."

Collected Writings

Peter Gillman hopes that readers will enjoy discovering Mallory's writing.

His Everest narratives began as letters which he wrote, no matter how bad the weather, to his wife Ruth. He then re-crafted many of them for publication.

And he had been writing for 20 years by the time he died, so the collected writings span that period.

"I was drawn to his writing because he was emotionally a very literate person. He had great emotional intelligence," explained Mr Gillman.

"He was determined to explore the emotional nature of climbing as an inner and outer journey. He goes away from the ironic under-statement that men of that time went for.

"He's looking at finding a way of expressing the inner experience of climbing, as well as the physical stuff. That's new-age stuff for someone writing in 1900s."

The film is on at the Arts Picture House in Cambridge from 1 October, the biography The Wildest Dreams has just been reissued in a new edition and includes some new research, and The Collected Writings of George Mallory is also out now.

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