9781590172445

A Time to Keep Silence

by
  • ISBN13:

    9781590172445

  • ISBN10:

    1590172442

  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 2007-10-30
  • Publisher: NYRB Classics
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Summary

While still a teenager, Patrick Leigh Fermor made his way across Europe, as recounted in his classic memoirs,A Time of GiftsandBetween the Woods and the Water. During World War II, he fought with local partisans against the Nazi occupiers of Crete. But inA Time to Keep Silence, Leigh Fermor writes about a more inward journey, describing his several sojourns in some of Europe's oldest and most venerable monasteries. He stays at the Abbey of St. Wandrille, a great repository of art and learning; at Solesmes, famous for its revival of Gregorian chant; and at the deeply ascetic Trappist monastery of La Grande Trappe, where monks take a vow of silence. Finally, he visits the rock monasteries of Cappadocia, hewn from the stony spires of a moonlike landscape, where he seeks some trace of the life of the earliest Christian anchorites. More than a history or travel journal, however, this beautiful short book is a meditation on the meaning of silence and solitude for modern life. Leigh Fermor writes, "In the seclusion of a cellan existence whose quietness is only varied by the silent meals, the solemnity of ritual, and long solitary walks in the woodsthe troubled waters of the mind grow still and clear, and much that is hidden away and all that clouds it floats to the surface and can be skimmed away; and after a time one reaches a state of peace that is unthought of in the ordinary world."

Author Biography

Patrick Leigh Fermor was born in 1915 of English and Irish descent. After his stormy schooldays, followed by the walk across Europe to Constantinople that begins in A Time of Gifts and continues through Between the Woods and the Water, he lived and traveled in the Balkans and the Greek Archipelago. His books Mani and Roumeli attest to his deep interest in languages and remote places. In the Second World War he joined the Irish Guards, became a liaison officer in Albania, and fought in Greece and Crete. He was awarded the DSO and OBE. He now lives partly in Greece, in the house he designed with his wife Joan in an olive grove in the Mani, and partly in Worcestershire. He was knighted in 2004 for his services to literature and to British-Greek relations.

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