Circuitous Journeys: Modern Spiritual Autobiography by David J. Leigh

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By David J. Leigh

Circuitous trips: glossy non secular Autobiography presents a detailed analyzing and research of ten significant existence tales via twentieth-century leaders and thinkers from various non secular and cultural traditions: Mohandas Gandhi, Black Elk, Thomas Merton, Dorothy Day, C. S. Lewis, Malcolm X, Paul Cowan, Rigoberta Menchu, Dan Wakefield, and Nelson Mandela. The ebook makes use of methods from literary feedback, developmental psychology (influenced via Erik Erikson, James Fowler, and Carol Gilligan), and spirituality (influenced by means of John S. Donne, Emile Griffin, Walter Conn, and Bernard Lonergan). each one textual content is learn within the mild of the autobiographical culture started by means of St. Augustine's Confessions, yet with a spotlight on distinctively smooth and post-modern modifications of the self-writing style. The twentieth-century context of spiritual alienation, social autonomy, identification crises and politics, and the quest for social justice is tested in each one textual content.

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The twenty-seven years of his pre-monastic life narrated in Tlze Seven Storey Mountain make up the first half of his life story. Yet his relative prematurity, both as an autobiographer and as a monk, suggests why many of the “opposed elements” of the narrative are eventually resolved in a “higher unity” that itself will undergo further circling in his subsequent autobiographical writings. In brief, Merton’s early encounters with death precipitate many premature conflicts that lead to a lifelong series of unexpected spirals on his journey.

4, p. 76). My heart grew sombre with This first emotional encounter with death leads Augustine to reflect later in his journey on the existential and religous dimensions of his life. 5, p. 77). He regrets his love for his friend and blames himself: “I had loved him as though he would never die. 6, p. 77). In effect, Augustine begins at this time to search for permarzerzce. Absorbed in this search, he begins to reflect on the radical contingency and temporality in human life. Eventually his desire for a permanent love will drive him beyond the immediate, existential, and even historic moments or perspectives to what he ascribes to God at the end ofBook 4: “our home is your eternity” (p.

Wilson, A. N. C. S. LRtuis: A Biogrqdzy. New York: Norton, 1990. 1 Thomas Merton’s The Seven Storey Mountain A HALF-CENTURY after its publication, T h e Seven Stovey Mountain remains the most popular of Merton’s fifty books. l I would suggest that Merton’s practice as a young novelist and poet helps to explain the power and popularity of his autobiography. The autobiography embodies in a rudimentary but sophisticated narrative Merton’s resolution of a profound personal crisis. In a later book, Cofqectuves o f a Guilty Bystaizder, he explains that “.

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