Read Hermits; The Insights of Solitude by Peter France Online

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In this lucid and inspirational book, Peter France provides engaging accounts of the lives of famous hermits and hermitic movements - from the Greek Cynics to the Desert Fathers to more modern seekers such as Thoreau, Thomas Merton, and the American poet Robert Lax. Viewed as possessing remarkable moral strength and mystical powers gained through an ascetic existence, hermIn this lucid and inspirational book, Peter France provides engaging accounts of the lives of famous hermits and hermitic movements - from the Greek Cynics to the Desert Fathers to more modern seekers such as Thoreau, Thomas Merton, and the American poet Robert Lax. Viewed as possessing remarkable moral strength and mystical powers gained through an ascetic existence, hermits have been revered and scorned for their often odd behavior. Although the traditional life of a hermit has always been ascetic and antisocial, it has often been difficult for these truth-seekers to avoid people altogether. However, for the modern hermit, such as the expatriate writer Robert Lax, the pursuit of enlightenment involves finding a balance between interacting with society and finding solitude in which to work. Filled with the wisdom born of solitude, Hermits provides a body of spiritual knowledge that will inspire readers to meditate on the need we all have for a time of solitude in our lives....

Title : Hermits; The Insights of Solitude
Author :
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ISBN : 9780312194635
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 598 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Hermits; The Insights of Solitude Reviews

  • James Chin
    2019-03-10 14:20

    ". . . and it soon became clear that one of the ironies of the human situation is that those who have chosen to live outside society have always been eagerly sought out for advice on how to live within it."

  • Monty Milne
    2019-02-21 18:41

    A good and wide ranging introduction which is by no means confined to the Christian tradition, although it is my guess that the traditions of the Christian desert fathers are the ones which hold the most interest for the author (as indeed they do for me). Of course, many hermits were undoubtedly mad, and you don't have to share Gibbon's hugely unfair rubbishing of the eremitic tradition to realise that. This book celebrates the rediscovery of the good bits of that tradition, whilst noting that some of the less attractive bits have been glossed over. Eccentricity can easily spill over into egocentric madness. I decided I don't care for Thomas Merton at all: I agree with his psychiatrist that his real desire was to live in a hermitage with a big neon sign over it proclaiming "Hermit Lives Here". There is something about Merton which I find deeply unattractive. Maybe it's just the mystery of human sympathy that we are all so different in who or what we like and dislike. But Charles de Foucauld, on the other hand, was the real deal. If he was mad too, it was in a good way: the way that makes us question the sanity of so much of our dopamine-driven, unhealthy, rat-on-a-treadmill patterns of addictive acquisitiveness.

  • John
    2019-03-22 21:42

    I found this book by way of Goodreads. One of the best books for 2017 as voted here was Michael Finkel's The Stranger In The Woods, about a hermit who lived in the Maine woods for 28 years. How he survived those winters is still a marvel to me.Finkel recommended France's book about solitude. It's more of a history of solitude as told by the hermits along the way -- such as Thoreau and Thomas Merton.A scholarly work, well-researched and written. I would recommend only if you have an interest in the subject, perhaps by way of reading Walden.

  • bibliotekker Holman
    2019-02-23 14:29

    There are certain insights and mental adjustments that come to me only when out on a hike or an extended backpacking or canoeing trip. Shutting out the noise of modern life, if only for a few days reaps great benefits..like popping a new battery in the system. Ever since I built and camped in hand built shelter as a child, the idea of living "Thoreau-like" has been a compelling if unrealized idea better lived vicariously. There are some who have taken it to a whole new level and the author explores a few of them. The author delves into this with chapters focused on both the ancient and relatively contemporary. This book could have been more than it is and is a bit of a let down if you are looking for more comprehensive treatment.

  • Elisa Berry
    2019-03-19 19:44

    This is a history book, not a spiritual guide and focuses mainly on Chrisitan/Western eremeticism. I am currently reading about the Russian Startsy, a little different as it's East Orthodox. Eventually the book moves toward India and the Sahara. The author's theme concentrates on the hermit as sage, enduring long periods of solitude and emerging with valuable insights for the society around him or her (the portrayal here is overwhelmingly male, though one woman has been represented thus far).

  • Thomas
    2019-03-07 13:25

    An entire island in Greece of hermits? Isn't that somehow missing the point? Thomas Merton dies in a crappy way similar to Dr. Atkins slipping on ice on the sidewalk which led to his death? Take this thought provoking book to your favorite cave and ponder. Gain enlightenment and join the rest of society again.

  • EunSung
    2019-03-02 18:36

    reading about the life of charles de foucauld, thomas merton, and espeically about robert lax was a joy. the section on robert lax was especially amazing, because little is written about him. his poetry, journals and writings are in obscurity in the U.S.

  • John Hornyak
    2019-02-27 21:36

    Yet another book that leaves me with new questions...a great read for those who are really interested in the historical approach to monasticism and solitide. Insightful and intriguing...

  • Steve
    2019-03-20 20:26

    This book changed my mind about my desires for solitude. I've done a week long solitary retreat, and I'm not sure if I could have imagined it without reading this book.

  • Nan-sea
    2019-03-10 19:28

    hermits are cool

  • George
    2019-03-06 13:25

    Discerning survey of the solitary life.

  • Anna
    2019-02-23 21:21

    "People who can't stand being alone make the worst company."