The Secret Lives of Alexandra David-Neel: A Biography of the Explorer of Tibet and Its Forbidden Practices

The Secret Lives of Alexandra David-Neel: A Biography of the Explorer of Tibet and Its Forbidden Practices

by Barbara M. Foster, Michael Foster
     
 

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The Secret Lives of Alexandra David-Neel is the definitive biography of the explorer Lawrence Durrell called "the most astonishing woman of our time." Alexandra David-Neel was the first European to explore Tibet at a time when foreigners were banned; few have led a life of adventure to equal hers or made so much of it.

In Tibet and Sikkim, David-Neel

Overview

The Secret Lives of Alexandra David-Neel is the definitive biography of the explorer Lawrence Durrell called "the most astonishing woman of our time." Alexandra David-Neel was the first European to explore Tibet at a time when foreigners were banned; few have led a life of adventure to equal hers or made so much of it.

In Tibet and Sikkim, David-Neel lived among hermits and shamans while studying first hand the secret mystical practices of Tibetan Buddhism, including out-of-body travel, telepathy, vampiric shamanism, and tantric sex. After returning to France, she wrote more than thirty books, among them My Journey to Lhasa and Magic and Mystery in Tibet. She has had a profound influence on Beat culture and the emergence of American Buddhism.

Drawing from rare source material, including information obtained from the secret files of the India office, Barbara and Michael Foster have written a vividly detailed chronicle-of both David-Neel's quest to conquer her personal demons and of the outer journey that made her one of the most celebrated figures of her day.

Editorial Reviews

KLIATT
Enigmatic in her own right, this Frenchwoman born in genteel circumstances in 1868 led a life of intrigue and adventure that influenced modern radical thinkers such as Beats Kerouac and Ginsberg. Feminist, opera singer, mystic student, adventurer, she was the first European woman to enter the holy city of Lhasa. An intrepid explorer, she trekked through the Himalayas disguised as a beggar, accompanied by her adopted Sikkimese son, Yongden, stalking and photographing snow leopards and studying the practices of Tibetan Buddhism. In 1927 she wrote her first book, My Journey to Lhasa. Both a flamboyant personality and a private person, David-Neel periodically reinvented herself, rising Phoenix-like in a fresh persona. In 1968 Jeanne Denys published a volume called A David-Neel au Tibet, asserting that David-Neel had never performed the feats of which she had written. Authors Barbara and Michael Foster refute this accusation, and with their access to first-hand information from people who knew her and hitherto unavailable documents from the India office, they present a fascinating portrait of this indomitable explorer of the inner and outer terrain. Victoria Williams, daughter of the British Trade Agent who received the bedraggled David-Neel as she emerged from the wilds of Tibet, replied, when asked why David-Neel persisted in her quests, "Why? To show that a woman could do it!" KLIATT Codes: SA�Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 1998, Overlook, 329p. illus. bibliog. index., Boatner

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780879517748
Publisher:
Overlook Press, The
Publication date:
05/28/1997
Edition description:
REVISED
Pages:
332
Product dimensions:
6.25(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.29(d)

Meet the Author

Barbara Foster has written extensively in women's studies. She is assistant professor in the library department at Hunter College, City University of New York. Michael Foster is the author of Freedom's Thunder and other novels.

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