Zen Effects: The Life of Alan Watts

Zen Effects: The Life of Alan Watts

by Monica Furlong
     
 

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The first and only full-length biography of one of the most charismatic spiritual innovators of the twentieth century.

Through his widely popular books and lectures, Alan Watts (1915-1973) did more to introduce Eastern philosophy and religion to Western minds than any figure before or since. Watts touched the lives of many. He was a renegade Zen

Overview

The first and only full-length biography of one of the most charismatic spiritual innovators of the twentieth century.

Through his widely popular books and lectures, Alan Watts (1915-1973) did more to introduce Eastern philosophy and religion to Western minds than any figure before or since. Watts touched the lives of many. He was a renegade Zen teacher, an Anglican priest, a lecturer, an academic, an entertainer, a leader of the San Francisco renaissance, and the author of more than thirty books, including The Way of Zen, Psychotherapy East and West and The Spirit of Zen.

Monica Furlong followed Watts's travels from his birthplace in England to the San Francisco Bay Area where he ultimately settled, conducting in-depth interviews with his family, colleagues, and intimate friends, to provide an analysis of the intellectual, cultural, and deeply personal influences behind this truly extraordinary life.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Popular Zen philospher Watts, whose bestsellers on oriental mysticism helped create a counterculture, privately insisted that he was a rogue, a fake and entertainer. Without either glorifying or sensationalizing Watts, this superb, intimately detailed biography assesses the impact of a flawed guru, the shy English-born scholar who, by the ``summer of love'' in 1967, had become a flower child brimming with confidence and flowing hair. Heavy drinking fueled by a gnawing sense of loneliness, three marriages replete with sexual adventures, writing and lecturing to support his seven children marked the life of a very human sage who seems an odd mixture of wisdom and childishness. Watts sought to reawaken Christians to the ``innerness'' of their religion; he also believed that assimilating Asian wisdom could help Westerners heal their schizoid mentality. Furlong ( Merton: A Biography shows how his ideas evolved and suggests their relevance for a new generation of readers. Photos. (October 28)
Library Journal
This first biography of the British expatriate turned Sixties counterculture guru, philosophical entertainer, and Zen popularizer is highly entertaining. Drawing on extensive interviews with surviving family members and making balanced use of Watts's amusing but selectively incomplete autobiography, Furlong paints a compelling portrait of a complex, brilliant man who wandered through three marriages and several careers while maintaining a lifelong involvement with Asian spirituality. Included are accounts of Watts's early education, his rise to prominence as an author, his experiments with psychedelic drugs, and his end as an exhausted alcoholic. Furlong successfully re-creates a colorful slice of recent American popular history through the life history of one of its famous protagonists. Paul E. Muller-Ortega, Religious Studies Dept., Michigan State Univ., East Lansing
From the Publisher

"For illuminating details on how Watts happened to be in the right place at the right time to bring Zen to the attention of millions, this biography is a must."
Los Angeles Times

"Lucid, intelligent, and compelling...inspires ne
Jack Maguire, author of Waking Up: A Week Inside a Zen Monastery and Essential Buddhism

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781893361324
Publisher:
Turner Publishing Company
Publication date:
03/01/2001
Series:
Skylight Lives Series
Pages:
264
Sales rank:
1,257,849
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)

Meet the Author

Monica Furlong was an author and journalist who lived in London. She authored many books, including Longings: Medieval Women Mystics.

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