What is the source of personal writing? When do we begin to consider our own lives worthy of a story? These powerful and passionate selections of spiritual autobiography do not merely represent a vital literary tradition; they bring together fifty-eight writers whose search for truth and understanding has spanned over two millennia and several continents.
From Saint Augustine and Rabi'a to T. S. Eliot and Kathleen Norris, each of these autobiographers tells the story of the inner life as a spiritual quest. Although separated culturally, historically, and linguistically, they are united by their efforts to respond to Socrates' challenge to "know thyself." In four parts this insightful collection includes works by:
• Wanderers and seekers, like Leo Tolstoy and Thomas Merton, who feverishly explore many experiences and world views
• Pilgrims and missionaries, like Anne Bradstreet and David Livingstone, who unwaveringly pursue God and holiness in lives of self-sacrifice
• Mystics and visionaries, like Julian of Norwich and Annie Dillard, who discover the ecstasy of epiphany in a life of contemplation and seclusion
• Scholars and philosophers, like Simone Weil and Blaise Pascal, who seek to ground spiritual conviction in a rational certitude.
Strong, deep, and enduring, the selections in this illuminating anthology remind us that "the unexamined life is not worth living" and speak to us with an immediacy that transcends time and space.
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About the Author
Madeleine L'Engle is best known for her science fiction trilogy A Wrinkle in Time, winner of the Newbery Award; A Wind in the Door; and A Swiftly Tilting Planet, winner of the American Book Award. She is also a distinguished poet and an award-winning writer of nonfiction.