A pelican in the wilderness: hermits, solitaries and recluses

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9780002571425: A pelican in the wilderness: hermits, solitaries and recluses

From Lao-tse and the Buddha, St. Anthony and the early Celtic hermits, through Rousseau, Thoreau, Ruskin, and up to the present day, certain gifted persons have shown a vocation for living alone and apart, finding in simplicity and attention to nature a spiritual space to be explored and rejoiced in. Others, retreating from the world in scorn or cut off from it by scandal, have found that solitude is Hell, a pit of melancholy and morbid fancy. In this, her first work of nonfiction, novelist Isabel Colegate gives us the lives of the solitaries — male and female, medieval and modern, divinely inspired and patently fraudulent. But this is no mere gallery of saints and sinners, poets and misanthropes. It is also a reevaluation of solitude for our times, and a reminder that it is in solitude that the soul meets itself, refreshes itself, and from there goes out to join the communal dance.

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About the Author:

Isabel Colegate is the author of many bestselling books including THE ORLANDO TRILOGY, AGATHA, A GLIMPSE OF SION'S GLORY, WINTER JOURNEY and THE SHOOTING PARTY. She reviews both fiction and non-fiction for the Daily Telegraph, TLS, the Spectator, Washington Post, New York Times as well as writing travel articles for the Independent, Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail. She has appeared on a number of radio and television programmes. She was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1981and given an honorary degree by the University of Bath in 1988.

Review:

Praise for A Pelican in the Wilderness

Few books contain a cast of characters as fascinating as those who populate A Pelican in the Wilderness , Isabel Colegate’s charming meander through the history of hermits and solitaries. Elegantly written . . . a small gem of a book.” The Wall Street Journal

A bright and highly literate study of asceticism in both the East and the West.” Los Angeles Times

This is a charming book . . . witty and sagacious, entertaining and persuasive. It is not a volume that can be characterized as history or memoir or even a travel book but contains the best elements of all.” The Washington Times

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COLEGATE, Isabel
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