First Edition of A Time To Keep Silence; Warmly Inscribed by Patrick Leigh Fermor
A Time To Keep Silence.
Fermor, Patrick Leigh.$1,150.00
Item Number: 2641
London: John Murray, 1957.
First edition of the author’s third book, regarding his experiences in various monasteries. Octavo, original blue cloth. Illustrated by John Craxton. Inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper, “Mary Anna with love from Paddy 2.6.88.” The recipient was Mary Anna Marten (with her bookplate to the inside gutter), who was the daughter of the 3rd and last Lord Alington of Crichel and later trustee of The British Museum. Near fine in the original dust jacket with a chip to the crown of the spine and overall wear.
In A Time to Keep Silence, Leigh Fermor writes about a more inward journey, describing his several sojourns in some of Europe’s oldest and most venerable monasteries. He stays at the Abbey of St. Wandrille, a great repository of art and learning; at Solesmes, famous for its revival of Gregorian chant; and at the deeply ascetic Trappist monastery of La Grande Trappe, where monks take a vow of silence. Finally, he visits the rock monasteries of Cappadocia, hewn from the stony spires of a moonlike landscape, where he seeks some trace of the life of the earliest Christian anchorites. More than a history or travel journal, however, this beautiful short book is a meditation on the meaning of silence and solitude for modern life. Leigh Fermor writes, “In the seclusion of a cell—an existence whose quietness is only varied by the silent meals, the solemnity of ritual, and long solitary walks in the woods—the troubled waters of the mind grow still and clear, and much that is hidden away and all that clouds it floats to the surface and can be skimmed away; and after a time one reaches a state of peace that is unthought of in the ordinary world.” "More than a history or travel journal, however, this beautiful short book is a meditation on the meaning of silence and solitude for modern life" (New York Review of Books). "His shortest book (and to my mind his best)its hammered terseness is a good match for the sobriety of the subject" (Anthony Lane, The New Yorker).