A Time To Keep Silence.
First Edition of A Time To Keep Silence; Inscribed by Patrick Leigh Fermor
A Time To Keep Silence.
FERMOR, Patrick Leigh.
Item Number: 135041
London: John Murray, 1957.
First edition of the author’s third book, detailing his experiences in various monasteries. Octavo, original blue cloth. Illustrated by John Craxton. Presentation copy, inscribed by the author on the dedication page, “From [My Mother] AE. Leigh Fermor Fudge with thanks for safe transportation to Regency Sq. Brighton MCMLXIX.” Fermor has crossed out the ‘To’ in the printed ‘To my Mother’ dedication and inscribed the book as a thank you from his mother Aeileen Leigh Fermor. Known to her family as Fudge, Fermor’s mother moved in old age to a rest home near Brighton, Sussex, in the late 1960’s where Fermor visited her frequently. This book was likely given as a gift of appreciation to a friend of the family who assisted Fermor’s mother in her move from her home in Regency Square to Brighton. Additionally signed by Fermor on the title page. Near fine in a very good price-clipped dust jacket. Jacket design by Peter Todd Mitchell.
Patrick Leigh Fermor was a travel writer who became a war hero by kidnapping the commanding German officer on the Nazi-occupied island of Crete. (The movie "Ill Met by Moonlight" is a fictionalized account of his experience.) 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).