Rare First Edition of Patrick Leigh Fermor’s A Time To Keep Silence; Signed by Him

  • A Time To Keep Silence.

A Time To Keep Silence.

$2,500.00

Item Number: 3849

London: The Queen Anne Press, 1953.

First edition, one of 500 numbered copies, this being number 25. Octavo, original cloth. Signed by Patrick Leigh Fermor on the title page. Near fine in a near fine dust jacket with a small closed tear. Rare, especially in the original dust jacket. With four decorations by the artist John Craxton.

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).

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