A Pelican in the Wilderness: Hermits, Solitaries and Recluses

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HarperCollins, 2003 - Hermits - 284 pages
9 Reviews
Celebrated novelist Isabel Colegate explores the lives and works of those who have followed the call of solitude, from Lao Tzu and the Desert Fathers to Wordsworth and Thoreau. A Pelican in the Wilderness casts through time and place to uncover tales of human solitude. The quest for solitude - whether for social, religious, personal or intellectual reasons - dates back to ancient times. As a spiritual phenomenon it has its roots in Chinese, Hindu and Western philosophies; from the mystical Desert Fathers - the most famous of which was St Jerome - who cast themselves out into deserts and wastelands in search of spiritual revelation, to the Celts on Iona and Lindisfarne (who arrived with only onions to live on). Rousseau found solitaries inspirational, (but declared that he would die of boredom if he had to become a hermit himself, a view possibly shared by St Jerome who only managed to stay in the desert for two years).

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Review: A Pelican in the Wilderness: Hermits, Solitaries, and Recluses

User Review  - Isaac Holloway - Goodreads

This was an interesting book. Upon picking it up I was expecting a text that centered upon what it meant to be a solitary and instead what the author writes is more about the lives of specific ... Read full review

Review: A Pelican in the Wilderness: Hermits, Solitaries, and Recluses

User Review  - Rachel Bayles - Goodreads

This is a tough one to get through. Clearly the author did copious research, but the first three quarters of the book have an underlying detached irony that's off-putting. She doesn't have enough ... Read full review

About the author (2003)

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.

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