Riding with Rilke : Reflections on Motorcycles and Books

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Penguin Group (Canada), 2006 - Biography & Autobiography - 272 pages
32 Reviews
English professor and motorcycle enthusiast Ted Bishop is taking one last ride before fall term when his bike vibrates out of control and he is flung into a ditch, breaking his back and collapsing his lungs. With limited mobility, Ted finally has time to savour the reading experience. He begins writing about his crash, realizing that two worlds had come together when his head hit the pavement. The more he thinks about it, the more it seems that archival work is the inverse, not the opposite, of motorcycling. Ultimately, what surrounds both reader and rider is silence.In Riding with Rilke, Ted Bishop takes us on the road through some of the richest landscapes in North America and Europe, with numerous stops along the way. Whether describing the archival jolt of holding Virginia Woolf's suicide note in the British Library or the outlaw thrill of cruising Main Street in small-town America on a bike nicknamed 'Il Mostro,' Bishop tells a story filled with insight and humour.'Prose that gracefully moves between action and thought, one moment riding hard across desolate Utah highways, the other turning pages of Joyce's Ulysses . . . Bishop makes literary sleuthing as adventurous as touring.' The Globe and Mail'By turns exciting and erudite, cerebral and amusing, Bishop has a knack for making just about anything he relates interesting.' Winnipeg Free Press

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“The sensual and the physical beautifully complemented by the literary [and] the automotive.…felicitous prose…controlled rapture….Reading his account, I came as close as I ever might to what it is to ride a Ducati Monster cross country.”
Amy Loyd, literary editor, Playboy magazine
“prose that gracefully moves between action and thought, one moment riding hard across desolate Utah highways, the other turning pages of Joyce’s Ulysses ….Bishop makes literary sleuthing as adventurous as touring.”
Ira Nadel, “Easy Writer,” Globe and Mail
“part travelogue, part ode to his bike and part literary criticism…infused with joie de vivre.”
Publishers’ Weekly
“One quickly becomes aware of the fertile, effervescent quality of Bishop’s intellect. Everything seems to inspire him, and he writes winningly of both the physicality of the road and the joys a scholar finds in a good archive.”
Quill and Quire

Review: Riding with Rilke: Reflections on Motorcycles and Books

User Review  - Frank - Goodreads

There was too much description of what he saw on the road. I find this to be a common mistake among travel writers. The interesting parts of travel/adventure books is the description of interactions ... Read full review


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