A Pelican in the Wilderness: Hermits, Solitaries and Recluses
, Feb 17, 2003
- 320 pages
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).