The Spiral Staircase: My Climb Out of Darkness

Front Cover
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Dec 18, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 336 pages
35 Reviews
Gripping, revelatory, and inspirational, The Spiral Staircase is an extraordinary account of an astonishing spiritual journey. In 1962, at age seventeen, Karen Armstrong entered a convent, eager to meet God. After seven brutally unhappy years as a nun, she left her order to pursue English literature at Oxford. But convent life had profoundly altered her, and coping with the outside world and her expiring faith proved to be excruciating. Her deep solitude and a terrifying illness–diagnosed only years later as epilepsy—marked her forever as an outsider. In her own mind she was a complete failure: as a nun, as an academic, and as a normal woman capable of intimacy. Her future seemed very much in question until she stumbled into comparative theology. What she found, in learning, thinking, and writing about other religions, was the ecstasy and transcendence she had never felt as a nun.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
8
4 stars
24
3 stars
3
2 stars
0
1 star
0

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - e2d2 - LibraryThing

As someone who has discarded religion but searches for spirituality, this book was a touchstone. Armstrong's description of finding bliss in her research and her writing is a place I can relate to. If ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Meredy - LibraryThing

Six-word review: Religious scholar wrestles with personal demons. Extended review: Whatever issues I may have had with religion don't seem to amount to much when compared with Karen Armstrong's ... Read full review

All 16 reviews »

Contents

Title Page
The Devil of the Stairs
Renounce the Blessed Face
Consequently I Reoioe
About the Author
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2007)

Karen Armstrong is the author of numerous other books on religious affairs—including A History of God, The Battle for God, Holy War, The Case for God, Islam, Buddha, and The Great Transformation—and two memoirs, Through the Narrow Gate and The Spiral Staircase. Her work has been translated into forty-five languages. She has addressed members of the U.S. Congress on three occasions; lectured to policy makers at the U.S. State Department; participated in the World Economic Forum in New York, Jordan, and Davos; addressed the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington and New York; is increasingly invited to speak in Muslim countries; and is now an ambassador for the UN Alliance of Civilizations. In February 2008 she was awarded the TED Prize and recently launched with TED a Charter for Compassion, created online by the general public and crafted by leading thinkers in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism to restore compassion to the centre of morality and religion. She lives in London.

Bibliographic information