Sun Dancing: A Vision of Medieval Ireland

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1999 - Fiction - 284 pages
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Visible on a clear day off the west coast of Ireland, the Skellig Islands, a cluster of cruel rocks, rise spectacularly from the Atlantic Ocean. A sanctuary to birds and seals today, for over six hundred years during the middle ages it was a center for a particularly intense form of monastic life, one that acclaimed writer Geoffrey Moorhouse explores with utmost fascination, scholarship, and imagination in Sun Dancing. A must read for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of Celtic spirituality, Moorhouse's lively narrative is a superbly imagined account of the monks' isolated life-the spiritual struggles and triumphs and unbelievable physical hardships. To complement and enrich the book, Moorhouse establishes the historical context of Irish monasticism and describes the monks' influence and undeniable role in preserving western civilization, as well as unexpected connections between medieval Ireland and India, Egypt, and Byzantium, and the surviving impact of pagan mythology. An entertaining and enlightening work, Sun Dancing makes medieval Ireland come alive.
 

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Contents

ONE AD 588
3
TWO AD 670
19
THREE AD 780
35
FOUR AD 824
55
FIVE AD 95O
71
SIX AD IO44
85
SEVEN AD 1222
105
PART
117
Brendan the Navigator 136 The Irish Kings and Tara
173
Irish Monasticism 143 Three Martyrdoms
182
Monastic Dress
190
The World View
200
The Monastic Horarium
208
Two Tonsures
214
Mingled Traditions
273
Poverty and Sickness
281

The Scoti
154
Pagans and Christians 126 The Desert Fathers
167

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About the author (1999)

Geoffrey Moorhouse is the author of nineteen books, including Calcutta, Imperial City, and Hell's Foundations. He was chief features writer at the Manchester Guardian for twelve years, until 1970. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, he lives in North Yorkshire, England.

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