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Other titles in the Studies in Religion and Culture series:
Bewildered Travel : Sacred Quest... (07 Edition)by Frederick Ruf
Synopses & ReviewsPlease note that used books may not include additional media (study guides, CDs, DVDs, solutions manuals, etc.) as described in the publisher comments.
Why do we travel? Ostensibly an act of leisure, travel finds usthrusting ourselves into jets flying miles above the earth, only to enduredislocations of time and space, foods and languages foreign to our body and mind, and encounters with strangers on whom we must suddenly depend. Travel is not merelya break from routine; it is its antithesis, a voluntary trading in of the securityone feels at home for unpredictability and confusion. In BewilderedTravel Frederick Ruf argues that this confusion, which we mightthink of simply as a necessary evil, is in fact the very thing we are seeking whenwe leave home.
Ruf relates this quest forconfusion to our religious behavior. Citing William James, who defined the religiousas what enables us to front life, Ruf contends that the search forbewilderment allows us to point our craft into the wind and sail headlong into thestorm rather than flee from it. This view challenges the Eliadean tradition thatstresses religious ritual as a shield against the world's chaos. Ruf sees ourdepartures from the familiar as a crucial component in a spiritual life, remindingus of the central role of pilgrimage in religion.
In addition to his own revealing experiences as a traveler, Ruf presents the readerwith the journeys of a large and diverse assortment of notable Americans, includingHenry Miller, Paul Bowles, Mark Twain, Mary Oliver, and Walt Whitman. These accountstake us from the Middle East to the Philippines, India to Nicaragua, Mexico toMorocco--and, in one threatening instance, simply to the edge of the author's ownneighborhood. What gives value to travel is fear, wrote Camus. This bookillustrates the truth of that statement.
Book News Annotation:
Ruf (theology, Georgetown U.) explores the action of traveling, of voluntarily leaving what we know as familiar in exchange for unpredictability and confusion. He views this break from the familiar as a key aspect of a spiritual life, noting the important role of pilgrimage in religion. As he explores the purpose of travel he discusses his own experiences, as well as those of other Americans, including Henry Miller, Paul Bowles, Jack Gilbert, Alphonso Lingis, Susan Brind Morrow, Diane Johnson, Walt Whitman, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Mark Twain. The book is a serious discussion but is accessible to general readers. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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