Silence

Silence

A Social History of One of the Least Understood Elements of Our Lives

Book - 2019
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Houghton
From the author of the “dazzling epic”* Brilliant, a compelling history of silence as a powerful shaper of the human mind—in prisons, in places of contemplation, and in our own lives

Through her evocative intertwined histories of the penitentiary and the monastery, Jane Brox illuminates the many ways silence is far more complex than any absolute; how it has influenced ideas of the self, soul, and society. Brox traces its place as a transformative power in the monastic world from Medieval Europe to the very public life of twentieth century monk Thomas Merton, whose love for silence deepened even as he faced his obligation to speak out against war. This fascinating history of ideas also explores the influence the monastic cell had on one of society’s darkest experiments in silence: Eastern State Penitentiary. Conceived of by one of the Founding Fathers and built on the outskirts of Philadelphia, the penitentiary’s early promulgators imagined redemption in imposed isolation, but they badly misapprehended silence’s dangers.

Finally, Brox’s rich exploration of silence’s complex and competing meanings leads us to imagine how we might navigate our own relationship with silence today, for the transformation it has always promised, in our own lives. 

*Time

Another “dazzling epic” from the author of Brilliant, exploring an overlooked yet elemental force in our lives—silence—from contemporary Cistercian monks to an extraordinary 19th-century prison.
*Lev Grossman, Time


Baker & Taylor
Offers a history of silence as a powerful shaper of the human mind, specifically in Eastern State Penitentiary and the monastic world of Medieval Europe.

Baker
& Taylor

Original, intertwined histories of the penitentiary and the monastery explore the ways silence affects those who seek it and those who have it imposed upon them, sharing insights into its healthy modern applications and transformative potential. 25,000 first printing.

Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019.
ISBN: 9780544702486
0544702484
Characteristics: 310 pages ; 22 cm

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