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Frithjof Schuon: Messenger of the Perennial Philosophy
This is the web page of the book "Frithjof Schuon: Messenger of the Perennial Philosophy"
Frithjof Schuon: Messenger of the Perennial Philosophy
Frithjof Schuon: Messenger of the Perennial Philosophy
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Author(s): 
Subjects(s): 
Perennial Philosophy
Schuon, Frithjof

Price:  $21.95

ISBN:  978-1-935493-08-2
Book Size:  6 × 9
# of Pages:  296
Language:  English



Description
Frithjof Schuon (1907-1998) is the foremost representative of the “Perennialist” or “Traditionalist” school of comparative religious thought. Michael Fitzgerald’s book is the most comprehensive biographical study of Schuon to date—one which shows how Schuon expressed his message not only in his majestic metaphysical works but in poetry, in painting, and in the disciplines of daily life. Appropriate and concise quotations from Schuon’s articles, books, memoirs, and correspondence are combined with a wealth of reliable information from people who knew Schuon well. Readers are thus given valuable tools to help clarify and deepen their understanding of Frithjof Schuon’s life and works. With more than a dozen color illustrations and over 40 sepia photographs, this biography should become a standard reference work for all future studies of Schuon.

AWARDS

  • Finalist in the “Biography: General” category of The USA "Best Books 2011" Awards, sponsored by USA Book News

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Detailed Description of Frithjof Schuon: Messenger of the Perennial Philosophy

Frithjof Schuon (1907-1998) is the foremost representative of the “Perennialist” or “Traditionalist” school of comparative religious thought. Michael Fitzgerald’s book is the most comprehensive biographical study of Schuon to date—one which shows how Schuon expressed his message not only in his majestic metaphysical works but in poetry, in painting, and in the disciplines of daily life. Appropriate and concise quotations from Schuon’s articles, books, memoirs, and correspondence are combined with a wealth of reliable information from people who knew Schuon well. Readers are thus given valuable tools to help clarify and deepen their understanding of Frithjof Schuon’s life and works. With more than a dozen color illustrations and over 40 sepia photographs, this biography should become a standard reference work for all future studies of Schuon.

Two World Wisdom projects are closely related to the content of this book: Harry Oldmeadow wrote a more comprehensive treatment focusing on Schuon's thought, Frithjof Schuon and the Perennial Philosophy (World Wisdom, 2010), and a multimedia presentation (2 DVDs), also titled Frithjof Schuon: Messenger of the Perennial Philosophy (2012), which covers Schuon's life and thought but includes rare film footage of Schuon and others, some of Schuon's musical favorites, and many photos documenting his life.

AWARDS

  • Finalist in the “Biography: General” category of The USA "Best Books 2011" Awards, sponsored by USA Book News



About the Author(s)

Michael Fitzgerald

Michael Fitzgerald is an author, editor, and publisher of books on world religions, sacred art, tradition, culture, and philosophy. He has written and edited many publications on American Indian spirituality, including Yellowtail: Crow Medicine Man and Sun Dance Chief, and was adopted into Yellowtail's tribe and family. Fitzgerald has also taught university classes on religious traditions of North American Indians and lectured widely. His contributions to World Wisdom books and DVDs include:

Edited/Authored   Co-edited (with Judith Fitzgerald):   DVD projects:
   

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William Stoddart

William Stoddart is a perennialist author, editor, and translator who has been active in advancing the understanding of the writings of Frithjof Schuon, Titus Burckhardt, and others, for many years. Dr. Stoddart's most recent publication with World Wisdom are An Illustrated Outline of Buddhism: The Essentials of Buddhist Spirituality, What Does Islam Mean in Today’s World?, and Outline of Sufism: The Essentials of Islamic Spirituality. A compilation of his writings, Remembering in a World of Forgetting, was edited by M. Soares de Azevedo and A. Vasconcellos Queiroz. Stoddart also edited The Essential Titus Burckhardt, and is perhaps the greatest authority on the work of this great Swiss traditionalist. Dr. Stoddart's other contributions in World Wisdom books include:
 

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Reviews of Frithjof Schuon: Messenger of the Perennial Philosophy

“Schuon is widely known and appreciated as one of the great teachers of the philosophia perennis. Those who believe in this position assert that it represents the essential metaphysical truth shared by all the major mystical and religious systems. According to the understanding of this 'perennial' position, transcendent truth is one and indivisible and lies, shared, below the 'surface' differences of humankind’s various theological and spiritual traditions. Fitzgerald (independent scholar) undertakes a labor of devotion and admiration in this full-length, very detailed biographical study of Schuon. The work clearly reflects the author's profound admiration for his subject, and an acceptance of Schuon’s metaphysical doctrine. Thus it is strong on detail and explanation but limits itself in terms of criticism, both as regards Schuon the man and Schuon the metaphysical teacher. Readers looking for biographical information will find much of interest, and those sympathetic to perennialism will reinforce their sympathies. Those of more skeptical bent, while admiring Fitzgerald’s research and learning, will have questions and concerns not answered. But this is the definitive biography of Schuon that all students will have to consider when discussing this undoubtedly interesting and provocative spiritual master. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, and researchers/faculty.”
—from a review by Steven T. Katz in CHOICE: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries



“As one closely familiar with both the person and writings of Schuon, [Michael Fitzgerald] is well situated for the task he has undertaken in Frithjof Schuon: Messenger of the Perennial Philosophy. This is by no means the first biographical account of Schuon: Aymard and Laude's work on Schuon's life and teachings includes considerable biographical material, while the reminiscences of Schuon's widow, Catherine Schuon, in Sacred Web, Vol.8 (2001), give an intimate portrait. It is, however, by far the most extensive biographical treatment of Schuon we now have. Further, while no biography can claim impartial objectivity, the work is closely based upon Schuon's unpublished memoirs, …while incorporating extensive autobiographical material both from this work as well as Schuon's private correspondence.”
—from a review by Peter Samsel in Sophia



“Much of the contemporary mania for biographies is really thinly-disguised voyeurism, fuelled by an insatiable appetite for gossip, for trivia, for the sensational, and the salacious. Here is a book of a different kind, one drawing out the exemplary significance of a heroic and saintly life—a life dedicated to the pursuit of Truth, to the preservation of the revealed and traditional forms in which that Truth has been enshrined, and to the spiritual life which is the very realization and living-out of that Truth. And so it is that this biography necessarily calls us back to a sense of the sacred and the way of prayer which is a constant refrain in Schuon’s life. Like Gandhi, Schuon might well have said, ‘My life is my message’—though in the latter case we have an imposing body of writings and paintings which will endure quite independently.

“As Fitzgerald remarks in his Preface, the lives of the great sages lend themselves to diverse interpretations and inflections; no single account can ever be exhaustive or finally definitive. True, but one must say that Fitzgerald’s biography, the fruit of many years of research and reflection, is unlikely to be surpassed. It is a precious document which will, assuredly, prove to be of abiding interest and significance to all those who seek that Light which is of neither East nor West, a Light dazzlingly refracted through the life and work of Frithjof Schuon.”
—from a review by Harry Oldmeadow in Crossing Religious Frontiers (Studies in Comparative Religion)



“There are several singular aspects of this new biography that commend it to the reader, of which we will mention four.

“First is its vantage. It is evident from the material included in the biography—personal photographs, private letters, and transcripts of interviews—that Fitzgerald has enjoyed privileged access to Schuon, and thereby offers the reader a uniquely vicarious insider’s glimpse into the life of the book’s subject. Fitzgerald as biographer has wisely chosen to largely remain in the background, offering commentary of his own and of other witnesses where appropriate—to supplement Schuon’s own ‘self-witness’—and has allowed the spiritual and intellectual portrait of his subject to emerge from Schuon’s own inspired and aphoristic writings and statements, which are displayed in the text in colored lettering. Fitzgerald notes that his aim has not been to offer a complete picture of Schuon, but like Hokusai’s approach in his ‘Views of Mount Fuji’, ‘a series of views of a towering figure within whose one life, many lives are contained.’

“Second is the Introduction—in which Fitzgerald organizes some of Schuon’s key ideas about his essential message: ‘metaphysical truth, a life of prayer, moral conformity, interiorizing beauty’—and the Appendices—which contain Schuon’s outline of ‘Sophia Perennis’, an interview with Schuon regarding the basis of religion and metaphysics, and various selected texts by Schuon on the spiritual life. These passages emphasize the ‘message’ of Schuon’s inspired legacy rather than focusing on the kinds of mundane fact that any simply conventional biography would emphasize.

“Third is the exploration of three ‘leitmotifs of Schuon’s life: a view of his daily life; his special interest in the American Indians; and his artistic genius’. The first of these—which quotes in part from Catherine Schuon’s short memoir published in this journal [i.e. Sacred Web], and from several other sources—provides the reader with a more intimate and personal view of the quality of holy childlikeness of this spiritually sensitive man. The second emphasizes the influence of native spirituality on Schuon, a bond which he likened to ‘a marriage with virgin nature.’ And the third links Schuon’s natural artistic talents with his extraordinary aesthetic intuition. In the words of Titus Burckhardt, ‘He sees the archetypes inherent in all things and immediately understands the essence of the form and the entire culture from which it came’.

“Fourth is the loving care that has been lavished on the book’s production. The quality of the book’s materials and its presentation—for example, the selection and vividness of the artwork and the photographs; the design and highlighting of Schuon’s own words in the text—make this book a joy to handle, and are a fitting complement to the superlative aesthetic sensibilities that Schuon himself espoused.”
—from a review by M. Ali Lakhani in Sacred Web



“What differentiates Fitzgerald’s book from those of others who have written about Schuon is that he is attuned to Schuon’s artistic personality, and seems as well to have imbibed a deep knowledge of Schuon’s views on metaphysics. Consequently he is able to trace Schuon’s life over the years, through its trials and tribulations, and its joys, with great sensitivity. As he mentions, Schuon was not concerned with drawing people to him—they mainly came as a consequence of his writings or by introduction from others. Neither did Schuon attempt to elicit awe of his personality. Like Rūmī, it would appear that he attracted people from many religious persuasions; and he seems to have echoed Rūmī’s sentiment that those seeking Truth should ‘look not at my face, but take what is in my hand’.

“For those who never met Schuon, but who have gained great benefit from reading his books—many of which are rich in esoterism—it will no doubt be pleasing to read Fitzgerald’s account of the more “personal” Frithjof Schuon, and to have glimpses of his character and his concerns about the modern world. His book is a gentle and welcome addition to those already written about this messenger of the perennial philosophy, who sought to bring a more universal spiritual understanding to those ‘with ears to hear’ in a world that has lost its way”.
—from a review by Angela Malyon-Bein in Temenos Review



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