New York: A Crossroad Book / The Seabury Press, . Octavo, original marbled boards, brown leatherette spine titled in silver, original decorated cardboard slipcase. Early owner signature to fine book, gentle edge-wear, modest peeling to upper corner of slipcase. A nearly-fine copy. Item #1029
"THE JESUS PRAYER" Handsome later printing of The Way of a Pilgrim—along with its companion, The Pilgrim continues His Way—a landmark of Russian spiritual literature in the original slipcase. The Way of the Pilgrim is the first-hand account of an anonymous Pilgrim traveling across nineteenth-century Russia in a quest to learn to "pray without ceasing." Finally, the Pilgrim "encountered a holy monk who introduced him to the ancient Byzantine tradition of 'heysychia' (stillness or rest in God) and to the Jesus Prayer that lies at the heart of this spirituality" (Robert Ellsberg). The narrative was translated by R.M. French, an Anglican clergyman who had encountered The Way while living in northern Russia in the 1920s. French located a copy of the rare first printed edition (Kazan, 1884), from a manuscript found by the Abbot of St. Michael's Monastery in the possession of a monk at Mount Athos, and first published his translation in 1930. With the brief preface, "To the Reader" by Walterus Truron comparing these "vivid pictures of Russian life" with the "matchless folk tales of Leo Tolstoi...they do not suffer a comparison." With French's short original Introduction and his brief Note to Second Edition (dated, "Hampstead, 1952"). This Seabury edition was based on the 1952 second edition, which first included the separately-published sequel, presenting the two together as a continuous narrative with consecutive pagination, and two maps of Russia. The Seabury edition was published shortly after The Way of a Pilgrim figured prominently in J.D. Salinger's best-selling Franny and Zooey, introducing Franny Glass's obsession with "The Jesus Prayer" to a wide interfaith audience during the 1960s. Photographic postcard of Leo Tolstoy laid-in at rear. Ellsberg. All Saints: Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time.