The Golden String
New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1955. First American edition. Octavo, original brown cloth, original dust jacket. Creasing and chipping with loss to upper edges of bright, unclipped jacket. Very good indeed. Item #1396
"I SUDDENLY SAW THAT ALL THE TIME IT WAS NOT I WHO HAD BEEN SEEKING GOD, BUT GOD WHO HAD BEEN SEEKING ME"
First American edition of Dom Bede Griffiths' autobiography of his spiritual awakening and conversion to Catholicism. Complete in the preferred pictorial dust jacket. Scarce.
Born Alan Richard Griffiths in 1906, Griffiths studied under C.S. Lewis at Oxford and was the dedicatee of Lewis's Surprised by Joy ("To Dom Bede Griffiths, O.S.B."), published in the same year as the Golden Sring. "By a strange coincidence...both Lewis and Griffiths converted to Christianity and received their respective first communions within a day of each other at Christmas 1931, Griffiths as a Catholic on Christmas Eve and Lewis as an Anglican on Christmas Day" (Joseph Pearce). Griffiths entered the Benedictine Prinknash Abbey the following year and was ordained in 1936.
The title is taken from William Blake: "I give you the end of a golden string / Only wind it into a ball / It will lead you in at heaven's gate / Built in Jerusalem's wall." The book consists of a prologue and ten chapters: I. Christ's Hospital, II. Oxford, III. Philosophy, IV. An Experiment in Common Life, V. The Beginning of Faith. VI. Conflict, VII. Alone with the Alone, VIII. The Monastic Community. and an Epilogue. Published a year after the first British edition, this American edition features an illustrated dust jacket with a beautiful portrait of Griffiths in the white habit of the Prinknash Benedictines, accompanied by a quote from John of the Cross: "I will lead thee by a way thou knowest not to the secret chamber of love." Dom Bede departed for India in 1955 where he devoted the rest of his life to exploring the spiritual traditions of the East and attempting to reconcile them with Christianity. Approbations. Menendez, The Road to Rome, 62. Pearce. Literary Converts: Spiritual Inspiration in an Age of Unbelief.