The Collected Letters of Alan Watts

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The letter is often touted as the most personal form of writing, and therefore the collection of letters is hailed as an intimate portrait of the writer, stripped of any literary pretense or affect, and showcasing the author stark naked, as it were. And, for sure, this is true. However, we must also take into account that the letter, as a form, affords the author an unchallenged platform to create an idealized version of the self. Sure, letters demand replies, but unlike a face-to-face conversation, one is granted an interjection-free soapbox from which to detail one’s goings on or, in the case of Alan Watts, explain one’s burgeoning sense of philosophical enlightenment.

We, like editors-cum-daughters Joan and Anne Watts, are able to trace the progression of Alan Watts’s thinking through this new collection of the philosopher and theologian’s correspondence. We learn how he came to combine Eastern philosophy and Christian faith to “make ‘it’ all more understandable,” as the editors tell us. “‘It’ being the human existence in relation to God, earth, and the universe.”

A bit heavy on letters to Mummy & Daddy, but a must-read for fans of Watts nonetheless.

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Star Count 3/5
Format Hard
Page Count 616 pages
Publisher New World Library
Publish Date 2017-Dec-01
ISBN 9781608684151 Buy this Book
Issue February 2018
Category Reference


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