The Dharma bum's guide to Western literature Finding nirvana in the classics

Dean Sluyter

Book - 2022

"A meditation instructor and former English teacher shows how the great classics of Western literature illustrate the essential concepts of Eastern philosophy. The discussion includes works by authors such as John Keats, William Shakespeare, Virginia Woolf, Frederick Douglass, and many others"--

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810.9/Sluyter
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Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor New Shelf 810.9/Sluyter (NEW SHELF) Due Aug 30, 2022
Subjects
Genres
Literary criticism
Published
Novato, California : New World Library [2022]
Language
English
Physical Description
303 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (page 278) and index.
ISBN
9781608687695
1608687694
Main Author
Dean Sluyter (author)
  • William Blake: Eternity's Sunrise
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby: Unutterable Visions
  • Frederick Douglass: The Slave Narrative: Tribulation
  • Thoreau, Emerson & Friends: Future Buddhas of America
  • Dr. Seuss: The Cat In The Hat: Have No Fear
  • Virginia Woolf: To The Lighthouse: Plenty for Everybody
  • Ernest Hemingway: A Farewell To Arms: Pebbles and Boulders
  • Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Kubla Khan: The Milk of Paradise
  • John Donne: A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning: Let Us Melt
  • Mark Twain: Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn: Betwixt Two Things
  • John Keats: Still
  • Edwin Abbott Abbott: Flatland: Upward, Not Northward
  • William Shakespeare: Macbeth: What's Your Hurry
  • Samuel Beckett: Waiting For Godot: Thanks for Nothing
  • Rodgers & Hammerstein: Oklahoma!: OK
  • Gerard Manley Hopkins: Flame Out
  • Toni Morrison: The Bluest Eye: Love Nonetheless
  • Herman Melville: Moby Dick: Whiteness
  • Emily Dickinson: I'm Nobody
  • Walt Whitman: I Am Large
  • J.D. Salinger: Ah, Buddy
  • Key, Rogers & Franklin: Three Anthems: Look Again.
Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Sluyter (Cinema Nirvana), a retired prep school English teacher, posits in this lighthearted survey that there are enlightenment lessons to be found in Western classics, whether in works by Dr. Seuss or Aretha Franklin. In "Unutterable Visions," he suggests the fiction of F. Scott Fitzgerald (namely, The Great Gatsby) holds the lesson to "be your own light," while, in "Love Nonetheless," he praises the "boundless compassion" that can be found in Toni Morrison's writing, specifically The Bluest Eye. "Eternity's Sunrise," meanwhile, sees him analyze the oeuvre of William Blake, who found the divine in "every ordinary object," and Sluyter makes a strong case in "Look Again" that Mr. Rogers saw life as "inherently beautiful." While not all the essays are equally convincing—his pieces on kindness in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and the internal satipatthana in the works of Virginia Woolf feel less fleshed out and require a bit more buy-in from readers—Sluyter's angle is nonetheless an original one, and the execution is pleasantly breezy. Those with an appreciation of literature and spirituality will appreciate Sluyter's fresh takes. Agent: Lisa Hagan, Lisa Hagan Literary. (Mar.) Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"A meditation instructor and former English teacher shows how the great classics of Western literature illustrate the essential concepts of Eastern philosophy. The discussion includes works by authors such as John Keats, William Shakespeare, Virginia Woolf, Frederick Douglass, and many others"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Author Dean Sluyter, a meditation teacher, spent 33 years teaching English and the literature of enlightenment at the Pingry School in New Jersey. In this book designed to engage students and general readers, he interprets classics of literature through the lens of Buddhism. Writing in a conversational style with a sense of humor, he uncovers passages that mirror major concepts of Buddhism, in works by writers from Frederick Douglass and William Blake to J. D. Salinger and Toni Morrison, and even Dr. Seuss. The author also considers the work of children’s TV personality Fred Rogers and soul singer Aretha Franklin. B&w photos and illustrations are included. Annotation ©2022 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (protoview.com)

Review by Publisher Summary 3

HOW THE LITERATURE WE LOVE CONVEYS THE AWAKENING WE SEEK Suppose we could read Hemingway as haiku . . . learn mindfulness from Virginia Woolf and liberation from Frederick Douglass . . . see Dickinson and Whitman as buddhas of poetry, and Huck Finn and Gatsby as seekers of the infinite . . . discover enlightenment teachings in Macbeth, The Catcher in the Rye, Moby-Dick, and The Bluest Eye. Some of us were lucky enough to have one passionate, funny, inspiring English teacher who helped us fall in love with books. Add a lifetime of teaching Dharma — authentic, traditional approaches to meditation and awakening — and you get award-winning author Dean Sluyter. With droll humor and irreverent wisdom, he unpacks the Dharma of more than twenty major writers, from William Blake to Dr. Seuss, inspiring readers to deepen their own spiritual life and see literature in a fresh, new way: as a path of awakening.