Most Helpful First | Newest First
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Erudition and deep spirituality,
This review is from: Learning to Dance (Paperback)This is one of my favourite books of all time, and lives by my bed to be dipped into frequently. as indeed do all of Michael Mayne's books. He combines such erudition and wide knowledge with a deep spirituality, and has a way of explaining the wonder of scientific facts in a cosmic and profoundly mystical dimension. His books have helped my faith enormously, and as a scientist, I find his sheer sense of wonder at the world enlarges my own vision and understanding of the synthesis of mysticism with measurable facts. It is really all mystery. He has a deep humanity, and a huge breadth of knowledge, of the arts, literature and of science as well as theology. What a pity that Amazon confuses people by persisting in putting Cicely Saunders as the author of this book - she wrote the preface, but the book is all Michael's!
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book of wonders and delight,
This review is from: Learning to Dance (Paperback)I have recently come across Michael Mayne, who was at one time Head of Religious Programmes for BBC Radio, and Dean of Westminster. By this book, he was clearly wise, erudite, deeply compassionate, thoughtful, creative, and intensely and fully human.
It's extremely hard to categorise this book. The Dance is many faceted - The Dance of The Cosmos, The Atomic Dance, The Dance of Living and of Dying. Mayne structures the book around the seasonal and pictorial idea of the Medieval Book of Hours, dividing chapters into months of the year, their activities, and an inner poetic, mystical meaning of those activities. Each chapter starts with a beautiful paean to the natural world, both Mayne's own observations of what is happening in nature in that month, and the interspersed writings of poets, philosophers and naturalists, all chosen for their transcendent view. He then explores a theme, and always, whether it is the ubiquity of Fibonacci numbers in the petals of plants, the creative urge which gives rise to Cezanne's paintings, Mozart's music or Shakespeare's final plays, he draws close to a relationship between the perception of what God means, particularly within the Christian faith, and who indeed we, humans, are. His thinking is subtle, profound, and holds paradox and the discomfort of no easy answers. Never platitudinous, deep and beautiful writing, with a graceful and light touch, this is a book to reflect on and return to.
What is the book about? - in Mayne's words, somewhere in November, in a chapter called The Dance Of Faith, and a little flavour of his writing:
"And perhaps we are most human, most what we are called to be, when we have one foot on the shore of that we know, and one foot in the mysterious, unknown ocean. This is where the poet and the painter stand, together with the best scientists and the wisest theologians: exploring, probing, digging deeper; and sometimes breaking through to a fresh realisation of truth. Art, science and theology meet and flower at the boundary of the known and the hidden"
He provides movements towards answers, not prescriptions, dogmas or implacable certainties. The book is a beautiful exploration for the reader, into true mystery, true wonder, and embraces pain as well as joy.
Edit - In one of Amazon's sometimes commonplace listing blips, the foreword writer, Dame Cicely Saunders, is here erroneously listed as the author on the product page.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars learning to dance,
This review is from: Learning to Dance (Paperback)I have now read all Michael Mayne's books. They were recommended to me after a bereavement and they have proved food for the soul.
'Learning to Dance' is perhaps my favourite. The format of the dance, an ancient form of worship in many religions, works very well as we go through the year. Each month has a different theme; from January's title'The Dance of the Bees' through to December ' Learning to Dance ii' . Each chapter starts with a seasonal observation of the countryside, followed by the month's activities as portrayed in Mediaeval Books of Hours. Within that framework almost every subject under the sun (& above!) is discussed; Art, Music ,Science ,Poetry... His breadth of knowledge & his spiritual insight is profound, as also ,importantly, is his sense of humour.
I am still 'Dancing in the Dark '(August), but feel sustained &comforted knowing this book is always at hand.
I recommend all his books- manna in the desert!
NB: This book is erroneously attributed by Amazon to Cecily Saunders as author; in fact she has written the introduction.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written, great spiritual content.,
This review is from: Learning to Dance (Paperback)A celebration of living. Inspiring for thinking about the now and beyond. Rich in helpful and meaningful quotes from other writers. Free of religious platitudes and pious sentiments. Suitable for all ages including those in their 8th. decade.!
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent stimulating reading,
This review is from: Learning to Dance (Paperback)Useful for all occasions for the faith seeker as well as the more certain. A useful resource of analogies of all sorts.
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful description of a faith pilgrimage,
This review is from: Learning to Dance (Paperback)Michael Maine (Saunders is only the preface) is at his best writing with a well fed mind and a heart attuned to immortality. There are an abundance of evocative quotations and some telling phrases from the writer himself. A book to keep and return to and also a very useful book for passing on to people of all faiths or questioning agnostics
Most Helpful First | Newest First
Learning to Dance by Michael Mayne (Paperback - 12 Nov 2001)