Top positive review
3 people found this helpful
on 4 March 2017
I agree with the publisher's blurb that this is the best translation from the original Latin - at least that I personally have come across.
Credit must be given not only to Ronald Knox, but also Michael Oakley. Knox was a long term devotee of The Imitation, so began to work on the translation with his engaging, passionate, poetic, very readable style, as befits the spiritual tone set by Thomas a-Kempis. However serious illness overtook, and it was his wish for classical scholar Michael Oakley to complete the translation for publication - by implication following seamlessly in the Knox style. According to the 1959 Foreward over half was rendered by Oakley, from chapter 5 of Book II onwards.
Books III and IV of The Imitation hold a particularly vibrant dynamic. A touching and disarming conversation between TAK the disciple and Christ ('The Learner' and 'The Beloved'). This type of spiritual writing has been termed interior locution - putting into words the feeling of what God is saying to the soul. It is there for instance in the 14th Century contemporary Julian of Norwich. It could also be termed 'the gift of prophecy' - cf. 1 Corinthians 12 etc. It can be found in many other Christian and spiritual publications, such as the 20th Century 'God Calling'.
For me the absolute purple patch of the whole work is Chapter 21 of Book III - outstanding. I have uploaded audio renditions of this to You Tube.
If you are looking for a good version of The Imitation, my advice is track down this benchmark Knox-Oakley. And bravo to Ignatius Press for republishing the formerly out of print Burns and Oates.