The Cloud of Unknowing and Other Works (Penguin Classics) and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy Used
$3.95
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all it is still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Cloud of Unknowing and Other Works (Penguin Classics) Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 1995


See all 4 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Mass Market Paperback
"Please retry"
$24.50 $0.01
Take%20an%20Extra%2030%25%20Off%20Any%20Book

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Take an Extra 30% Off Any Book: Use promo code HOLIDAY30 at checkout to get an extra 30% off any book for a limited time. Excludes Kindle eBooks and Audible Audiobooks. Restrictions apply. Learn more.


NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Year
Best Books of 2014
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.

Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Mass Market Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (January 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140443851
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140443851
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,368,841 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)

About the Author

The identity of the author of The Cloud of Unknowing is not known, but he was undoubtedly an English priest who lived during the latter half of the 14th century. A. C. Spearing is Professor of English at the University of Virginia. He has published widely on medieval literature and has translated Julian of Norwich's Revelations of Divine Love for Penguin Classics. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
5 star
9
4 star
3
3 star
3
2 star
0
1 star
0
See all 15 customer reviews
A wonderful guide and disucssion of the practice of contemplation.
grey1066
So far as contemplation goes, this little work is a beautiful clear gem, to be treasured as well as admired across the ages.
Greg
You will know exactly what he is talking about and you will benefit from his advice.
Lucia

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Greg on October 13, 2006
Format: Paperback
The Cloud of Unknowing, along with the other works by this humble contemplative, is certainly one of my favourite works in contemplative Christian mysticism, and in itself is also a lovely work of medieval English literature.

The writer of the 'Cloud' also wrote several other works, including a translation of Dionysius the Aeropagite's 'Mystical Theology' and other works written for a monk starting his novitiate at the writer's monastary. The writer was probably a Carthusian monk, and also the spiritual director (or perhaps even the abbot) of a Cathusian monastary in medieval England.

The writer had a standard though thorough education and he was influenced by St Thomas Aquinas, Richard of St Victor, and also by Dionysius the Aeropagite. The writer is an enthusiastic advocate of what is now called the 'via negativa' or the form of theology or mystical contemplation which emphasis the unknowability and 'darkness' of God.

The writer counsels his 'spiritual friend in God' to discard any images he has of God, as well as consoling visions and feelings. The writer urges his student to put a 'cloud of forgetting' between himself and God, and between all creatures and God. When asked 'What is God' the writer replies 'I don't know' but carefully emphasis while God's essence cannot possibly be known by the human mind, God can be understood and grasped by a 'sharp dart of love' aimed at God.

The rest of the writer's works unfold outlining and expanding on these themes, in a brilliantly lucid fashion which avoids any ornaments of rhetoric, condescending spiritual pride, and unneccessary displays of cleverness and erudition.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Carl Hall on June 27, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a student of the "Cloud" for many years I appreciate having this text in my library, especially since it includes the "The Mystical Theology of St. Denis," "The Book of Privy Counselling," and "An Epistle on Prayer." However, the type face is so small that my 65 year old eyes tire easily when attempting to read it. If you're subject to eye strain, I'd recommend William Johnston's edition of "Cloud" and "Privy" or the "Cloud" from the "Classics of Western Spirituality" put out by Paulist Press along with its companion volume, "The Pursuit of Wisdom," containing other works by the "Cloud's" author. In any case, no student of contemplative prayer/meditation should be anything but thoroughly familiar with the treasure these texts contain.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
43 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Hakuyu on May 9, 2005
Format: Paperback
This classic guide to Christian contemplative prayer (effectively, what we call 'meditation' these days, rather - than 'asking' for something), is as meaningful now, as the day it was written. Still, it won't mean a thing if you aren't drawn to the contemplative life - but, as the appropriately 'anonymous' author points out, with almost Zen-like acuteness, if you are truly given to the spiritual art and discipline hinted at in his directions - you will find that it supervenes wherever you may happen to be ("for when you are nowhere physically, you are everywhere spiritually. . ." ). Quite fairly then, this approach has been called 'Christian Zen' - and so it is.

Spearing's translation of 'The Cloud of Unknowing' has replaced the previous Penguin edition presented by Clifton Walters. I would still recommend Walters' version, if you can find a copy. It gave a good introduction to the 'Cloud' and its background - useful to read alongside Spearing's introductory material. As we have remarked before, Christian 'prayer' is often taken to mean 'petitionary prayer' - asking for something (Eckhart said that "people want to use God, just as they would a cow" !). There is, of course, a perfectly noble and proper place for petitionary prayer, but in some ways, it does heighten our sense of separation from God - at the worst, leaving us as mere creatures, seeking creaturely rewards. The 'Way of Unknowing' - set forth in the 'Cloud,' represents a much neglected dimension of Christianity - the way of self-emptying. In a certain sense, it is more suited to an age tired of religious formalism and the mere externals of faith. Some of the 'Cloud-author's' comments - about Christians who literally 'look upwards' - as if God were in the sky etc., might be those of a contemporary critic.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
46 of 52 people found the following review helpful By grey1066 on April 2, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A wonderful guide and disucssion of the practice of contemplation. This book deals with the ancient problem of the "unknowableness" of God by attacking it head on: We can't know God, therefore we must meditate on the Cloud of Unknowing which lies between us and God.
Incidently, I think the reason many works on contemplation don't seem applicable to daily life is that many of them were written for and by monastics. In response to the other reviewer, as Ellis Peters says one shouldn't become a contemplative merely to escape from the world without...one must be on fire for the world within.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John D. Adams on February 6, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Are we and our institutions--individually and collectively--irredeemably mired in the flesh?

"Not!", says the wisely anonymous author of Penguin Classics' "The Cloud of Unknowing and [Three] Other Works", all dealing with the flesh-to-Spirit path to spiritual perfection.

The unknown author's recommendation that one pay particular attention to short words of one syllable (God, love, in, up, and so forth) is well taken, as is his insistence that one must read the entire text (to avoid misunderstandings) and indeed repeatedly re-read, in order to arrive at a proper understanding of all that the author would so dearly love to convey.

I was greatly helped by including translator A. C. Spearing's Introduction in the cycle of readings.

Your friend in Christ Jesus, John Douglas Adams.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?