Wright (history of music, Yale Univ.; Listening to Music) traces the fascinating history of the maze and its associated symbol, the warrior, from the classical myth of Daedelus and Theseus through early Christianity, the Middle Ages, and the Enlightenment. He briefly acknowledges the recent growth in interest in the maze as a spiritual tool but dedicates the bulk of the book to the changing face of European Christianity as reflected in the use of the labyrinth, both as a symbol and as an actual part of Easter rituals in the great French and Italian cathedrals. He displays mastery of a broad array of facts in disparate fields and ties them together in an accessible and engaging story. The one area of the book that may require some specialized background from the reader is his treatment of the maze in music, but any educated reader wanting a deep background in the history and symbolism of the labyrinth will be well served by this book. Recommended for academic libraries and larger public libraries. Stephen Joseph, Butler Cty. Community Coll., PA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Wright supplies deep grounding for today's renewed interest in mazes. His cumulative description of the playful/serious historical mind fascinated by mazes, whether in poetry, gardens, churches, or music, contains some delightful surprises. (Margaret Miles, Graduate Theological Union)
This is an excellent book, by one of our leading musicologists. The Maze and the Warrior
is a grand work, full of erudition, speculation, wisdom. It is a remarkable fusion of mystical and mythic interests with traditional humanistic disciplines. (Thomas Kelly, Harvard University)
A book of immense erudition. At virtually every turn the reader finds information of considerable interest not only for music historians but also for art historians, liturgists, church historians, and even the modern social historian. Wright makes the traversal of his maze a particularly enjoyable and illuminating experience. (Alejandro Enrique Planchart, University of California, Santa Barbara)
This book is a fascinating look at a subject that, while simple in concept, is intricate in the tapestry of ideas it combines. Wright weaves a fascinating tale of scholarly inquiry by examining the maze or labyrinth from the Middle Ages to the present in Western art, architecture, music, dance, and religious thought. The journey of the maze is from sin to salvation; the savior figure that leads us is the warrior and spiritual seeker...His particular emphasis on music is refreshing and enlivens readers' understanding of the whole sensory experience of the Christian church. Most important, this work is a joy to read and reflect on. (L. L. Lam-Easton Choice
Wright's maze is the labyrinth. His warrior is Theseus, Christ, the Cristian soldier, l'homme armé, the pilgrim, or the lover, who enters the labyrinth to meet a challenge at its center and continues through the unicursal path to a victorious exit. In direct and engaging prose, this book traces the two symbols from their first appearance in literature and architecture, through their interpretations in theology, to the ceremonies, games , and performances they inspired … It is a work of major consequence … Wright's book invites no less than a new appraisal of the history and historiography of Western music, one more cognizant of myth, belief, and symbol as generative forces in human creativity. (Barbara Haggh Journal of the American Musicological Society
)The Maze and the Warrior
is quite a book. The author wears his great learning with great lightness...He has fashioned this book for general readers rather than musicologists and musicians. (Joseph Kerman New York Review of Books
The book is a fascinating exploration of a neglected aspect of medieval religious culture which opens up multiple aspects of that culture through the author's virtuoso power to unfold layer after layer of meaning from what might originally seem an innocuous symbol. (Peter W. Williams Religious Studies Review