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Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres

3.2 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1611041477
ISBN-10: 1611041473
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

""Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres" is undoubtedly Adams's greatest work; though not apparently related to his earlier writings, this inspired work of poetry is the crowning achievement of his severe and somber historical oeuvre."--Maurice le Breton

"Emerson discussed man's need to discover a system of unity for his age; Henry Adams did the same for an age when the conflict was infinitely more acute and the solution less apparently obvious."--Robert Spiller

"One has the feeling that during the process of writing, the book grew way beyond its original plan and intention to be the informal travel talk of an art tourist, or an art-uncle for nieces with Kodaks. At a certain point it almost ceases to deal with esthetic experiences and becomes a confession of a seeker after unity, of a pilgrim who hopes to find in the Middle Ages an emotional repose-peace-Nirvana."--Ernst Scheyer, "The Circle of Henry Adams" --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Henry Adams (1838-1918) was a famous journalist, novel writer, and historian. He is still remembered for his autobiography, The Education of Henry Adams (1918). It was first printed as a private edition for a few friends in 1907. After Adam's death the rest of the public got a chance to read the book. Many people said that it was the best book of the twentieth century, and Henry Adams was awarded the Pulitzer Prize posthumously in 1919. Adams industrious career was slowed down in 1912 when he had a stroke. Some scholars believe his stroke was caused by the news of the sinking of the Titanic, for which Adams had bought return tickets. He still continued to travel, lecture, and write letters, but at a slower pace. Adams died at his Washington, D.C. home in 1918.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 330 pages
  • Publisher: ReadaClassic.com (September 17, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1611041473
  • ISBN-13: 978-1611041477
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,318,161 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres should be considered and read alongside The Education of Henry Adams. In Chartres, he described the medieval world view as reflected in its cathedrals, which he believed expressed "an emotion, the deepest man ever felt--the struggle of his own littleness to grasp the infinite." Adams was drawn to the ideological unity expressed in Roman Catholicism and symbolized by the Virgin Mary; he contrasted this coherence with the uncertainties of the 20th century. An intellectual journey of an American's view of France.
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This review is ONLY for the edition noted above. Most editions of this book are facsimiles of earlier editions. You can download the book from google for free. Exact same text and layout. I ordered this item (the ASIN 1604241438 version) twice at $4.96 (I see now its about $15) and both times the cover arrived rather bent. The reprint is worth 5 dollars, because it is just a bound version of the PDF you could download from google.
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This book was printed in response to my order,i.e., on demand, and the type chosen was so small I did not even attempt to read it. There were no illustrations.
I subsequently bought a used copy of the paperback edition which included a brilliant preface, the illustrations, and an exponentially easier format.
I threw away the copy purchased from Amazon.
Probably my only truly disappointing encounter with Amazon.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have always loved the tone and personality of Adams' autobiography, The Education of Henry Adams. But I'd never read Mont Saint Michele and Chartres. Got the book for my Kindle as travel reading. Having been to both places made the book very easy to get into. Adams brings his wonderful mind, wit, learning, and insight to bear on these two sacred spots as expressions of the Romanesque and Gothic sensibilities, the male and female, justice and mercy. he thinks in terms of the dualisms inherent in Christianity and the psychological archetypes prevalent in his time. In the course of the book he takes the reader from the earlier Norman-era shrine to the flat fields southwest of Paris where Chartres cathedral dominates the skyline. Along the way he engages every major medieval personality, from Abelard to Aquinas. Adams evokes a vision of the tensions, ideals, and travails of the Middle Ages. And he presents the only cogent rationale I have ever read for the veneration / worship of the Virgin. Read this book. It will stimulate your intellect and please your imagination.
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I have never seen such a lousy printing. Indeed, we received our copy on 31 January 2012--and saw that it had been printed on 27 January 2012. It is impossible to read. The print size is worthy of an opthamologist's chart to determine just how small a size print it is possible for the human eye to read. I do not know how Amazon can even think of selling such a copy of what is a great book. I purchased the book as a gift--I am ashamed to present it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
To fully appreciate Adams's book the reader is required to know the general parameters of the author's life. While Adams's autobiography, "The Education of Henry Adams" , was written after this volume it is nevertheless necessary to read it first and to also acquaint oneself with the details of Adams's marriage to Clover Hooper which is not mentioned at all in the book. Mont Saint Michel and Chartres is personalized history. If you want a more objective history look elsewhere. Some people are put off by its subjectivity. But in my view that subjectivity is exactly what makes the book so great. It's about tremulous, perilous striving of an age, of religion, of faith, and finally of one's personal life. It's about the stress between unity and multiplicity. The book is profound in its exploration of these themes. It's learned, it's funny, it's ironic, and, in the end, profoundly moving. Reading these two books will provide any reader wiling to put in the effort with some of the wisest and most trenchant observations in all literature all put forth in some of the most elegant prose ever written.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had to read this in small chunks. In part this was due to the authors rather dry tone and the sometimes +100 word paragraphs.

But I found the information and history of both Mont-St Michel and Chartres fascinating, well researched, and sometimes just mind-blowing.
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we read this book a million years ago and loved it. last summer, a stage of the Tour de France ended at Mont st Michel. the fabulous photos -- especially the ones from on high [the videos of the countryside through which the bikers travel are reason in themselves to watch the Tour. and we do, for 3 weeks every year. we also like bike racing, substance-free! ]-- inspired us all to read it again.
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