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Ilija Trojanow

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Julian Preece

Ilija Trojanow, born in Bulgaria in 1965 and brought up in East Africa, established his name as an international writer with the novel Der Weltensammler or The Collector of Worlds (2006), about the cross-cultural Victorian adventurer Sir Richard Francis Burton. Since the mid-1990s Trojanow has been prolific in a number of genres, including travel, ethnography and science fiction. He has also become a major public intellectual in Austria and Germany with provocative interventions on topics such as Islam and the West, civil rights in the age of cybersurveillance and climate change. His imaginative writing sits at the centre of a number of defining contemporary concerns, in particular the relationship between identity, language and culture.
This volume contains an interview with Trojanow, a previously unpublished essay by him on Lessing’s Enlightenment parable of inter-religious tolerance, Nathan der Weise ( Nathan the Wise), and essays by European and North American scholars on central aspects of his growing œuvre. The contributors explore why Trojanow is one of today’s leading writers of German while challenging a number of myths that have grown up around him and his magnum opus, Der Weltensammler.

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BEN MORGAN Two Models of Spiritual Life and Narrative Sovereignty

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BEN MORGAN Two Models of Spiritual Life and Narrative Sovereignty: Trojanow and Religion Introduction In his sermon on the text ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit’, Meister Eckhart prays that God might free him from God, for the very idea of God marks a human being’s separation from divinity.1 For the Dominican master, the aim of spiritual life is to work away the habits, attachments and prior com- mitments that prevent us from doing God’s bidding wherever and however it may reach us: ‘every moment freely and new, as if [we] had nothing else and neither would nor could do otherwise’.2 Put in more secular terms, this could be said to mean disencumbering ourselves of routines and fixed ideas to be open to our predicament as it unfolds. This is an aspiration Eckhart shares not just with other Christian but also with Muslim mystics. One of the Sufi teachings recorded by al-Qushayri in eleventh-century Nishapur in North-Eastern Persia is that ‘The Sufi is the child of the moment [as-sufi ibnu waqtihi][…]. The poor [of heart, al-faqir] is not concerned with his past or with his future; he is concerned with the moment in which he is.’3 In both traditions, therefore, the emphasis is not on particular dogmas or rituals, nor indeed on the cultivation of mystical experiences as an end in 1 Eckhart, Meister Eckhart Werke, 2 vols, eds Niklaus Largier and Josef Quint (Frankfurt am Main: Deutscher Klassiker Verlag, 1993), i, p. 360. 2 Eckhart, German Sermons & Treatises, tr....

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