The Spiral Staircase: My Climb Out of Darkness

The Spiral Staircase: My Climb Out of Darkness

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In 1962, at age seventeen, Karen Armstrong entered a convent, eager to meet God. After seven brutally unhappy years as a nun, she left her order to pursue English literature at Oxford. But convent life had profoundly altered her, and coping with the outside world and her expiring faith proved to be excruciating. Her deep solitude and a terrifying illness–diagnosed only years later as epilepsy–marked her forever as an outsider. In her own mind she was a complete failure: as a nun, as an academic, and as a normal woman capable of intimacy. Her future seemed very much in question until she stumbled into comparative theology. What she found, in learning, thinking, and writing about other religions, was the ecstasy and transcendence she had never felt as a nun. Gripping, revelatory, and inspirational, The Spiral Staircase is an extraordinary account of an astonishing spiritual journey.

Title:The Spiral Staircase: My Climb Out of Darkness
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780385721271
Format Type:

    The Spiral Staircase: My Climb Out of Darkness Reviews

  • BlackOxford

    Amends for a Guilty GenerationI share a generation with Karen Armstrong. We are baby-boomers. As such we also share a responsibility for the world as it currently exists. It is we who fought and subse...

  • Will Byrnes

    Karen Armstrong - image from TED A nun’s tale. Armstrong tells of her experience from her seven years as a teenager and then young nun in the convent through a loss of faith, severe physical and men...

  • William2

    Karen Armstrong is a bestselling author in the field of religious history. Some of her more popular books include A History of God, The Battle for God, and The Case for God. This is her memoir about l...

  • Lobstergirl

    I feel a little conflicted about Spiral Staircase. For one thing, it's Armstrong's third autobiography. She's a writer whose career started not with the religious histories for which she's now known, ...

  • Jay Green

    On a blind date many many years ago in Manchester, my companion said to me at one point late in the evening, "You're very cerebral, aren't you?" She didn't mean it as an insult, but she didn't mean it...

  • Jessaka

    I have heard of this book for years but never thought to read it until now, and I am glad that I did because it was interesting, to say the least.. This happens to be the sequel to her book, “Throug...

  • Doug Bradshaw

    This is a remarkably personal and insightful journey which takes us through the loss of hope and faith and then back to a higher realm of love and understanding. Here are my personal thoughts about th...

  • Claire

    Before I went to visit and spend two months in Bethlehem, Palestine, I wanted to read something about the history of the area, not a religious book, just something historical that went beyond the rece...

  • Jana

    "Theology is – or should be – a species of poetry, which read quickly or encountered in a hubbub of noise makes no sense." Karen Armstrong I read The Spiral Staircase a few weeks back between road...

  • Aldean

    The first book I read that helped me realize that I was not alone in my experience of post-seminary difficulty. Armstrong's account of leaving the convent was so powerfully analogous to my own experie...