The Third and Only Way: Reflections on Staying Alive
In this autobiographical volume, the remarkable Helen Bevington looks for answers to the question of how to live or, more specifically, how to confront growing older. A familiar face on the literary landscape since the mid-1940s, Bevington contemplates the course of her own life in view of the suicide of her father, the final years her mother spent in unwilling solitude, and the tragic suicide of her son following a crippling automobile accident from which he could never recover. How is one to face the inevitability of death? What is the third alternative? How to persevere in life?
The unique Bevington way of autobiography recreates lessons and insights of other lives, historical figures, and compelling incidents, and combines them in a narrative that follows the emotional currents of her life. Evoking a wide range of historical and literary figures, including Chekhov, Marcus Aurelius, Flannery O’Connor, Simone de Beauvoir, Thoreau, Beatrix Potter, Sappho, Yeats, Alexander the Great, Montaigne, Saint Cecilia, Virginia Woolf, Liv Ullmann, and many others, Bevington finds in these lives a path that has guided her search away from solitude. Through her reflections on the ten years that followed her son’s death, we become aware of how far she has traveled, how the search has brightened, how she has eloquently evolved into old age. In the end she is sitting, like the Buddha, under her own fig tree, waiting not for death but for further illumination.
An original contemplation of the universal dilemmas and tragedies of existence,The Third and Only Wayis at once warm, funny, and inspiring—full of learning and wisdom.
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The third and only way: reflections on staying aliveUser Review - Book Verdict
In this autobiographical volume, Bevington (The World and the Bo Tree, Duke Univ., 1991) seeks a third way to deal with old age and death in place of the solitude her mother accepted and the despair her father failed to survive. Bevington lets her erudite mind range over a variety of topics, such as unusual women, famous writers, travel, the aging process, and death. In each chapter on a given topic, she discusses a parade of literary and historical figures and quotes liberally from them, such as Chekhov, Simone de Beauvoir, Colette, Marcus Aurelius, and Alexander the Great. This format is alternately tedious and fascinating. Ultimately, however, we learn more about Bevington's reading matter than about her. Her work is an entertaining but not profound meditation on life and the acceptance of death. Recommended for public libraries.--Caroline A. Mitchell, Washington, D.C.
Review: The Third and Only Way: Reflections on Staying AliveUser Review - University of Chicago Magazine - Goodreads
Helen Bevington, PhB'26 Author From the publisher: "In this autobiographical volume, the remarkable Helen Bevington looks for answers to the question of how to live or, more specifically, how to ... Read full review
PARTI The Third Way i
The Way with Words
Ways of Travel
The Laughter Must Be Kept
And Things Are As I Think They Are
The Third and Only Way
I n this collection of autobiographical essays, Helen Bevington confronts the challenge of accepting aging and the loss of loved ones without succumbing to ...
www.nytimes.com/ books/ 97/ 01/ 05/ bib/ 970105.rv234704.html
Duke University Alumni Magazine
The Third and Only Way: Reflections On Staying Alive. By Helen Bevington. Durham: Duke University Press, 1996. 209 pp. $21.95. oward the end of her lyrical, ...
www.dukemagazine.duke.edu/ alumni/ dm8/ books.html
Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities
retired from teaching, begins The Third and Only Way: Reflections on Staying Alive. on a desperate note of anguish. It is 1980, her son has just committed ...
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