Tuesday, August 5, 2008

How "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" got its name .

note: this is not a shop manual.

By Gary Dexter via: The telegraph

"What is the connection between Ray Bradbury and Robert Pirsig? We tend to think of Pirsig's novel Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (1974) as having a title of unique quirky brilliance. But it drew for inspiration on a whole corpus of earlier books, many of which had been extremely well-known and successful.

Robert Maynard Pirsig

They included Zen in the Art of Archery (Eng trans. 1953) by Eugen Herrigel, a German philosophy professor who popularized Zen in the West; Zen in the Art of Flower Arrangement (Eng trans. 1958) by Gustie Herrigel; Zen in the Art of Photography (1969) by Robert Leverant; and several others.

These are all 'Zen in' rather than 'Zen and' titles: but Pirsig was not first in this either, since Ray Bradbury had written an influential and frequently-anthologised essay on the craft of fiction, 'Zen and the Art of Writing', as long before as 1958."

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