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My Journey to Lhasa

The Classic Story of the Only Western Woman Who Succeeded in Entering the Forbidden City
David Néel Alexandra

Editeur - Casa editrice

Harper Perennial

  Asia
Cina
Tibet

Anno - Date de Parution

2005

Pagine - Pages

376

Lingua - language - langue

eng

Edizione - Collana

Paperback

acquista in Italia tramite IBS
My Journey to Lhasa: The Classic Story of the Only Western Woman Who Succeeded in Entering the Forbidden City

My Journey to Lhasa  

In any time, Alexandra David-Neel would have been considered an extraordinary woman, but in the Victorian era, she was truly exceptional. Born in 1868, David-Neel eschewed the dances, dinners, and formal marriages common to women of her era and social standing in order to indulge her fierce independence and insatiable intellectual curiosity. Her interest in comparative religions dated back to early childhood; even as a student in a Catholic convent school, she kept statues of both Christ and the Buddha in her room. She made her first trip to Asia in 1891, then supported herself as a light-opera singer and journalist before marrying a seemingly conventional man, Philip Neel. Fortunately for both Alexandra David-Neel and for posterity, Philip was less stodgy than his position as a well-off engineer might imply; though he did not accompany her, he supported his wife's explorations and even acted as her literary agent when she began to write about the places she visited. Alexandra and Philip remained the closest of friends until his death in 1941.
David-Neel spent years traveling in India and China, but perhaps her most daring adventure was the trip to Tibet's forbidden city of Lhasa. She was 55 years old at the time, fluent in Tibetan and well versed in both Sanskrit and Buddhism. Disguised as a man, she spent four treacherous months on the road before finally becoming the first European woman ever to enter Lhasa. My Journey to Lhasa is David-Neel's own account of her astounding journey, one fraught with hardship and danger. It is both a chronicle of a bygone time and a testimonial to a remarkable human.

 

Consulta anche: Per le edizioni italiana e francese vedi scheda relativa


Biografia

Louise Eugenie Alexandrine David (1868-1969) nasce a Saint-Mandé, vicino Parigi, da genitori anziani. Si applica allo studio del sanscrito e si interessa di buddismo fin da molto giovane, e un’eredità le permette di partire alla scoperta dei paesi che l’attirano: Ceylon, poi l’India. Tornata in Europa, decide di sfruttare la propria bella voce e si dedica al canto: il primo ingaggio importante lo ottiene dall’Opera di Hanoi nel 1895. Sposa Philippe Néel nel 1904 ma questo non la ferma, anzi: tra congressi e viaggi Alexandra non conosce riposo. Nel 1911 l’uscita di Buddismo di Budda coincide con la sua partenza per l’Asia. Philippe non rivedrà la moglie che nel 1926. Lei intanto si recherà in Nepal, Cina, Corea, Giappone, fino a entrare nel 1925, prima donna europea, a Lhasa, la città proibita agli stranieri. L’impresa è riportata dalla stampa di tutto il mondo, e Alexandra torna in Europa a raccogliere i frutti delle sue lunghe peregrinazioni. Da quel momento pubblica i suoi libri più famosi: Viaggio di una parigina a Lhasa, Mistici e maghi del Tibet, Nel paese dei briganti gentiluomini. Ci saranno altri viaggi e altri libri, come Magia d’amore e magia nera o Sotto nuvole di tempesta, nella vita di questa donna straordinaria, che morirà ultracentenaria e le cui ceneri verranno disperse nel Gange.

Alexandra David-Neel was born in 1868 in Paris. In her youth she wrote an incendiary anarchist treatise and was an acclaimed opera singer; then she decided to devote her life to exploration and the study of world religions, including Buddhist philosophy. She traveled extensively to in Central Asia and the Far East, where she learned a number of Asian languages, including Tibetan. In 1914, she met Lama Yongden, who became her adopted son, teacher, and companion. In 1923, at the age of fifty-five, she disguised herself as a pilgrim and journeyed to Tibet, where she was the first European woman to enter Lhasa, which was closed to foreigners at the time. In her late seventies, she settled in the south of France, where she lived until her death at 101 in 1969.

Consulta anche: Per le edizioni italiana e francese vedi scheda relativa
Consulta anche: Sito ufficiale della Fondazione Alexandra David Neel