Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
by Franklin Freeman
Rejected by 121 publishers, Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance appeared in April 1974 to a chorus of praise that included such eminent critics as Erich Hoffer and George Steiner. “The analogies with Moby Dick are patent,” the latter wrote, breathlessly, in The New Yorker. “Robert Pirsig invites the prodigious comparison. . . . What more can one say?”
Nineteen seventy-four was the year President Nixon resigned, the energy crisis sent fuel prices soaring, and the Dow Jones declined to a low of 663. Enter Pirsig’s book, a meditation on life’s meaning and a call to an inward reform of the soul through the union of Western technological advances and Eastern mystical thought, that is, motorcycles and zen.
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Franklin Freeman is a freelance writer living in Saco, Maine, with his wife and four children.
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