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‘Zen And The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’ Author Robert M. Pirsig Dies At 88

Author Robert Pirsig and his son Chris in 1968. Pirsig, who wrote Zen and a Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, died Monday during age 88.

William Morrow/HarperCollins


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Author Robert Pirsig and his son Chris in 1968. Pirsig, who wrote Zen and a Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, died Monday during age 88.

William Morrow/HarperCollins

Robert M. Pirsig, who desirous generations to highway outing opposite America with his “novelistic autobigraphy,” Zen and a Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, died Monday during a age of 88.

His publisher William Morrow Company pronounced in a matter that Pirsig died during his home in South Berwick, Maine, “after a duration of unwell health.”

Pirsig wrote only dual books: Zen (subtitled “An Inquiry Into Values”) and Lila: An Inquiry into Morals.

Author Robert Pirsig works on a motorcycle in 1975.

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Author Robert Pirsig works on a motorcycle in 1975.

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Zen was published in 1974, after being deserted by 121 edition houses. “The book is shining over belief,” wrote Morrow editor James Landis before publication. “It is substantially a work of talent and will, I’ll wager, achieve classical status.”

Indeed, a book fast became a best-seller, and has valid fast as a work of renouned philosophy. A 1968 motorcycle outing opposite a West with his son Christopher was his inspiration.

Christopher Lehmann-Haupt reviewed Zen for The New York Times in 1974. “[H]owever considerable are a charming powers with that Mr. Pirsig engages us in his motorcycle trip, they are zero compared to a ability with that he interests us in his pensive trip,” he wrote. “Mr. Pirsig might infrequently seem to be a greener‐America proselytizer, with his brave and his motorcycle tripping and his speak about training to adore technology. But when he comes to grips with a tough philosophical conundrums lifted by a 1960’s, he can be electrifying.”

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Pirsig was innate in Minneapolis, a son of a University of Minnesota law professor. He graduated from high propagandize during 15 and enlisted in a Army after World War II. While stationed in South Korea, he encountered a Asian philosophies that would underpin his work. He went on to investigate Hindu truth in India and for a time was enrolled in a truth Ph.D. module during a University of Chicago. He was hospitalized for mental illness and returned to Minneapolis, where he worked as a technical author and began essay his initial book.

Zen and a Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was one of only dual books that Pirsig wrote. It has endured as a work of renouned philosophy.

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Zen and a Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was one of only dual books that Pirsig wrote. It has endured as a work of renouned philosophy.

Alan Levine/Flickr

Pirsig also helped found a Minnesota Zen Meditation Center, afterwards lived reclusively and worked on Lila for 17 years before a announcement in 1991. “A learned mechanic, he achieved repairs in his home workshop,” writes a publisher. “He taught himself navigation in a days before GPS, and twice crossed a Atlantic in his tiny sailboat, Aretê.

The protagonist of Zen attempts to solve a conflicts between “classic” values that emanate machine like a motorcycle, and “romantic” values like a beauty of a nation road. He discovers all values find their base in what Pirsig called Quality:

“Quality . . . we know what it is, nonetheless we don’t know what it is. But that’s self-contradictory. But some things are improved than others, that is, they have some-more quality. But when we try to contend what a peculiarity is, detached from a things that have it, it all goes poof! There’s zero to speak about. But if we can’t contend what Quality is, how do we know what it is, or how do we know that it even exists? If no one knows what it is, afterwards for all unsentimental functions it doesn’t exist during all. But for all unsentimental functions it unequivocally does exist.”