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Encyclopedia > Jonathan Livingston Seagull
Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Book cover for Jonathan Livingston Seagull
Author Richard Bach
Illustrator Russel Munson
Language English
Subject(s) life of Jonathan Livingston Seagull
Genre(s) Spiritual
Self-Help
Novella
Publisher Avon Books
Publication date 1970
Media type Print (Paperback)
Pages 127 pp (paperback edition)
ISBN ISBN 0-380-01286-3 (paperback edition)

Jonathan Livingston Seagull (ISBN 0-380-01286-3), written by Richard Bach, is a fable in novella form about a seagull learning about life and flight, and a homily about self-perfection and self-sacrifice. First published in 1970 as "Jonathan Livingston Seagull — a story", it became a favorite on American university campuses. By the end of 1972, over a million copies were in print, Reader's Digest had published a condensed version, and the book reached the top of the New York Times bestseller list where it remained for 38 weeks. It is still in print as of 2006. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Richard David Bach (b. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... Look up spiritual in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Though the term self-help can refer to any case whereby an individual or a group betters themselves economically, intellectually or emotionally, the connotations of the phrase have come to apply particularly to psychological or psychotherapeutic nostrums, often purveyed through the popular genre of the self-help book. ... A novella is a narrative work of prose fiction somewhat longer than a short story but shorter than a novel. ... A publisher is a person or entity which engages in the act of publishing. ... Avon is a paperback imprint of HarperCollins. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... “ISBN” redirects here. ... Richard David Bach (b. ... For a comparison of fable with other kinds of stories, see Myth, legend, fairy tale, and fable. ... A novella is a narrative work of prose fiction somewhat longer than a short story but shorter than a novel. ... “Seagull” redirects here. ... In the Roman Catholic Church and in the Eastern Orthodox Church, a homily is usually given during Mass (or Divine Liturgy for Orthodox) at the end of the Liturgy of the Word. ... Year 1970 (MCMLXX) was a common year starting on Thursday (link shows full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Representation of a university class, 1350s. ... Year 1972 (MCMLXXII) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... The New York Times bestseller list is a weekly chart in The New York Times newspaper that keeps track of the best-selling books of the week. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

Contents

Plot summary

The novel tells the story of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a seagull who is bored with the daily squabbles over food and seized by a passion for flight. He pushes himself, learning everything he can about flying, until finally his unwillingness to conform results in his expulsion from his flock. An outcast, he continues to learn, becoming increasingly pleased with his abilities as he leads an idyllic life. Outcast is an action-adventure computer game by Belgian developer Appeal, released in 1999 by publisher Infogrames. ...


One day, Jonathan is met by two seagulls who take him to a "higher plane of existence", where he meets other gulls who love to fly. He discovers that his sheer tenacity and desire to learn make him "a gull in a million". Jonathan befriends the wisest gull in this new place, named Chiang, who takes him beyond his previous learning, teaching him how to move instantaneously to anywhere else in the universe. The secret, Chiang says, is to "begin by knowing that you have already arrived".


Not satisfied with his new life, Jonathan returns to Earth to find others like him, to bring them his learning and to spread his love for flight. His mission is successful, gathering around him others who have been outlawed for not conforming. Ultimately, one of his students, Fletcher Lynd Seagull, becomes a teacher in his own right and Jonathan leaves to continue his learning.


Interpretation

Bach said the title of the book was inspired by John H. "Johnny" Livingston, a barnstorming pilot during the 1920s and 1930s.[1] Barnstorming was a popular form of entertainment in the 1920s in which stunt pilots would perform tricks with airplanes, often in groups as a flying circus. ...


Part One

Several early commentators, emphasizing mainly on the first part of the book, see it as part of the American self-help and positive thinking culture, epitomised by Norman Vincent Peale and by the New Thought movement. Some have described it as having Christian-anarchist characteristics. It has also been compared to the children's tale The Little Engine That Could. But while Jonathan Livingston Seagull may take the form of a traditional animal fable, and can be enjoyed by young children at that level, its attraction has extended beyond this group. In 1972, before "postmodernism" had evolved from an architectural term into a cultural buzzword, Beverley Byrne noted, Though the term self-help can refer to any case whereby an individual or a group betters themselves economically, intellectually or emotionally, the connotations of the phrase have come to apply particularly to psychological or psychotherapeutic nostrums, often purveyed through the popular genre of the self-help book. ... Attitude is a key concept in social psychology. ... Dr. Norman Vincent Peale (May 31, 1898 – December 24, 1993) was a Protestant preacher and author (most notably of The Power of Positive Thinking) and a progenitor of the theory of positive thinking. // Peale was born in Bowersville, Ohio and died in Pawling, New York. ... The New Thought Movement or New Thought is comprised of a loosely allied group of denominations, organizations, authors, philosophers, and individuals who share a set of metaphysical beliefs concerning healing, life force, visualization, and personal power. ... Christian anarchism is any of several traditions which combine anarchism with Christianity. ... The Little Engine that Could, also known as The Pony Engine, is a moralistic childrens story that appeared in the United States of America. ... Year 1972 (MCMLXXII) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...

No matter what metaphysical minority the reader may find seductive, there is something for him in Jonathan Livingston Seagull. [...] the dialogue is a mishmash of Boy Scout/Kahlil Gibran. The narrative is poor man's Hermann Hesse; the plot is Horatio Alger doing Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The meanings, metaphysical and other, are a linty overlay of folk tale, old movies, Christian tradition, Protestantism, Christian Science, Greek and Chinese philosophies, and the spirits of Sports Illustrated and Outward Bound [...] This seagull is an athletic Siddharta tripping on Similac, spouting the Qur'an as translated by Bob Dylan [...] One hopes this is not the parable for our time, popular as it is — the swift image, all-meaning metaphor that opens up into almost nothing. (Byrne, B., 1972. "Seagullibility and the American ethos". Pilgrimage. 1:1, pp 59–60.).
An illustration for the main theme of Jonathan Livingston Seagull.
An illustration for the main theme of Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

This article is about the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts/Girl Guides organizations. ... Khalil Gibran Gibran Khalil Gibran (January 6, 1883 - April 10, 1931) was a Lebanese poet and artist. ... Hermann Hesse (pronounced ) (2 July 1877 – 9 August 1962) was a Swiss-German poet, novelist, and painter. ... Horatio Alger, Jr. ... Antoine de Saint-Exupéry[1] (pronounced ) (June 29, 1900 – presumably July 31, 1944) was a French writer and aviator. ... Folklore is the ethnographic concept of the tales, legends, or superstitions current among a particular ethnic population, a part of the oral history of a particular culture. ... Protestantism encompasses the forms of Christian faith and practice that originated with the doctrines of the Reformation. ... Christian Science is a religious teaching regarding the efficacy of spiritual healing according to the interpretation of the Bible by Mary Baker Eddy, in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (first published in 1875). ... The first issue of Sports Illustrated, August 16, 1954, showing Milwaukee Braves star Eddie Mathews at bat in Milwaukee County Stadium. ... Outward Bound (OB) is an international, non-profit, independent educational organization with approximately 40 schools around the world and 100,000 participants per year. ... Getting their moniker from Buddhas original name, Siddharta is a six-piece slovenian melodic metal band founded in 1995, probably Slovenias most popular musical act since Laibach. ... An infant being fed by bottle. ... The Qur’ān [1] (Arabic: ;, literally the recitation; also sometimes transliterated as Quran, Koran, or Al-Quran) is the central religious text of Islam. ... This article is about the recording artist. ... Year 1972 (MCMLXXII) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Image File history File links Jonathan_Livingston_Seagull_figure. ... Image File history File links Jonathan_Livingston_Seagull_figure. ...

Part Two

In the second part, Jonathan transcends into another society where all the gulls enjoy flying. He is only capable of this after practicing hard alone for a long time (described in the first part). In this other society, real respect emerges as a contrast of the coercive force that was keeping the former "Breakfast Flock" together. The learning process, linking the highly experienced teacher and the diligent student, is raised into almost sacred level, suggesting that this may be the true relation between human and God. The author surely thinks that human and God, regardless of the all immense difference, are sharing something of great importance that can bind them together: "you've got to understand that a seagull is an unlimited idea of freedom, an image of the Great Gull". He realizes that you have to be true to yourself. The source of happiness comes from persevering to achieve your own dream.


Part Three

The introduction to the third part of the book are the last words of Jonathan's teacher: "keep working on love". In this part Jonathan understands that the spirit cannot be really free without the ability to forgive, and the way to progress leads through becoming a teacher — not just through working hard as a student. Jonathan returns to the Breakfast Flock to share his newly discovered ideals and the recent tremendous experience, ready for the difficult fight against the current rules of that society. The ability to forgive seems to be a mandatory "passing condition".

"Do you want to fly so much that you will forgive the Flock, and learn, and go back to them one day and work to help them know?" Jonathan asks his first student before getting into any further talks. The idea that the stronger can reach more by leaving the weaker friends behind seems totally rejected.

Hence, love, deserved respect, and forgiveness seem to be equally important to the freedom from the pressure to obey the rules just because they are commonly accepted. The general idea of this book may be not very far from Christian anarchism ideology. Christian anarchism is any of several traditions which combine anarchism with Christianity. ...


Reactions

It has however been very poorly received by the birding community, where it is regarded as sentimental anthropomorphic nonsense; Bill Oddie was particularly scathing, writing "I mean, no half-serious birdwatcher could enjoy (let alone write!) a book called, with such offensive imprecision, Jonathan Livingston-Seagull ... I mean, you write me Jonathan Livingston-Second Winter Lesser Black-backed Gull and I might get off on it".[2] Birding or birdwatching is a hobby concerned with the observation and study of birds (the study proper is termed American origin; birdwatching is (or more correctly, was) the commonly-used word in Great Britain and Ireland and by non-birders in the United States. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... William Edgar (Bill) Oddie, OBE (born 7 July 1941 in Rochdale, Lancashire), is a British comedy writer and performer, author, composer and musician. ... Binomial name Linnaeus, 1758 The Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus) is a large gull which breeds on the Atlantic coasts of Europe. ...


Appearances in popular culture

  • In an episode of The Simpsons, Captain McCallister is heard uttering the name, as a type of exclamation.
  • In an episode of The Brady Bunch the book is seen on Mike Brady's nightstand.
  • In the surf movie Free As A Dog by Jack McCoy, Jonathan Livingston Seagull in person has a short appearance.
  • In the novel "Adrian Mole and the Weapons of Mass Destruction" Adrian's father claims that once you read the book, no other book can ever compare. His father has yet to read a book since and gets emotional talking about the seagull.
  • In an episode of Moonlighting when David Addison first meets Maddie Hayes, he guesses her favorite movie is Jonathan Livingston Seagull.
  • In an episode of "That '70s Show", while Bob and Midge are dining with Red and Kitty, a drunken Midge overacts a scene from the novella.
  • In Part 7 of The Bronx Is Burning, Reggie Jackson, who is played by Daniel Sunjata, is seen reading the book in the locker room after playing in the 1977 World Series.

Simpsons redirects here. ... Captain McCallister Horatio McCallister (or McAllister), a ships captain, is a fictional character from the animated TV program The Simpsons. ... The Brady Bunch is an American television situation comedy, based around a large blended family. ... The Brady Bunch Movie is a 1995 comedy film adaptation of the 1969-1974 television series The Brady Bunch. ... Published in 2004 by Penguin Books, Adrian Mole and the Weapons of Mass Destruction is the sixth and most recent Adrian Mole novel by Sue Townsend. ... That 70s Show is an American television sitcom that centers on the lives of a group of teenagers living in Point Place, Wisconsin, a fictional suburb of either Kenosha[1] or Green Bay[2] from May 17, 1976 to December 31, 1979. ... The Bronx Is Burning is a television drama that debuted on ESPN on July 9, 2007 following the 2007 MLB Home Run Derby. ... Reginald Martinez Reggie Jackson (born May 18, 1946), nicknamed Mr. ... Daniel Sunjata in the 2004 film Brother to Brother Daniel Sunjata Condon (b. ...

Derivative and referencing works

  • Film: Bach's Jonathan Livingston Seagull inspired the production of a motion picture of the same title, with a soundtrack by Neil Diamond. The film was made by Hall Bartlett many years before computer-generated effects were available. In order to make seagulls act on cue and perform aerobatics, Mark Smith of Escondido, California built radio-controlled gliders that looked remarkably like real seagulls from a few feet away. Bach was unimpressed with the treatment of the film, by changing the storyline, that he sued the film company for negligence. Critics blasted the film, calling it "for the birds." Previously only available on VHS, it will be available on DVD in October 2007.
  • Ballet: There is also a ballet based on Jonathan Livingston Seagull.
  • Spoken Word: The Irish actor Richard Harris won a Grammy in 1973 for the spoken-word album Jonathan Livingston Seagull.
  • Parody novels:
    • Jonathan Segal Chicken (1973, Pinnacle Books, New York) written by Sol Weinstein and Howard Albrechi revolves around a cocky Jewish-American super chicken who flies the coop to New York City.
    • David Lines' Jonathan Livingston Trafalgar Square Pigeon (1998) features a cynical pigeon looking to the London Underground for inspiration.
  • Other:
    • Shui On Group, a large property group based in Hong Kong, uses Jonathan the Seagull as their company motto and logo [1] because the Group's Founder Vincent Lo was inspired by the story.
    • Jonathan Seagull is mentioned in the James Gang song "Ride the Wind".
    • MC Paul Barman includes a nod to the seagull in his lyrics from "Excuse You" ("I keep it more gully than Jonathan Livingston").
    • It has been said that Swedish pop group ABBA's 1977 song "Eagle" was partially inspired by Jonathan Livingston Seagull.
    • Canadian singer-songwriter Danny Michel wrote a song about Jonathan Livingston Seagull called “Jonathan Gull” on his 2001 album, In the Belly of a Whale.
    • Korean rock group Cherry Filter wrote a song called "Jonathan the Seagull".
    • Korean hip-hop artist MC Mong wrote a song, "Jonathan (갈매기의 꿈 [A Seagull's Dream]}".

Neil Leslie Diamond (born January 24, 1941) is an American singer, songwriter and sometime Actor. ... Hall Bartlett (born November 27, 1922; died September 7, 1993) was an American film producer, director, and writer. ... Computer-generated imagery (commonly abbreviated as CGI) is the application of the field of computer graphics (or more specifically, 3D computer graphics) to special effects in films, television programs, commercials, simulators and simulation generally, and printed media. ... Mark Smith with Jonathan Livingston Seagull Mark Smith (c. ... For the album by J.J. Cale and Eric Clapton, see The Road to Escondido Escondido is a city located in northern San Diego County, California just north of the city of San Diego. ... Official language(s) English Capital Sacramento Largest city Los Angeles Largest metro area Greater Los Angeles Area  Ranked 3rd  - Total 158,302 sq mi (410,000 km²)  - Width 250 miles (400 km)  - Length 770 miles (1,240 km)  - % water 4. ... Gliders or Sailplanes are heavier-than-air aircraft primarily intended for unpowered flight. ... For other uses, see Ballet (disambiguation). ... Spoken word is a form of music or artistic performance in which lyrics, poetry, or stories are spoken rather than sung. ... Richard Harris as Marcus Aurelius in Gladiator. ... Vincent Lo, born in 1948, is the chairman of Hong Kong-based Shui On Group, a building-materials and construction firm. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... MC Paul Barman is a hip hop MC from Ridgewood, New Jersey, who attended Brown University. ... “Abba” redirects here. ... Biography Danny Michel is a singer-songwriter based just outside Guelph, Ontario, Canada. ... Cherry Filter formed in 1997 when three guys and one girl formed an obscure Korean rock band that played in clubs before hitting it big. ... MC Mong (born Shin Dong Hyun (Hangul: 신동현) on September 4, 1979) is a South Korean hip hop artist. ...

References

  1. ^ Livingston brothers flew the skies over Iowa
  2. ^ Oddie, B. (1980). Bill Oddie's Little Black Bird Book, p. 11. Eyre Metheun Ltd. ISBN 0-413-47820-3.

  • Jonathan Livingston Seagull (1970), ISBN 0-380-01286-3
  • Jonathan Livingston Seagull (1973) at the Internet Movie Database

The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) is an online database of information about movies, actors, television shows, production crew personnel, and video games. ...

See also

For similarly-named works, see Alchemist. ... Paulo Coelho (IPA: ) (born August 24, 1947) is a Brazilian lyricist and novelist. ... The Celestine Prophecy is a 1993 novel by James Redfield. ... James Redfield (b. ... The 1st English edition of The Kingdom of God is Within You, 1894 The Kingdom of God is Within You is a non-fiction work written by Leo Tolstoy and was first published in Germany in 1894, after being banned in his home country of Russia. ... Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy(Lyof, Lyoff) (September 9 [O.S. August 28] 1828 – November 20 [O.S. November 7] 1910) (Russian: , IPA:  ), commonly referred to in English as Leo Tolstoy, was a Russian writer – novelist, essayist, dramatist and philosopher – as well as pacifist Christian anarchist and educational reformer. ... The Story of My Experiments with Truth (or My Experiments with Truth) – the autobiography of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (or Mahatma Gandhi) covers his life from early childhood through to 1920, and is a popular and influential book. ... Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Gujarati: , Hindi: , IAST: mohandās karamcand gāndhÄ«, IPA: ) (October 2, 1869 – January 30, 1948), was a major political and spiritual leader of India and the Indian independence movement. ... Christian anarchism is any of several traditions which combine anarchism with Christianity. ...

External links

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
Jonathan Livingston Seagull

  Results from FactBites:
 
Jonathan Livingston Seagull - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1054 words)
Jonathan Livingston Seagull (ISBN 0380012863), written by Richard Bach, is a fable about a seagull learning about life and flight, and a homily about self-perfection and self-sacrifice.
Jonathan returns to the Breakfast Flock to share his newly discovered ideals and the recent tremendous experience, ready for the difficult fight against the current rules of that society.
The authorship of Jonathan Livingston Seagull is discussed in The Nature of Personal Reality written by channelling Jane Roberts, whom Bach had previously visited.
Encyclopedia4U - Jonathan Livingston Seagull - Encyclopedia Article (875 words)
Clearly, Jonathan Livingston Seagull has joined Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, Gibran's The Prophet, and, for a previous generation, Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye as one of those must-read books that one encounters in late adolescence and that remains with one forever.
This seagull is an athletic Siddharta tripping on Similac, spouting the Koran as translated by Bob Dylan...
Indeed, there is no longer a single way to look at life, or at a book, and Jonathan Livingston Seagull was, in retrospect, a marker on the road from the 20th to the 21st centuries, from the certainties of modernism to something we call postmodernism -- unless a different name comes along, of course.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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