A Time to Keep Silence

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First limited edition

A Time to Keep Silence (1953) is a travel book by British author Patrick Leigh Fermor. It describes Fermor's sojourns in monasteries across Europe, and is praised by William Dalrymple as a "sublime masterpiece".[1]

This was an early publication from the Queen Anne Press, a small private press, created in 1951 by Lord Kemsley, proprietor of the Sunday Times. In 1952 Kemsley made Leigh Fermor's friend Ian Fleming its managing director.[2] The press concentrated on producing finely printed and bound editions, often with small limitations. A Time to Keep Silence was printed in a limited edition of 500 copies with illustrations by John Craxton.

After revision, an open edition was published by John Murray in 1957.

The monasteries discussed include the Abbey of St. Wandrille, Solesmes Abbey and La Grande Trappe.

The title is from the Book of Ecclesiastes (Ecclesiastes 3:7).


  1. ^ O'Reilly, James; Habegger, Larry; O'Reilly, Sean (2010). The Best Travel Writing 2010: True Stories from Around the World. Travelers' Tales. p. xvii. ISBN 9781932361735.
  2. ^ Pearson, John. The Life of Ian Fleming, p.188. McGraw-Hill, 1966.