LIFE ON TWO LEVELS: An Autobiography by Josephine Whitney Duveneck

LIFE ON TWO LEVELS: An Autobiography

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KIRKUS REVIEW

What begins as an old-fashioned personal chronicle, perhaps of quaint interest as cultural history, evolves into overlapping stories of spiritual quest and secular social action, which are unlikely to find an overlapping audience. Josephine Duveneck, nÉe Whitney of the (Boston) Whitneys 87 years ago, embarked on her Quest for God as a lonely child; she was a mother when she first experienced authentic revelation--and a grandmother when she finally celebrated Immanence (""a merging of the outer and the inner. No longer two levels of life. . .""). Meanwhile she was applying her awesome stamina, spunk, and enlightened pragmatism to such California Bay Area projects as the establishment of community centers, the post-WW II relocation of Japanese-American evacuees, the instigation of self-help movements among the local black, Chicano, and Indian people--often working under the auspices of the American Friends Service Committee. But Josephine is at her worthwhile best on her launching and stewardship of the progressive Peninsula School--during the 1920s and '30s, when there were no models out West--and an inter-racial camp at Hidden Villa, property she and her (oddly faceless) husband made home to an extended family over the years. Her wise and creative reflections on curricular reform emerge, affectingly, as products of her learning while teaching. The book is self-indulgently anecdotal and analytical, but, complete with the promised index to a lifetime of associations and activities, it will commend itself in part to many if in whole to few.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1978
Publisher: William Kaufmann