In the mid–path of my life, I woke to find myself in a dark wood,’ writes Dante, in The Divine Comedy, beginning a quest that will lead to transformation and redemption. A journey through the dark of the woods is a motif common to fairy tales: young heroes set off through the perilous forest in order to reach their destiny, or they find themselves abandoned there, cast off and left for dead. The path is long and treacherous, prowled by wolves, ghosts, and wizards, but helpers also appear along the way, good fairies and animal guides, often cloaked in unlikely disguises. The hero’s task is to tell friend from foe, and to keep walking steadily onward.
“The life of every man is a way to himself, an attempt at a way, the suggestion of a path. No man has ever been utterly himself, yet every…
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