Redfield, James: The Celestine Prophecy
(researched by Megan Hippen)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description
1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)
Publisher: Warner Books, Inc., Place: 1271 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020. Date: March 1, 1994 Copyright: 1993 by James Redfield
2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?
First edition published in cloth (hardback) only.
3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available
4 Pagination
Page numbers are located in the upper outside corner of each regular chapter page and in the bottom center of the actual chapter page. There a
re 246 pages, 23 cm.
5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?
The text is introduced by the author in a one page "Author's Note."
6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?
Not illustrated.
7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available
8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)
The type is a normal size for the type of book, though larger than the type size for most novels. The text itself is often indented, makin
g it visually more attractive (and a faster read).
9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available
10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)
The paper in this copy is holding up over time, but only a few years have passed. It would be my prediction that the paper will not hold up for many decades - the paper is not c
heap, but is less than high quality, which you can tell (from the image scanning) by the way that the ink from the opposite side of the page bleeds through and can be seen.
11 Description of binding(s)
The gatherings are glued into the binding. The book is cloth-bound (hardback) a
nd the binding is taped inside the cover and hidden with a cover page that is plain.
12 Transcription of title page
The Celestine Prophecy, An Adventure James Redfield Warner Books A Time Warner Company
13 JPEG image of title page, if available
14 Manuscript Holdings
I was unable to find the manuscript holdings for this book - it is too recent for the National Union Catalog and the web does not have that information. Since it was written only a few years ago, I would a
ssume that Mr. Redfield himself or a family member still has the original.
15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)
Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History
1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A
N/A
2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available
3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available
4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?
This information was not available through the resources at UVa., but I am in the process of getting in touch with the publisher to fi
nd out.
5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A
N/A
6 Last date in print?
Still currently in print, though no longer on the bestseller list.
7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)
As of November 1997, the book had spent 152 weeks on Publisher's Weekly's fiction list. It had sold 4 million copies in its Warner edition and 8 million worldwide.
8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)
F
rom Publisher's Weekly on the web: The Celestine Prophecy reached #1 in 1994 and 1995, #3 in 1996 and #9 is where it peaked in 1997. According to Publishing Trends, it was the #1 book in the world in 1995 AND 1996.
9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)
I searched The New York Times for t
his and found nothing except the lists of bestsellers in the weekly Book Review section - I found no advertisements.
10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available
11 Other promotion
12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A
N/A
13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A
Obviously, the book was translated, since it was the #1 (alleged) book in the world from America for two years, however, thr
ough the web resources and the minimal library sources, I did not find the bibliographical information for this.
14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A
N/A
15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A
The Celestine Prophecy was followed up by The Tenth Insight in June 1996, also from Warner Inc. and spent 25 weeks in the charts with
1.3 million copies in print. The Celestine Vision: Living the New Spiritual Awareness was then pulished in October 1997 by Warner with 576,000 copies in print after two printings.
Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author
1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)
James Redfield lives and writes in the rural South. He writes expansively on the topic of human spiritual awareness and is active in saving the remaining wilderness areas of the world. He lives with his wif
e, Salle, who is also an author, and cat, Meredith. They have residences in both Alabama and Arizona. Redfield also publishes a monthly newsletter, The Celestine Journal, in which he chronicles his present experiences and reflections. Redfield was born March 19, 1950 and grew up in a rural area near Birmingham, Alabama. He was part of the Methodist Church within a loving community, but was frustrated by the lack of clarity in spiritual matters and lack of answers to his questions
. He studied Eastern philosophies (Taoism and Zen) and majored in sociology at Auburn University. His master's degree was in counseling and he spent over 15 years as a therapist to abused adolescents. In 1989, Redfield quit his job to become a full-time writer, synthesizing his interests in psychology, Eastern and Western philosophy, science, futurism, ecology, history, and mysticism. By 1992 he had written The Celestine Prophecy and deciced to s
elf-publish it, since no one else would do it soon enough. He and Salle had 3000 copies printed and gave half to small bookshops in Alabama, Florida, North Carolina and Virginia, from where word of mouth carrried the book to Warner Publishing and the bes
tseller list. In 1996, Redfield published The Tenth Insight: Holding the Vision, which also became an instant bestseller. In October of 1997, he was awarded the highly prestigious Medal of the Presidency of the Italian Senate at the XXIII Pio Manzu International
Conference in Rimini, Italy. CBS will be making a miniseries of the Celestine Prophecy in 1998. In addition to those two books, Warner Treasures has released The Celestine Prophecy: A Pocket Guide to the Nine Insights, and The Tenth Insight: Holding th
e Vision; A Pocket Guide. Redfield's wife Salle has published The Joy of Meditating, The Celestine Meditations, Meditations for the Tenth Insight. For more information, see James Redfield's website: www.celestinevision.com
Assignment 4: Reception History
1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
Excerpts from reviews of "The Celestine Prophecy" by James Redfield, in chronological order:
---"The prose is stiff and awkward, the characters stereotypical and the perils in which they are embroiled hackneyed, yet [it has become a bestseller]." ---"Written in the from of an adventure story in which Indiana Jones would feel right at home, the book chronicles the 'renaissance in consciousness' that Redfield believes is about to transform society." from: 'San Francisco Chronicle' March 27, 1994, article written by Alix Madrigal, REV p.4.
---"Heaven is real. It's right here, only we can't see it. Not yet. That's what James Redfield says. Picking up where Harmonic Convergence (HC) mercifully left off, Redfield would have us believe that a 'spiritual renaissance' is imminent, a new
world order based on love, trust, beauty, rapture, old-growth forests...good things like that. When? Well, the year 2000 is at hand. Something about those zeros elicits hope, a cleansing, sort of a New Millenium Resolution - all of which the world coul
d use." ---"As the Insights are unearthed (conveniently in numerical order) their Wisdom is revealed. Such action in a book that's 95% exegesis is provided by a handful of gutty little philosopher/scientists racing to find the Truth before the enemy does."
from: 'Los Angeles Times Book Review' May 15, 1994, article written by Dick Roraback, p.6.
---"On the bestseller list since March, this may be the most celebrated New Age attempt to 'complete' the Christian message - indeed to fuse all religions into one beautiful, all-embracing vision. The result is a tenth-rate melodrama joining gnostic hu
bris with flower-child theology." ---"Uncannily, the test prophesies a spiritual 'restlessness' to appear in 'the sixth decade of the twentieth century,' suggesting a special missionin the world for Mr. Redfield's very own generation." ---"The true spiritual line runs neither from Jerusalem through Rome nor from Jerusalem through Wittenberg, but from Jerusalem through Woodstock."
from: 'National Review' December 19, 1994, article written by Matthew Scully, p.63.
---"A New Age novel that boldly claims not to be a New Age novel, 'The Celestine Prophecy' is yet another simple, uninsightful, and phony attempt at bridging the gap between science and religion, between gods and humankind." ---"...his revelations turn out to be regurgitations from pop academia. 'TCP' melds trendy and superficial concepts from psychology, physics, history, and other disciplines into a preposterous unified-spirit theory for the 21st century. Being a New Ag
e novel, the plot line and character development are a thinly veiled rendering of the author's own metaphysical and phlosophical ponderings on humanity and the universe - musings which are even less profound than the average cyberpunk sci-fi thriller." ---"It's easy to see that he is attempting to create a demand for the metaphysical blather he supplies." ---"...one comes away with the impression either that he's intentionally misinforming the reader or that he's intentionally holding back information to produce a more palatable, popular result." ---"As common-sense notions are transformed into supposed divine wisdom, one detects the unmistakable makings of a bad B-movie." from: 'The Humanist' Jan/Feb 1995, article written by Thomas F. Peake, p.46-7.
---"Well-intended but poorly written, the plot is a cross between 'Indiana Jones' and a self-help book." ---"Rather than profound, the book is awash in such cliches such as the need to 'become conscious of the coincidences in our lives.'" ---"...a poorly written, thinly disguised allegory....there are glimmers of - forgive the pun - insight, but the whole is a mishmash of religion nad new-age thinking."
from: 'The Christian Science Monitor' September 19, 1996, written by Yvonne Zipp, p.14.
---"What is the secret? The story is a helter-skelter chase to recover an ancient Mayan manuscript that contains life-enhancing, but establishment-menacing, advice about meditation and self-fulfilment."
from: 'Economist' December 7, 1996, p.6-7.
Summary: In general, it seems that critics found this book too New Age and not intelligently written. It is not considered insightful or unique or brilliant in any way and writers seem downright astounded that the book has spent so much time on the bestseller lis
t - disappointed in the idiocy of the reading public, almost.
Indirect responses: 'May the Farce Be With You,' by Eric D. Randall from The Washington Post, July 16, 1995. "Personally, I have no desire to evolve into a being of pure energy. I know from watching 'Star Trek' that beings of pure energy are peulant creatures who are always threatening to make people disappear with a single thought. Power corrupts, you know.
" "I think I met one of these CP diehards the other day. I was minding my own business in Metro Center when a bearded fellow weraring sandals and a Hawaiian shirt approached me. "'Excuse me,' he said. "Without looking at him, I handed him a quarter. "'No, no, I'm not a homeless person,' he said. 'It's just that you look familiar.' "I looked him up and down. 'Listen,' I said. "I've got a girlfriend. Okay?' "He held up his hands, palms out. 'I'm not hitting on you, honest,' he said. He paused and tooka a breath as if to summon courage. 'It's just taht soething inside me told me it was important that I talk to you.' He cocked his head and studied my
face intently. "'Okay,' I said. 'I'm listening.' "'Oh, I don't have anything to tell you,' he said. 'I was sort of hoping you might have something to tell me.' "I did have something to tell him, but I cannot reprint it here in its entirety."
2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
Excerpts from reviews of "The Celestine Prophecy" by James Redfield, in chronological order:
---"The prose is stiff and awkward, the characters stereotypical and the perils in which they are embroiled hackneyed, yet [it has become a bestseller]." ---"Written in the from of an adventure story in which Indiana Jones would feel right at home, the book chronicles the 'renaissance in consciousness' that Redfield believes is about to transform society." from: 'San Francisco Chronicle' March 27, 1994, article written by Alix Madrigal, REV p.4.
---"Heaven is real. It's right here, only we can't see it. Not yet. That's what James Redfield says. Picking up where Harmonic Convergence (HC) mercifully left off, Redfield would have us believe that a 'spiritual renaissance' is imminent, a new
world order based on love, trust, beauty, rapture, old-growth forests...good things like that. When? Well, the year 2000 is at hand. Something about those zeros elicits hope, a cleansing, sort of a New Millenium Resolution - all of which the world coul
d use." ---"As the Insights are unearthed (conveniently in numerical order) their Wisdom is revealed. Such action in a book that's 95% exegesis is provided by a handful of gutty little philosopher/scientists racing to find the Truth before the enemy does."
from: 'Los Angeles Times Book Review' May 15, 1994, article written by Dick Roraback, p.6.
---"On the bestseller list since March, this may be the most celebrated New Age attempt to 'complete' the Christian message - indeed to fuse all religions into one beautiful, all-embracing vision. The result is a tenth-rate melodrama joining gnostic hu
bris with flower-child theology." ---"Uncannily, the test prophesies a spiritual 'restlessness' to appear in 'the sixth decade of the twentieth century,' suggesting a special missionin the world for Mr. Redfield's very own generation." ---"The true spiritual line runs neither from Jerusalem through Rome nor from Jerusalem through Wittenberg, but from Jerusalem through Woodstock."
from: 'National Review' December 19, 1994, article written by Matthew Scully, p.63.
---"A New Age novel that boldly claims not to be a New Age novel, 'The Celestine Prophecy' is yet another simple, uninsightful, and phony attempt at bridging the gap between science and religion, between gods and humankind." ---"...his revelations turn out to be regurgitations from pop academia. 'TCP' melds trendy and superficial concepts from psychology, physics, history, and other disciplines into a preposterous unified-spirit theory for the 21st century. Being a New Ag
e novel, the plot line and character development are a thinly veiled rendering of the author's own metaphysical and phlosophical ponderings on humanity and the universe - musings which are even less profound than the average cyberpunk sci-fi thriller." ---"It's easy to see that he is attempting to create a demand for the metaphysical blather he supplies." ---"...one comes away with the impression either that he's intentionally misinforming the reader or that he's intentionally holding back information to produce a more palatable, popular result." ---"As common-sense notions are transformed into supposed divine wisdom, one detects the unmistakable makings of a bad B-movie." from: 'The Humanist' Jan/Feb 1995, article written by Thomas F. Peake, p.46-7.
---"Well-intended but poorly written, the plot is a cross between 'Indiana Jones' and a self-help book." ---"Rather than profound, the book is awash in such cliches such as the need to 'become conscious of the coincidences in our lives.'" ---"...a poorly written, thinly disguised allegory....there are glimmers of - forgive the pun - insight, but the whole is a mishmash of religion nad new-age thinking."
from: 'The Christian Science Monitor' September 19, 1996, written by Yvonne Zipp, p.14.
---"What is the secret? The story is a helter-skelter chase to recover an ancient Mayan manuscript that contains life-enhancing, but establishment-menacing, advice about meditation and self-fulfilment."
from: 'Economist' December 7, 1996, p.6-7.
Summary: In general, it seems that critics found this book too New Age and not intelligently written. It is not considered insightful or unique or brilliant in any way and writers seem downright astounded that the book has spent so much time on the bestseller lis
t - disappointed in the idiocy of the reading public, almost.
Indirect responses: 'May the Farce Be With You,' by Eric D. Randall from The Washington Post, July 16, 1995. "Personally, I have no desire to evolve into a being of pure energy. I know from watching 'Star Trek' that beings of pure energy are peulant creatures who are always threatening to make people disappear with a single thought. Power corrupts, you know.
" "I think I met one of these CP diehards the other day. I was minding my own business in Metro Center when a bearded fellow weraring sandals and a Hawaiian shirt approached me. "'Excuse me,' he said. "Without looking at him, I handed him a quarter. "'No, no, I'm not a homeless person,' he said. 'It's just that you look familiar.' "I looked him up and down. 'Listen,' I said. "I've got a girlfriend. Okay?' "He held up his hands, palms out. 'I'm not hitting on you, honest,' he said. He paused and tooka a breath as if to summon courage. 'It's just taht soething inside me told me it was important that I talk to you.' He cocked his head and studied my
face intently. "'Okay,' I said. 'I'm listening.' "'Oh, I don't have anything to tell you,' he said. 'I was sort of hoping you might have something to tell me.' "I did have something to tell him, but I cannot reprint it here in its entirety."
Assignment 5: Critical Analysis
1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)
In 1989, James Redfield quit his job as an adolescent counselor and became a full-time writer. He combined his interests in psychology, Eastern and Western philosophy, science, futurism, ecology, history, and my
sticism, and by 1992 he had written The Celestine Prophecy. Unable to find anyone to publish it, Redfield self-published his story. He and his wife, Salle, had 3000 copies printed and gave half to small book shops in Alabama, Florida, North Carolina and
Virginia. The Celestine Prophecy, "an adventure in pursuit of a spiritual mystery," stunned those who picked it up and read it. In a few short months by word of mouth, over a hundred thousand people in the country had become excited by it and Warner Pu
blishing picked it up and carried it to the bestseller list, where it remained for several years.
TCP is exciting and uncanny, mystical and chilling. It is the adventure of a man searching for an ancient Peruvian manuscript which holds nine insights of the human race. The man's search takes him to the rain forests of Peru, through the Andes mounta
ins, and ancient ruins of civilizations. The secrets of how we will save the planet and its creatures are uncovered as one by one the man discovers each insight, while church and state both wildly try to stop its uncovering.
It is a New Age novel that is so appropriately timed in its release and full of so much "insight" that critics cannot help but ream it. There is no doubt that even by low scholarly standards, TCP is poorly written. "The prose is stiff and awkward, the
characters stereotypical and the perils in which they are embroiled hackneyed..." (San Francisco Chronicle). Several critics sight it as an Indiana Jones type of adventure and take pleasure in criticizing its elementary style. "As common-sense notions a
re transformed into supposed divine wisdom, one detects the unmistakable makings of a bad B-movie" (The Humanist). And even worse, as a book that is sometimes praised for fusing Christian beliefs, from the Christian Science Monitor: "Well-intended but..
. a poorly written, thinly disguised allegory... there are glimmers of - forgive the pun - insight, but the whole is a mishmash of religion and new-age thinking."
Yet TCP has sold 8 million copies worldwide and spent 152 weeks on Publisher's Weekly fiction list. From its small-time beginnings as a word of mouth self-published book, it has become a monster phenomenon. James Redfield has a personal web-page, ther
e are several web-pages for fans and believers, there is a CD that accompanies the book, pocket guides of the insights, and CBS is making a miniseries to air sometime in 1998. All of this seems impossible if you paid any attention to the critics. But it
has certainly made it, and so have the sequels: The Tenth Insight: Holding the Vision became an instant bestseller in 1996.
What is the overwhelming appeal? First of all, it appeals to everyone and anyone. Yes, the prose is basic, but it's as complicated as it gets for some people. The reading audience (and consuming public) becomes a lot greater when the book attracts so
meone other than upper middle class people. It's short, the words are printed big, and it's reads like a breeze. Even if it's not good, the reader hasn't wasted too much time. And the ideas are burned into their heads, too, due to repetition and ve
ry little other plot to concentrate on. This aspect, however, was unfailingly commented upon by critics. They seemed insulted by Redfield's underestimation of the public's intelligence level, his degradation of their minds.
The timing is appropriate as well. What better time to write a book about the incredible upheaval that the world will undergo at the millennium than in the decade before the millennium, just when people are starting to get curious about it. Redfield di
scusses the "restlessness" that society is currently or is beginning to feel that, according to the ancient manuscript, is the earliest sign of what is to come. A restlessness that American society has been heading into for awhile now. TCP comes to us a
t a time when there are New Age and self-help books on everyone's shelves at home. There is certainly an obsession with the quest for the perfect self, and a book that describes how all of mankind is going to reach this enlightening period is not just r
ead out of curiosity, but out of hope.
Indeed, in a time when there seems to be murder, rape and corruption around every corner, a book that predicts such bliss is popular if only for a need to believe. There is a need to believe that, despite all this atrocity around us, the future looks br
ight; things will not only be okay, but it will be worth all this chaos. Reading books that are so optimistic makes the reader optimistic because there is a place in the mind that is actually open to the possibility of anything - even the unbelievable.
It is not logical to believe in this book, yet millions have been touched by it and changed their way of living. People have many goals, but in the long run, all everyone wants essentially is to be happy. Most people go through hell and back to find tha
t happiness, so when someone hands them the key to everything like this, they jump.
Many of the reading audience, and the believers, also grew up in the same decades as James Redfield and remember their Woodstock, flower-power days, as other generations also recall their college years as the freest and most liberal and open times of the
ir lives. And as they begin to look towards retirement and reflect on their lives, perhaps they see some wasted times, that somewhere along the way they "grew up" and lost the freedom and bliss of believing in the possibility of anything. TCP is a refre
sher, a reminder of how easy it is to believe in the things that sound so great.
So maybe James Redfield read the public well, knew what we were ripe for and produced an appealing story. Maybe it's just a poorly written story that people have stupidly bought. Maybe the writing doesn't matter because people want something to belie
ve. Maybe it's all true. Maybe we are all just a little too cynical of the fantastic, of the mystical and spiritual.
There are no philosophers like there were in Ancient Greece today. There is little left to be said that is profound and new. And even if there were a lot still to be said, the cynicism of the public would shame a person from opening his or her mouth.
New Age books in general are not accepted well by the critics, nor are self-help books and advice books. Yet they consistently sell while people unceasingly search for the solutions to their problems - they're too fat, they're too poor, they're depres
sed, they're children are drug addicts. In a world where technology is constantly reinventing itself, new ideas are seized like candy. The machines people have become constantly search for ways to individualize and humanize themselves again. And gener
ally, the advice and wisdom that people have to give are logical, they have just been pushed aside in the rush for success in today's world.
The popularity of TCP spread over a period of time. It started with the tiny book shops on the southeast coast and spread like a virus over the nation and over the world. And it did this despite the bad reviews and the poor writing. The message of the
book was what was taken away by the reader. TCP was not a piece of literary art. It was an idea, an idea that James Redfield thought could transform the world. And his spirituality and enthusiasm have come through to the public. He has achieved an in
credible feat, reaching so many.
His message of connectiveness and touching other people's lives is inspirational, if taken as it is. Can anyone deny that such a world would not be incredible? The story is told and received with a feeling of awe. If he allows himself, the reader will
be swept up in James Redfield's message and his life will change. Ask people and they will say it, albeit with some reservation. "I don't usually fall into the trap of this sort of book, but I read it and it honestly affected how I live." So often p
eople think through their decisions too much and don't rely on instinct and gut feelings. But after reading TCP, and putting their faith in its message and actually taking a chance, they find an incredible difference in their lives, an incredible feelin
g of clarity and spirituality that they didn't know they had in them.
So Mr. Redfield is a fool to some, a man who can barely write with a loopy message to share, who hopes to make a buck off the idiocy of the American public. To others, he is a hero, almost a god, who has brought the wisdom of the millennium to light and
who will help us empower ourselves and save the world. It has the surreal feeling of a cult, which as of late has become even more taboo. But it is harmless. If it changes the way people act toward each other, and we are suddenly nicer to one another o
n the subway and on the street, then no one is the worse for it. Perhaps people will only be moved by TCP for a little while, and it will soon fade into the woodwork with so many other books and ideas. Or perhaps it will eventually reach and touch every
one and parents will teach their children the story and the world will be as the ancient Peruvians prophesied.
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