Form and Content
InOut of My Life and Thought: An Autobiography, Albert Schweitzer creates a tapestry of ideas. In the background are glimpses of events in his early adult life, mainly from the ages of twenty-three to fifty-five. In the foreground are detailed explanations of his scholarly interests in religion, philosophy, and music. Unlike autobiographies that focus mainly on a chronological recital of events in an individual’s life, Out of My Life and Thought presents events as an organizing framework for revealing Schweitzer’s simultaneous intellectual pursuits.
In the first chapter, Schweitzer gives a condensed account of his family and early schooling. The fact that both his maternal grandfather and father were pastors indicates the roots for Schweitzer’s interest in theology, and the fact that his paternal grandfather and three granduncles had been organists gives a source for Schweitzer’s musical ability. His identity as a musical child prodigy is evident from the five-year-old Schweitzer’s first playing on his grandfather’s piano, his beginning organ instruction as an eight-year-old, and his first public organ performance in Günsbach when he was nine years old.
In the first half of the autobiography, Schweitzer discusses his separate scholarly studies in theology, philosophy, and music that are intertwined in his search for truth. At the age of twenty-one, he resolved to devote himself to his studies until the age of...
(The entire section is 478 words.)