"Simply put," the author of this provocative study says, "Thomas Merton is the William Blake of our time." This is the "heretic blood" of the title: seeing Blake as an "arch-rebel," Higgins suggests that Merton--whose master's thesis at Columbia University was on Blake and who clearly never lost his love of Blake--takes the Romantic poet as something of a role model. "He was engaged in the same kind of spiritual and intellectual tasks," Higgins writes: "the critiquing of a dehumanizing culture; the re-visioning of human destiny; the liberating of our senses from the shackles of constrictive reason; the commingling of the imaginative arts." Academic dean and vice president of St. Jerome's University at the University of Waterloo, Higgins brings forth many references to Blake in Merton's work to support his argument. However, one need not be entirely convinced by the author's Blakean map to Merton's life to benefit from his close reading of Merton's prose, and even more from the attention he pays to his poetry, which was certainly at the center of Merton's own spiritual and artistic life--the place, in fact, where these two most deeply met. Doug Thorpe
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