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The Courage for Truth: The Letters of Thomas Merton to Writers Hardcover – Aug 1 1993

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 314 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux (Aug. 1 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374130558
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374130558
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 3.2 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 567 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,325,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

From Amazon

Though he lived in an enclosed order, Thomas Merton was the most sociable of monks by mail. His first letter in this ever-surprising volume is to Evelyn Waugh, who in 1948 was editing The Seven Storey Mountain for English publication. Recounting how his work runs a gantlet of religious censors before being further altered by his publishers, Merton adds, "And after about four years a book appears in print." Hence, he pleads, "I need criticism the way a man dying of thirst needs water." The paradoxes of his life are all here: his great faith, his frustration with earthly authority, his obligation to honesty, and his essential sophistication. This is the man who "read Decline and Fall and Vile Bodies over more than any other book except for Ulysses: I mean before coming here."

The Courage for Truth includes 20 years of Merton's correspondence with fellow writers, among them Czeslaw Milosz, Boris Pasternak, James Baldwin, and even Henry Miller. Over time Merton's order gave him increasing intellectual and political leeway--though never quite enough. In one letter, he assures Milosz: "You can say nothing about the Church that can shock me. If I stay with the Church it is out of a disillusioned love, and with a realization that I myself could not be happy outside, though I have no guarantee of being happy inside either. In effect, my 'happiness' does not depend on any institution or establishment. As for you, you are part of my 'Church' of friends who are in many ways more important to me than the institution."

From Publishers Weekly

Famed Trappist monk Thomas Merton corresponded with an extraordinary range of writers, among them Evelyn Waugh, Henry Miller, Jacques Maritain, Walker Percy and William Carlos Williams. He spoke out boldly against political oppression, social injustice, racism and nuclear weapons, and expressed solidarity with Boris Pasternak, Czeslaw Milosz and James Baldwin. His letters to Nicaraguan poet Ernesto Cardenal and to Argentine feminist Victoria Ocampo reflect his deep love of Latin American culture. Spanning the years from 1948 to Merton's death in 1968, this fourth volume of his correspondence shows the crystallization of his belief that speaking the truth is an obligation which ultimately brings persons of integrity into confrontation with power structures and vested interests. Highly articulate and quietly inspirational, these letters also testify to Merton's conviction that contemplation is the source from which all action should flow. Bochen is secretary of the International Thomas Merton Society.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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December 7, 2002
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