Thomas Merton: Selected Essays

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Thomas Merton, Trappist monk, was one of the greatest spiritual writers of the twentieth century.  His published works include a hundred volumes in many genres.  But, it was perhaps in the essay form that Merton found his natural element.  This volume is the first to provide a broad cross-section of Merton's work as an essayist, collecting characteristic examples of his astonishing output and the range of his interests--from Faulkner and Zen to nuclear war and the contemplative life.

"This remarkable collection gives us Merton at his very best . . ." --Christopher Pramuk, author, Sophia: The Hidden Christ of Thomas Merton

"Simply put, this volume is a treasure!" --Christine M. Bochen, editor, Thomas Merton: Essential Writings

Patrick F. O'Connell is professor in the department of English and theology at Gannon University, Erie, Pennsylvania.  A founding member and former president of the International Thomas Merton Society, he edits The Merton Seasonal and is coauthor of The Thomas Merton Encyclopedia.

Book Details

Thomas Merton
Selected Essays
Patrick F. O'Connell
The volume certainly contains something for everyone but, more importantly, it serves as an excellent introduction to that Renaissance man, Thomas Merton.... this volume should become a standard text in the Merton literary canon.
Patrick O'Connell, among all of the many who have written about Merton, is uniquely qualified to take a judicious collection culled from the late monk's vast corpus.... He puts [Merton's] essays into historical order thus giving the reader some sense both of the maturing quality of Merton's style as well as an overview of the wide interests of the monk as he grew from his earlier concerns into the prophetic writings of the last years of his life.
In addition to choosing a rich mix of better--and lesser--known essays O'Connell has provided pleasingly succinct and yet thorough headnotes discussing the composition, publication, significance, context and content of each essay.... Whether writing formally or personally, Merton bends his writing toward the same bedrock beliefs again and again. Among them are the centrality of the Incarnation in any discussion of historical development; the primacy of love in all human interactions; the importance of breaking through the alienation and falseness so prevalent in the modern world to engage fully and solely with the reality of God's creation; and the need for contemplation and solitude.
What makes this a standout collection is the value added by the editor, and very useful headnotes preceding each essay [which are] models of textual criticism, setting out the provenance of the essays and the versions and reprints of each.
This is a fine collection of Merton's essays,showing the breadth, depth and development of his thinking. Not just for Merton enthusiasts, his words still have potency in our 21st century.
For Merton friends new and old, this volume gives the reader a broad understanding of the important issues which engaged his heart and mind.
...shows the vast breadth and scope of M.'s output as an essayist, and he admirably proves his point. To introduce each one of the essays, the editor has provided excellent headnotes, all of which I found informative and helpful.
The collection is a must-read for a student of the Merton canon, and a most welcome pedagogical aid to offer yet another generation of young scholars a profoundly illuminating experience of what goes on in the mind of a spiritual master - for the life of the world.
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