Learning to Love: Exploring Solitude and Freedom: The Journals of Thomas Merton, Volume Six: 1966-1967

Learning to Love: Exploring Solitude and Freedom: The Journals of Thomas Merton, Volume Six: 1966-1967

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by Thomas Merton
     
 

The sixth volume of Thomas Merton's acclaimed journals is the most revealing and unpredictable yet as the cloistered Merton falls in love with a beautiful young nurse. Revealed here in its entirety for the first time, Merton's passion spills across the pages as he struggles to reconcile this unexpected love with his monastic vows. Spanning from 1966 to 1967, Learning…  See more details below

Overview

The sixth volume of Thomas Merton's acclaimed journals is the most revealing and unpredictable yet as the cloistered Merton falls in love with a beautiful young nurse. Revealed here in its entirety for the first time, Merton's passion spills across the pages as he struggles to reconcile this unexpected love with his monastic vows. Spanning from 1966 to 1967, Learning to Love finds Merton in his most active period. Troubled by events at home and abroad, he expresses anger at wars in Vietnam and the Middle East and outrage at racism and injustice in American society. At his intellectual peak, he reads widely and voraciously, carries on an active global correspondence, receives such high-profile friends as Joan Baez, Jacques Maritain, and Thich Nhat Hanh, and writes insightful essays on topics from Zen Buddhism and Vatican II to the works of Albert Camus - all the while penning poignant love poems for M., furtively calling her from the monastery, and arranging to meet with her, all the while searching his soul for the answers to this crisis of the heart that has "made a mess out of everything." Inevitably, the affair is discovered and Merton is forced to acknowledge the consequences of his situation. Bewildered and desperate, he reassesses his need for love and his commitment to celibacy and the monastic vocation and discovers, painfully, that the only possible solitude is "the solitude of the frail, mortal, limited, distressed, rebellious human person, made of his loves and fears, facing his own true present." Revealing Merton to he "very human" in his chronicles of the ecstasy and torment of being in love, Learning to Love comes full circle as he recommits himself completely and more deeply to his vocation - the very "root-fact of my existence" - with a new and deeper understanding of the nature of both worldly and spiritual love.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
During the period these entries were written, Merton (Trappist monk, peace activist, and author of , , , and other spiritual works) carried on an affair with a young nurse and grew outraged at the fighting in Vietnam and racism in the United States. This sixth volume of his journals reflect these concerns as well as other wide ranging interests from Zen Buddhism and Vatican II to the works of Albert Camus. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060654849
Publisher:
Harper San Francisco
Publication date:
10/01/1997
Series:
Journals of Thomas Merton
Pages:
382
Product dimensions:
6.45(w) x 9.56(h) x 1.35(d)

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