Thomas Merton: An Introduction

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"He was something of a legendary figure among the old boys of his generation and he was clearly something of a rebel."

That description of Thomas Merton by his English headmaster influenced this captivating introductory look at the monk-writer and his works. Merton scholar William H. Shannon presents Merton's life story "to suggest that this mid-twentieth-century writer can speak meaningfully to women and men now several years into a new century, to develop…some of the themes that make their way through his writings, and to suggest a possible order for reading his books as one enters into the huge library of Mertoniana…."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780867167108
  • Publisher: Franciscan Media
  • Publication date: 10/28/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 199
  • Sales rank: 1,172,511
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Meet the Author

WILLIAM H. SHANNON, professor emeritus in the religious studies department at Nazareth College, is a priest of the Diocese of Rochester, New York. He is the author of numerous books, including Thomas Merton’s Paradise Journey: Writings on Contemplation, An Introduction and Exploring the Catechism of the Catholic Church. He is the founding president of the International Thomas Merton Society.
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Table of Contents

Foreword to the Revised Edition xi
Foreword to the First Edition xiii
Introduction 1
Chapter 1 The Life Story 5
The Pre-Monastic Years
The Monastic Years
Chapter 2 Is Merton for Today, or Is He Passe? 47
Chapter 3 The Merton Gallery 57
Themes to Look for in Merton's Writings
The Different Ways People View Thomas Merton
Interiority: Speaking Out for the Inside
Prayer: The Journey Toward Interiority-Contemplative Spirituality
God: The Hidden Ground of Love
Human Identity
Community (of Persons) vs. Collectivity (of Individuals)
Freedom as the Expression of One's Inner Truth
Chapter 4 The Merton Library: What to Read First 121
Merton's Classification
The Seven Storey Mountain
The Sign of Jonas
No Man Is an Island
New Seeds of Contemplation
Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander
Zen and the Birds of Appetite
The Asian Journal
What Next? Letters, Journals, Other Works
Epilogue 169
Merton's Works Cited 173
Notes 177
Index 187
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  • Posted June 20, 2009

    Thomas Merton: A Man for Our Time

    William Shannon has written a user friendly book for people who are beginning their research into Merton's writing. Shannon has spent his entire academic life as a scholar of Merton. As such his knowledge of the subject is extensive but he writes in a friendly non academic style.
    After the biographical section, the writer reviews all the major books written by Merton. Shannon encourages the novice Merton reader with a suggested order to begin reading the books. In addition, Shannon lists the books Merton thought were more successful and those that Merton disliked. This is an inexpensive paperback book that is thorough in covering its subject matter and easy to read. You can't go wrong with this purchase!

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