MY ARGUMENT WITH THE GESTAPO: A Macaronic Journal by Thomas Merton


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This freeform journal kept by Thomas Merton when he was 26, facing his own personal crisis (""trying to find something: I don't know what"") as well as that of ""civilization in general,"" is now being published rather debatably as fiction and with only a faint resemblance (the publishers say otherwise) to The Seven Storey Mountain of seven years later. Merton at this time is in London, later in Paris, ""to see what is happening"" and to also resolve his own moral position on World War II and the doubtful justification of dying for ""pluck"" or Bovril. The fictional aspects consist of the increasingly interior, hallucinatory scenes prefaced by the earlier revisitation of people and places he had known (when a younger student in England). The macaronic of the subtitle indicates the stream of inchoate consciousness expressive of all three definitions of the word (Latin; mixed languages; jumbled) and by the close ""Pour makken a longue story raccourci""-the pidgin polyglot will be the favored form of transmission. None of this has, of course, the confessional surge of his autobiography; an overcast of greige indecision prevails throughout, and the book is primarily interesting as an earlier record of the young Merton experimenting with words and the options of spiritual survival.

Pub Date: July 3rd, 1969
ISBN: 081120586X
Publisher: Doubleday