RUN TO THE MOUNTAIN by Thomas Merton

RUN TO THE MOUNTAIN

The Journals of Thomas Merton, Vol. I: 1939-1941
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Religious questionings, literary criticism, and a lifelong penchant for social comment and self-analysis characterize these musings, which vividly evoke the US on the verge of war and Merton on the verge of monastic life. More than 25 years have passed since the author's sudden death at age 53 in 1968, and his private journals, which formed the basis of several of his books, can now be published. This initial volume, edited by a monastic colleague and collaborator, introduces us to Merton as a young intellectual and convert to Catholicism during the years 193941. It records his life in New York City's Greenwich Village, his stint teaching English at Columbia University Extension, his attempts to get published, his short visit to Cuba, and 18 months on the faculty of St. Bonaventure's University in New York state. Merton comes across as a fertile if not always original mind as he discusses such contemporary figures as James Joyce, Pablo Picasso, Dylan Thomas, and T.S. Eliot, meanwhile striving to understand life and the European war through the exciting new vision opened up to him by Catholic belief and Scholastic thought. He takes a writer's delight in playing with words, and at times his own prose is Joycean in its allusiveness as he attempts to capture the moment. We read of how Merton thought of joining the Franciscans, then of working with the poor at Friendship House in Harlem, before deciding to become a Trappist monk. Much of his writing here resembles The Seven Storey Mountain, and it contains occasional purple passages of pious fervor and rejection of the world that he would repudiate in the '60s. As in his later works, Merton sometimes appears a bystander to life, trapped in literary self-consciousness. No startling revelations, but a must for Merton scholars and devotees. ($50,000 ad/promo)

Pub Date: July 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-06-065474-0
Page count: 384pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1995




MORE BY THOMAS MERTON

NonfictionTHE OTHER SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN by Thomas Merton
by Thomas Merton
NonfictionDANCING IN THE WATER OF LIFE by Thomas Merton
by Thomas Merton
NonfictionSTRIVING TOWARDS BEING by Thomas Merton
by Thomas Merton

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

IndieSPIRITUAL LIVING FOR BUSY PEOPLE by Jose de la  Torre
by Jose de la Torre