Archives For Human Nature


Let Us Hear from
One of Merton’s Students

A Review of

Merton’s Palace of Nowhere
(40th Anniversary Edition)
James Finley

Paperback: Ave Maria Press, 2018
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Reviewed by Win Bassett


Do we need another book about Thomas Merton—the man, monk, and writer who inspired many to enter monastic life, some to write spiritual memoirs, and hopefully more than both of those numbers combined to pray? Even before Merton’s death in December of 1968, an industry of texts about him had appeared. Following his perplexing electrocution by a floor fan in Thailand, the field of Merton studies only multiplied (and for good reasons). But after one reads Merton’s primary texts—including his seven-volume journal set—and the works of his closest associates, including Patrick Hart (Merton’s last secretary), there is not much more to explore about the man. I believe Merton himself would tell us to go to prayer rather than to pick up another book about the one time the author met him. I can read Henri Nouwen’s words until the cows come home, but his book about Merton, Encounters with Merton: Spiritual Reflection, takes this very premise.

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