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When Prophecy Still Had a Voice the Letters of Thomas Merton and Robert Lax

by Arthur W. Biddle

  • ISBN: 9780813121680
  • ISBN10: 081312168X

When Prophecy Still Had a Voice the Letters of Thomas Merton and Robert Lax

by Arthur W. Biddle

  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Univ Pr of Kentucky
  • Publish date: 01/01/2001
  • ISBN: 9780813121680
  • ISBN10: 081312168X
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Description: When Thomas Merton (1915-1968) was twenty years old, he met Robert Lax (1915-), who was to become his best friend. In 1941 Merton entered into the Abbey of Gethsemani; he and Lax saw each other only four more times. Yet their long friendship was maintained and strengthened through their correspondence.

Unconstrained by rules of grammar or conventions of spelling, their letters betray a giddy delight in wordplay. Through puns, portmanteaus, and inside jokes, their joy reveals the love of true friends. Lax and Merton shared with one another their hopes, dreams, triumphs, tragedies, fears, and doubts. Their correspondence is filled with reminiscences of friends and faculty from their years at Columbia University, commentaries on the international political scene, and discussions of literary influences.

This thirty year exchange began after Merton returned to New York from a week with Lax's family, when he dashed off a note on June 17, 1938. The final epistle in this extraordinary correspondence was written by Lax on December 8, 1968. Merton died five days later and never received it.

Arthur Biddle has collected every letter known to exist between Merton and Lax, a total of 346, less than half of which have been previously published. He also includes chronologies of their lives and the text of a lengthy interview with Lax.

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