Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton is much beloved by many, reflecting the evolution of his thought, precocious for American readers, to be sure. What is unique about his writings is the combination of a contemporary and informed critique of society combined with an undisguised defense of not only monasticism but also solitude and eremitism. This is one part of the “contradictory” nature of Merton — the more benign part. The other part is the extrovert thriving on writing, talking, planning, “engaging,” and yet the solitary, a contradiction observed by his own fellow monks as well as outside observers. (Entry revised May 12).