“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time": Thomas Merton's No Man Is An Island; inscribed by him
No Man Is An Island.
Item Number: 96080
New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1955.
First edition, early printing of Merton’s reflections on the spiritual life. Octavo, original cloth. Presentation copy, inscribed by the author on the half-title page, “A – with all best wishes in Xt Fr. M Louis.” Near fine in a very good dust jacket with some light wear to the crown and foot of the spine. Books signed by Merton are rare as he lived most of his life in the Abbey of Gethsemani.
In 1941, aspiring author Thomas Merton decided to give up a promising literary career in New York to enter the Abbey of Gethsemani, a community of monks belonging to the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (Trappists), the most ascetic Roman Catholic monastic order. From Gethsemani, Merton proceeded to become arguably the most influential American Catholic author of the 20th century. The twenty-seven years he spent in the monastery impelled him into the political arena, where he became, according to Daniel Berrigan, the conscience of the peace movement of the 1960's. In No Man Is An Island, Merton explains the necessity of spirituality in creating a meaningful life through sixteen chapters including: Love Can Be Kept Only by Being Given Away, The Inward Solitude, and Silence.