"Souls are like athletes, that need opponents worthy of them, if they are to be tried and extended and pushed to the full use of their powers, and rewarded according to their capacity": First Edition of The Authors Landmark Work The Seven Storey Mountain; signed by Thomas Merton
The Seven Storey Mountain.
Item Number: 81934
New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1948.
First edition, first-issue binding in white cloth and in the first-issue dust jacket with the photo on rear panel captioned: “Author is second from the left.” Signed by Thomas Merton on the half-title page. Fine in a very good dust jacket. Signed first editions are rare.
In 1941, a brilliant, good-looking young man decided to give up a promising literary career in New York to enter a monastery in Kentucky, from where he proceeded to become one of the most influential writers of this century. Thomas Merton's first book, The Seven Storey Mountain, describes his early doubts, his conversion to a Catholic faith of extreme certainty, and his decision to take life vows as a Trappist. Although his conversionary piety sometimes falls into sticky-sweet abstractions, Merton's autobiographical reflections are mostly wise, humble, and concrete. The best reason to read The Seven Storey Mountain, however, may be the one Merton provided in his introduction to its Japanese translation: "I seek to speak to you, in some way, as your own self. Who can tell what this may mean? I myself do not know, but if you listen, things will be said that are perhaps not written in this book. And this will be due not to me but to the One who lives and speaks in both." It is listed by The National Review's list of the 100 best non-fiction books of the century, and was also listed as one of the top 100 Christian Books That Changed the Century (2000) by William J. Petersen.