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Seven Storey Mountain


Publisher writes

The complete and unedited edition of Thomas Merton's famous autobiography, one of the greatest works of spiritual pilgrimage ever written. Travelling in his early years with his artist father in the United States, France and England, Thomas Merton prided himself on his worldly accomplishments. His year at Clare College, Cambridge, was indulgent, and although Columbia University to which he went next suited his temperament better, it did nothing to assuage his restlessness. Gradually Merton recognized his need for faith and became a Catholic. With his baptism he began entertaining thoughts of monasticism but his desire to enter the priesthood in a Franciscan monastery came to nothing, and he remained a lay teaching member of the order for some time. However, when he was twenty-seven he made a retreat to a Trappist monastery in Kentucky. This momentous experience convinced him that the silence of the Cistercian Order was what he craved. The Seven Storey Mountain tells the story of Merton's search for faith and peace in a world which first fascinated and then appalled him. It is written with the profound insight of a man who has seen himself clearly.

Author Information

Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton (1915-1968) was a Trappist monk, writer, peace and civil rights activist. His bestselling books include New Seeds of Contemplation.

Judges' and contributors' comments

Rupert Shortt: There’s something not quite right about (Merton); there’s something quite near the edge. But he should probably be there by dint of his popularity.
Cally Hammond: I really struggle with Thomas Merton; I know lots of people think he’s super.
John Pridmore: Nothing so searching or so honest had been written since Augustine’s Confessions, even though in the ‘40s, when it was published, the Roman church required Merton to keep quiet about, or only to hint at, some of his personal history.
Denise Inge: This work of spiritual autobiography by a Cistercian from Kentucky inspired a whole generation of monastics. He was a pioneer of ecumenical and interfaith dialogue.

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