Striving Towards Being: The Letters of Thomas Merton and Czeslaw Milosz

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9780374271008: Striving Towards Being: The Letters of Thomas Merton and Czeslaw Milosz

In a selection from their ten-year correspondence from 1958 to 1968, the Trappist monk and the Polish writer debate the role of communism in the Cold War era, share advice about literature, and exchange contrasting views on the natural world.

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Review:

These letters, written from 1958 to 1968, trace the growing friendship and fascinating arguments between the Trappist monk Thomas Merton and Czeslaw Milosz, the poet who was later exiled from his native Poland, yet went on to win the 1980 Nobel Prize in literature. The quest to make sense out of the human condition is the bridge between their worlds of literature and religion, and the two men have a lot to say to one another. Is humanity inherently good? Can art save us from ourselves? Can war be justified? These letters are worth reading strictly for the quality of the writing and the thinking, but they are also valuable as literary biography and cultural history.

About the Author:

Czeslaw Milosz is Professor of Slavic Languages and Literature at the University of California at Berkeley.

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Merton, Thomas, Milosz, Czeslaw
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