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Thomas Merton's Gethsemani: Landscapes Of Paradise [Hardcover]

By Monica Weis, Jonathan Montaldo (Introduction by), Patrick Hart (Foreward By) & Harry L. Hinkle (Photographer)
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Introduction by Jonathan MontaldoForeword by Brother Patrick Hart, OCSO

For twenty-seven years, renowned and beloved monk Thomas Merton (1915-1968) belonged to Our Lady of Gethsemani, a Trappist monastery established in 1848 amid the hills and valleys near Bardstown, Kentucky. In Thomas Merton's Gethsemani, dramatic black-and-white photographs by Harry L. Hinkle and artful text by Merton scholar Monica Weis converge in a unique experience for lovers of Merton.

Hinkle was allowed unprecedented access to many areas inside the monastery and on its grounds that are generally restricted. His photographs invite the reader to experience the various knobs, lakes, woods, and hermitages Merton sought out for times of solitude and contemplation and for reading and writing. These unique images, each accompanied by a passage from Merton's writings, evoke personal reflection and a deeper understanding of how and why Merton came to recognize himself as a part of his Kentucky landscape.

Woven throughout the book, Weis's text explores Merton's fascination with nature not only at Gethsemani, but during his early childhood, throughout his spiritual conversion to Roman Catholicism, and while a member of the Trappist community. She examines how Merton's lifelong interaction with nature subtly revealed and informed his profound spiritual experiences and his writing about contemplation. Thomas Merton's Gethsemani replicates Merton's path on his solitary hikes in the woods and conveys the wonder of the landscapes that inspired him.

Item Specifications...

Pages   157
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 11.22" Width: 8.76" Height: 0.85"
Weight:   2.45 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jun 10, 2005
Publisher   University Press of Kentucky
ISBN  0813123488  
EAN  9780813123486  


Availability  0 units.


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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Thomas Mertson's Gethsemani  Nov 23, 2005
Thomas Merton's Gethsemani, Landscapes of Paradise by Monica Weis was, for me, a worthwhile read on a number of levels. Her premise was fascinating namely that Merton expanded his soul and grew progressively in his relationship with God by embracing not only the rules and rigors of monasticism but the mini-universe of the physical monastery, the land of Gethsemani itself. Weis details Merton's apprehension of this "paradise" with deceptive simplicity - the hills, rivers, storms, birds, smells and rhythms not only beckon him to deeper solititude but lead him into expanding realization, prayer and praise. And that for me, was the core accomplishment of the book. Weis never goes over the top. Her writing is clear and definite without strain, puffery or poetry. Rather the poetry of the book is her step by step detailing of the changes occuring within Merton himself as he allows Gethsemani - its physicality and metaphor - into his mind and heart. She traces the contours of a dynamic, poetic soul and the book shares the movement. Haley's black and white pictures of Gethsemani are simultaneously homey and mysterious; each invites a second look, a revaluation of your first response. His photography and Weis's premise go hand in hand. I remember one shot of a night sky - a black expanse spangled with hundreds of stars. It is sweeping and dramatic, far more majestic than those of woods, sheds and farm tools. Yet it locked perfectly with Weis's final chapters on Merton's (mystic) experience of a palpable unity; his sense that the world's religions have a common source and his full embrace of the METAPHOR he lived at Gethsemani. The book was my summer's morning read - a chapter a day with a cup of Starbuck's! A good way to start a day.
 
"thomas merton, the icon"  Oct 11, 2005
Five stars for the stunning photography of Harry L. Hinkle, and the wonderful layout of this volume, with it's telling quotes from Thomas Merton's own nature writings. His nature oeuvre is substantial, and this volume fills a need. Unfortunately, the essay text by Monica Weis is unbalanced. One is left with a very misleading idea of what this man was really about. He was not just a Franciscan icon lost in the rapture of the forests. On one level, we do a disservice to this great man in constantly perpetuating this kind of mythology. Too many reverential, saccharine treatments have been printed already. Merton was so much more; and others, beginning with biographer Michael Mott, have brought real balanced treatment to the life of this extremely complex man.

In the Foreward, Brother Patrick Hart makes mention of pilgrimages to the the places of interest in the physical and spiritual odessey of Thomas Merton. Who are these dear people who feel the need to do precisely what Thomas Merton himself so often railed against? Please desist from attempting to create an Icon of this most complex of human beings.
 
Thomas Merton--being alive  Oct 11, 2005
Mr. Hinkles evocative and enduring photographs and Ms. Weis' lyrical
text complement each other in support of Thomas Merton's enormous life. This is a precious text largely because it celebrates the courage to
simply be. One can read about Merton's contemplative life and very nearly be with him--in his light under the trees and sky and birds which
are fundamental and which were so essential to his routine, his daily
habit. Weis' text in particular is a carefully crafted essay--both probing and reverential. The book is an acheivement.
 
expanding horizons  Sep 12, 2005
I'll admit. I bought this book because the photographer, Harry Hinkle, is my cousin's husband.BUT.. I found myself drawn past the incredible photography of both Merton Thomas and Harry to the moving and insightful writing. The sheer joy of life reflected in the words AND photographs of this book, make me want to look at everything with new eyes and heart.
 

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