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Follow the Ecstasy: The Hermitage Years of Thomas Merton [Paperback]

By John Howard Griffin (Author)
Our Price $ 11.90  
Retail Value $ 14.00  
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Item Number 128943  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   158
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.14" Width: 6.44" Height: 0.57"
Weight:   0.74 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 28, 1993
Publisher   Orbis Books
ISBN  0883448475  
EAN  9780883448472  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
The author of Black Like Me takes readers inside the world of Thomas Merton, presenting an intimate look at the last critical years of his life--the period that coincided with the monk's long-sought permission to withdraw to a hermitage on the monastery grounds of Gethsemani. This edition includes a rare selection of Griffin's photographs of Merton and his hermitage.

Buy Follow the Ecstasy: The Hermitage Years of Thomas Merton by John Howard Griffin from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9780883448472 & 0883448475

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More About John Howard Griffin

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! John Howard Griffin was a musicologist who served, and was injured, in the Air Force during World War II. Blind for a decade, Griffin became an acclaimed novelist and essayist and when his sight returned, almost miraculously, he became a remarkable portrait photographer. Following his cross-racial exploration in the South, he was personally vilified, hanged in effigy in his hometown, threatened with death, and severely beaten by the Klu Klux Klan. Respected internationally as a human rights activist, he worked with major Civil Rights leaders throughout the era, taught at the University of Peace, and delivered more than a 1,200 lectures in America and abroad. He is the author of The Devil Rides Outside and posthumous works such as Prison of Culture: Beyond Black Like Me. Robert Bonazzi is a widely published writer and the author of Living the Borrowed Life, Maestro of Solitude: Poems and Poetics, and The Scribbling Cure: Poems and Prose Poems. He is the literary executor for the estate of John Howard Griffin. He lives in San Antonio, Texas. Studs Terkel was a cultural commentator, columnist, interviewer, and author of many books on American history and culture, including Touch and Go: A Memoir and The Studs Terkel Reader: My American Century.

John Howard Griffin was born in 1920 and died in 1980.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
A Wonderful Look at Merton's Final Years  May 7, 2000
I purchased this book after reading the review from the reader in New Orleans. This is a loving look at the final years of Thomas Merton's life. (1965 - 1968) I have only recently delved into the writings and life of this incredible man. John Howard Griffin was a close friend of Merton's and writes about his friend from within Merton's hermitage and Merton's personal journals. It is a shame that Grifffin's health prevented him from completing what was to be an authorized biography of this fascinating mystical monk. The photographs taken by Griffin are a terrific addition to a very readable book on a man and a spititual figure that I greatly admire. If you have any interest in Thomas Merton the man, then you will cherish this book. One of Griffin's lines is a nice summary of Merton, if Merton can be summarized - "What mattered was to love and to be in one piece in silence and not to try to be anybody outwardly".
An excellent book on Hermitage years of Merton  Jul 29, 1999
This book does an excellent job in pointing out some of the real stuggles of Thomas Merton. It is very helpful in seeking to understand the person Thomas Merton. If one reads Merton, it is evident that Merton loved God and was committed to his vocation. However, it is very clear in this work that love for God and commitment to vocation does not eliminate personal struggles with right and wrong. Griffin does a good job showing a side of Merton that so many seek to ignore. Also, the book has many good pictures. This is a good book to read.
The real scoop on Merton's "affair" and his last years  Jul 9, 1999
This book is a must-read for those seeking to understand the final years of Merton, whose importance for contemporary spirituality cannot be underestimated. Based on Merton's own journals (to which Griffin had full access during extended stays in Merton's hermitage after the latter's untimely death in 1968), the material in this book was originally intended to be part of the officially authorized Merton biography, which ill health prevented Griffin from completing. This book is not for those whose love of Merton is confined to such early works as The Seven Storey Mountain and The Sign of Jonas. However, those who seek insights into the struggles underlying the writings he produced from 1965-68, encompassing subjects such as the Vietnam war, the evils of racism, and the practice of Zen, are likely to find this book very rewarding. John Howard Griffin (author of Black Like Me) was an excellent writer in his own right, a skilled photographer, and a friend of Merton. All three of these characteristics contribute to Follow the Ecstasy, which includes a number of intimate photographs of Merton and his hermitage. Griffin's own contemplative bent shows itself in empathic descriptions of Merton's hermit existence, with well-chosen quotations from the monk's journals. Of particular interest to some will be the very detailed account of Merton's extended involvement with a young nurse he encountered while hospitalized following back surgery. This relationship, which is referred to in very vague and sometimes sinister-sounding terms in other works on Merton, is laid bare here in all its emotional splendor. Those who love Merton may be astonished at both his vulnerability and his capacity for self-deception. For most of us, to fall deeply in love with a young woman whose feelings are reciprocal, and to arrange trysts that do not include sexual consummation of such love, would not constitute a major moral dilemma. But most of us are not world-renowned spiritual writers vowed to lives of celibate chastity. To top it all off, Merton had only recently (the year was 1966) been granted long-sought permission to live as a hermit on an isolated piece of monastery property, in order to deepen his experience of solitude. Anyone who has ever fallen in love can identify with much of what Merton went through, but few can ever have known the exquisite anguish engendered by his circumstances at the time. It is almost comical at times how he struggles both to rationalize his behavior and to see through his own rationalizations. He is a man deeply and painfully torn. On the one side, he is beset by a tide of emotions he has never before experienced and is ill-prepared to handle, while on the other, he is solemnly vowed to a life he not only loves, but believes is his divinely given vocation. Although some would be scandalized by such revelations, others will see in them yet another poignant example of the divine mystery played out in the arena of human affairs. What Griffin makes clear is that Merton fully expected this episode to become public knowledge after his death, and that he wanted those who might have idolized him to see him, warts and all, in all his human frailty. It is plain that Merton was less interested in adulation than in honesty, even regarding events in his life that show him in a less than flattering light. If there was some degree of duplicity in the machinations he undertook for the sake of spending time with his beloved, I believe it is offset by his ultimate fidelity to his Beloved. Griffin handles all of this with consummate sensitivity and grace, explicitly noting that he obtained full permission from the woman in question prior to publishing details of her relationship with this celebrated monk. Although this chapter alone, with its touching descriptions of Merton's internal spiritual combat, would've made the book worthwhile for me, there are gems scattered throughout, and an informative introduction by Robert Bonazzi. A must for real fans and/or scholars of Thomas Merton.

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