Friday, February 23, 2007

merton & friends

An excellent review of the upcoming book, Merton & Friends, by Jim Harford is here. The review is by Jim Forest for The Catholic Worker.

I am especially interested in this book because it chronicles the life (1953 – 1967) of Jubilee magazine – a Catholic publication founded by Rice and co-edited with Merton and Lax. The magazine was meant to be, among other things, a “bridge between the religious and the secular”.

It was a constant voice of encouragement to anyone who was drawn to Christianity's deeper waters.

Those people that I know who remember the magazine say that it was "brilliant”, and “a treasure”.

I hope to see some of the magazines soon, and will report here on my findings!


  1. Beth, Why is it when you visit Barnes&Nobles on line the book is not available as a new book...same thing if I visit the local store or Powells for that matter. Seems funny that a recent book isn't readily available. Just wondered if you ran into the same thing.


  2. I think that the book hasn't been "released" from the publisher yet. I have already ordered the book from Amazon, but they say that it will not be shipped for 4-6 weeks.

  3. Beth, you may be right, one site had it released in October, another in January, but maybe there was a delay...thanks! JPC

  4. Beth, I would like to get this one too, and also, "Echoing Silence. Thomas Merton on the Vocation of Writing", by Thomas Merton, edited by Robert Inchausti. It just came out this month, and I read a review in a magazine (March 07) called 'Shambhala Sun'. That magazine is online, actually, so you can read the review (but they don't have the pictures). A very good picture of Merton at his writing desk in the hermitage.

  5. THanks, Gabrielle. I like that title, "Echoing Silence". Let me know what you think of the book.

  6. The reason why the book has not been released is because the publisher and author "borrowed" copyright photographs without permission. They were unwilling to resolve the situation and so the book is halted.

    As for the author, he confesses to have never met Merton and so there cannot be much new information. It is more of a "I am important because I had lunch with someone who once knew someone." kind of book. The book is fact challenged and unfortunately misses the opportunity to be inspirational.

  7. thanks for the information, anonymous. I gather that Jim Harford worked at the Jubilee office in NYC with Rice and (sometimes) Lax. Of course, Merton was at Gethsemani.

    I am looking forward to the information that the book might shed on the Jubilee magazine itself. So far, I can find very little about that magazine on the web (other than an excellent dissertation paper by Dr. Rivera).

    That's interesting about the copyright problem with photos. Evidently Jim Forest's book about Merton ran into the same problem with some of Rice's photos. Do you suppose they are Rice's photos that are causing the problem?

  8. I agree with you on the dissertation paper by Dr. Rivera - it is superb. She would do well to expand it into a book.

    I was under the impression that Harford never worked on the magazine but was on the board of directors towards the end and visited and corresponded with Lax a bit.

    I have no knowledge about Jim Forest's book and any photo dispute. I think it is unfortunate about the current book.

    I look forward to a better writer with a spiritual rather than a name-dropping theme revisiting the Jubilee topic. There is so much left to be explored.

  9. I just read Jim Forest's review of the book per your link. He is a lovely writer and now I understand your question about the photos.

    It is too bad that it wasn't resolved better but by allowing a photo to publish without credit, it opens the door to abundant usage of a photo.

    It would be interesting to see the Jubliee back issues re-released as an anthology with annotation. Perhaps one day :)

  10. Well, I have the Friends book ordered. I sure hope that it is not a name dropping book, because that really turns me off.

    I have asked Dr. Pearson, at the Merton Institute about getting the Jubilee magazines online, but he says that would be a copyright nightmare. There are a few libraries around that have full (or close to full) sets. The closest one to me is in Miami. I hope to get down there soon to browse and read the magazines. I guess there are about 100 issues.


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