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Dialogues with Silence:
Though best known for his spiritual writings, Thomas Merton also made drawings, whose Eastern-style brushwork have a meditative power rivaling that of his finest prayers. In Dialogues with Silence, these (mostly unpublished) drawings--of human figures, churches, the crucifixion, and abstract forms--are paired on pages with the texts of his well-known prayers. Editor Jonathan Montaldo's introduction to this volume asserts that Merton, the author of classics including The Seven Storey Mountain, became a:
witness for his generation of the way out of self-defeating individualism by tracking anew the boundaries of that ancient other country, whose citizens recognize a hidden ground of unity and love among all living things.He might have added that, for Merton, one direct escape from individualism was the act of loving other individuals, an aspect of Merton's character that shines clearly in the many portraits here. Notably, the most arresting of these images is a face without features. It hovers next to a prayer that begins, "O God, my God, why am I so mute?" --Michael Joseph Gross [via]