The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University

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Merton Center Manuscripts:

'Van Doren, Mark, 1894-1972'

Mark Van Doren

Mark Van Doren won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1940 for his 1939 volume of collected poems and was a literary critic and professor. He had a profound effect on Merton as a professor of English at Columbia University in New York. Van Doren was at Columbia from 1920 to 1959. Merton stayed in contact with Van Doren after leaving Columbia and after entering the monastery. Van Doren selected the pieces for Merton's Thirty Poems and helped get them published. Merton also knew Van Doren's wife, Dorothy, and sons Charles and John. Mark Van Doren visited Merton at Gethsemani a few times and met once with him in Louisville. (Source: The Road to Joy, p. 3.)

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