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Merton's Correspondence with:

Paul C. Metcalf; Paul Metcalf; Metcalf, Paul Cuthbert; Paul Cuthbert Metcalf

Metcalf, Paul C., 1917-1999  printer


Descriptive Summary

Record Group: Section A - Correspondence
Dates of materials: 1967-1968
Volume: 6 item(s); 8 pg(s)

Scope and Content


Paul Cuthbert Metcalf was a novelist associated with the Black Mountain school of the 1950's. He was the great-grandson of Herbert Melville. Brought up in the northeast, he went to Harvard for college but dropped out. His first attempt at writing after this was a failure. According to Metcalf, "[a]round 1940 or so I spent a summer living and studying (and drinking) with the poet Conrad Aiken." He held a number of small jobs after this until in 1945, he contacted tuberculosis. In his recovery in the mountains of northern Georgia, he read voraciously. Soon after, he wrote his first published book, Will West. He began his association with Black Mountain College with a connection he had gained earlier in life. Charles Olsen had visited Metcalf's family while doing Melville research when Metcalf was 14. Through Olsen, Metcalf met poet Jonathan Williams of the Jargon Society, who became Metcalf's first publisher. It was through Williams that Metcalf was put in touch with Merton about writing for Monks Pond. Another of Merton's friends, Guy Davenport, became a fan of Metcalf's work. At the time of writing to Merton, Metcalf was selling real estate in Chester, Massachusetts. He express a desire to Merton to get out of this and pursue writing full time. He was able to do this in the late sixties after receiving the inheritance from the death of his parents. By the end of his life, he had published over 20 books. Merton uses a section of his book Patagoni about Pre-Columbian South America. (Source: "Metcalf, Paul" World Authors." 1999. Wilson Biographies Plus. Online. H.W. Wilson. Bellarmine University Library, Louisville, KY. 16 Dec. 2005. ‹›.)

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Related Information and Links

See also contributions to Monks Pond, pp. 50, 63, and 159.

Series List

This Record Sub-Group is not divided into Series and is arranged chronologically.

Container List

#DateFrom/ToFirst LinesPub ✓Notes
 y/m/dMerton Scan ✉ 
1. 1967/12/20 TLS to Merton Jonathan Williams has written me of your editing venture, and suggested that I send you something. «detailed view»
2. 1968/01/08 TL[c] from Merton Thanks very much for the South American piece which I like a lot (some of those same volcanoes «detailed view»
3. 1968/01/19 TLS to Merton What do I do? What do I think? Well, now... Sort of like the Wallace Stevens poem: HOW TO LIVE. «detailed view»
4. 1968/03/20 TLS to Merton MONK'S POND is a handsome production - for something that's about to go out of business. «detailed view»
5. undated/no/no TLS[x] to Center from Metcalf, Paul My correspondence with Merton consisted of only one or two inconsequential postcards, in connection [verso of previous letter from the Merton Center asking if Metcalf had additional correspondence] «detailed view»
6. undated/no/no TLS[x]  from Metcalf, Paul We are writing to you regarding your correspondence with the late Thomas Merton. Almost all of Fr. [Metcalf's response is typed on the second page of the letter - see next record] «detailed view»

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