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Merton's Correspondence with:

Czeslaw Milosz

Milosz, Czeslaw, 1911-2004  printer


Descriptive Summary

Record Group: Section A - Correspondence
Dates of materials: 1958-1968, 1990
Volume: 45 item(s); 95 pg(s)

Scope and Content


Czeslaw Milosz was a Polish poet who among his many accolades won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1980. Milosz was part of the Polish socialist resistance to the Nazis during World War II. After the war, he sought political asylum in France, opposing the repressive regime that came to power. His work, The Captive Mind was the first that caught Merton's attention and motivated him to write to Milosz. In 1960, Milosz accepted a professorship at the University of California, Berkeley, and lived in the United States for the rest of his life. Merton and Milosz first met at Gethsemani in September of 1964. Later, Merton would visit Milosz in California in October of 1968. Christine Bochen notes a number of diverse themes in their correspondence: "candid critiques of each other's work; suggestions for reading; and reflections on nature and history, religion and the Church, mass media and American society." (Source: The Courage for Truth, pp. 53-54.)

Usage Guidelines and Restrictions

Please click here for general restrictions concerning Merton's correspondence.

Related Information and Links

All letters between Merton and Milosz are published in Striving Towards Being, edited by Robert Faggen; and see also Cold War Letters #56 and other letters from Merton to Milosz in The Courage for Truth, pp. 53-86.

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. 1958/12/06 TLS from Merton Having read your remarkable book "The Captive Mind" I find it necessary to write to you, as without «detailed view»
2. 1959/01/17 TALS to Merton Your letter traveled quite a long time. I thank you cordially for it and feel it created already «detailed view»
3. 1959/02/28 (#01) TLS from Merton Thanks for your splendid letter. It was delayedin [sic] reaching me by the inevitable monastic «detailed view»
4. 1959/02/28 (#02) TL[c] from Merton Thanks for your splendid letter. It was delayedin [sic] reaching me by the inevitable monastic «detailed view»
5. 1959/02/28 (#03) TNS from Merton I realize it might seem a great impertinence to offer this as reading for people behind the Iron [Merton sent this note attached to something he wrote - in Striving Towards Being, Faggen identifies this as a note attached to "Letter to an Innocent Bystander"] «detailed view»
6. 1959/05/21 TL[c] from Merton The only trouble with receiving letters as good and full as yours, [part of the right margin of the first page cut off] «detailed view»
7. 1959/05/no? (#01) TLS to Merton You seem to give me credit of wisdom. In fact I am uneasy about being an adult and standing alone, «detailed view»
8. 1959/05/no? (#02) TLS to Merton And yet, I continue. This is a beautiful Easter day. Tits before the house are busy with their [dated by Faggen, "before May 21,1959 [-] Easter Saturday"] «detailed view»
9. 1959/07/16 TLS to Merton After I got your last letter I felt an urge to answer immediately but it is better I did not. «detailed view»
10. 1959/09/12 TLS from Merton First of all thanks for Alpha's book, Le Samedi Saint. I read it with interest, and found it «detailed view»
11. 1960/02/28 TALS to Merton Centuries. Once I wrote a long letter to you but did not send it. First, about your books. «detailed view»
12. 1960/05/06 (#01) TALS from Merton It is a shame to make so fine a letter as your last one wait so long for an answer, and yet it is «detailed view»
13. 1960/05/06 (#02) TL[c] from Merton It is a shame to make so fine a letter as your last one wait so long for an answer, and yet it is «detailed view»
14. 1960/07/08 TALS to Merton 1. You should not call yourself a bourgeois. First, if that term can be used in social sciences, «detailed view»
15. 1960/10/30 TLS to Merton A few weeks ago I came with my family to Berkeley where I teach Polish literature. Quite a turmoil «detailed view»
16. 1960/11/09 TL[c] from Merton It was a great pleasure to get your letter of Oct. 30th and to realize that you were actually «detailed view»
17. 1960/no/no? TL to Merton Your letters give me always joy. I should tell you something of my impressions from my reading [no date - Faggen places it between the 1960/02/28 and 1959/09/12 letters] «detailed view»
18. 1961/03/28 (#01) TALS[x] from Merton It is a terribly long time since your last letter. And it was a good one too. The better they are, «detailed view»
19. 1961/03/28 (#02) HLS[x] from Merton This is part an added note to the long letter I mailed this morning. Don't be perturbed about «detailed view»
20. 1961/05/30 TALS to Merton There are too many things to tell, which makes writing a letter hard. Those things are rather «detailed view»
21. 1961/06/05 TLS[x] from Merton Your letter is very meaningful to me. Without having anything specific to say eit[her] I respond «detailed view»
22. 1961/06/15 HLS to Merton Just a few words to correct the impression that I am more in angoisse than I am in it really [Faggen's book incorrectly prints "anguosse" instead of "angoisse"] «detailed view»
23. 1961/09/16 TLS[x] from Merton I wish I could write to you more often. To you I can talk, and begin to say what I want to say. «detailed view»
24. 1961/10/05 TALS to Merton My trip did not materialize, perhaps because of a routine or a feeling that there are many things «detailed view»
25. 1961/no/no? TALS to Merton I have read with astonishment your article on Heraclitus (or Herakleitos, as you justly spell) «detailed view»
26. 1962/01/18 TLS[x] from Merton Your letters are the best, I think, and therefore the hardest to answer. Or rather not the hardest, «detailed view»
27. 1962/02/no? HLS to Merton Just a few words to thank you for your letter and materials. "Song for the Death of Averroës" «detailed view»
28. 1962/03/14 (#01) TLS to Merton I am sad as I have been thinking these last times that perhaps I offended you, that I should not «detailed view»
29. 1962/03/14 (#02) TALS to Merton I add. The question of peace movements is important here, in view of a violent controversy around «detailed view»
30. 1962/03/21 transcript from Merton There are few people whose advice I respect as much as I do yours, and whatever you say I take [Cold War Letters #56 - transcript from bound set] «detailed view»
31. 1963/05/18 TLS to Merton I do nt [sic] know how to start the letter - so long time and yet so swift passage of time. «detailed view»
32. 1963/11/11 TAL[c] from Merton I waited quite a while for Laughlin to send the Polish poets, and then when he sent them, «detailed view»
33. 1964/08/31 HLS to Merton I am supposed to be in Chicago around Sept. 10 and at last I see the occasion to fly to Louisville «detailed view»
34. 1964/12/19 TL[c] from Merton Just a word to wish you the blessings of the holy season and to say I have recently written to Anne «detailed view»
35. 1964/12/31 TALS to Merton I write this on New Year's Eve which we spend traditionally at home, without any company, since that «detailed view»
36. 1965/03/30 TL[c] from Merton Your good reflective letter of New Year's Eve was one that I appreciated very much. In fact I saved «detailed view»
37. 1968/01/05 TL[c] from Merton It is a long time since I have heard from you. In fact three years ago to the day I remember «detailed view»
38. 1968/01/15 TLS to Merton I lived through quite turbulent two years. Very emotional. Also long stays in France. «detailed view»
39. 1968/02/no? HLS to Merton I know I wounded you by my last letter. Forgive me. Forgive my stupid and cruel jokes. «detailed view»
40. 1968/03/15 TL[c] from Merton Let me reassure you. There was absolutely nothing wounding in your letter. Anything you may «detailed view»
41. 1968/07/01 TLS[x] from Merton I'm fighting my way through another issue of my magazine, and am consoled by the quality of so much «detailed view»
42. 1968/07/29 TALS[x] from Merton The Penguin selection of Herbert is splendid. A very fine book. I keep being impressed by his work «detailed view»
43. 1968/11/21 HPCS[x] from Merton I have been in India about a month and have met quite a few interesting people. Seen monasteries, [written from Darjeeling, India] «detailed view»
44. 1990/09/08 TLS[x] from Bochen, Christine M. Thank you for your letter of August 27, 1990. I know that Farrar, Strauss, Giroux is publishing concerning letters the Merton Center did not have from Yale archive / publication of Merton-Milosz correspondence «detailed view»
45. undated/no/no other to Merton Un Chant [-] Anne [-] Du rivage ou je me tiens la terre s'éloigne, [- ] la clarté de ses bois [handwritten in pen: "1934 [-] Czeslaw Milosz traduit par O.V. de L. Milosz (Oscar-Vladislas de Lubisez Milosz, Czeslaw Milosz' uncle)] «detailed view»

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