|Date||Author||Title||Source||Quotation by Merton
|1958/04/25||John Collier||Indians of the Americas||
Jnl 3 ('52-'60) p. 197-98
||I am deeply moved by John Collier's book on The Indians of the Americas.... Until the beginning of the century it was assumed that the Indian problem and the harm done to the Indians arose from corrupt individuals in the government. But after 1900 the individuals concerned were honest and upright-and things went on as before for the policy, the system, the philosophy and the laws were themselves corrupt. Collier says "It was not individual corruption but collective corruption; corruption which did not know it was corrupt and which reached deep into the intelligence of the nation"¦collective corruption is more effectively carried into deed through agents not personally corrupt."
|1959/01/11||Edmund Wilson||American Earthquake. A Documentary of the Twenties and Thirties||
Jnl 3 ('52-'60) p. 246
||I really think that in almost everything I read I find new food for the spiritual life, new thoughts, new discoveries (for instance the deep spiritual content of Jan Van Eyck's portrait of the Arnolfinis)-a whole new light on my concept of the hieratic (in the good sense) in art. Or the Gregg book on non-violence-some LaFontaine "fables" (The Rêve d'un habitant du Mogra struck me deeply the last time I was in Louisville and I saw it in Gide's anthology). Three or four pieces on "religion" (decadent) in Edmund Wilson's collection of articles about the '30s (American Earthquake)-some things on Mayan civilization-Kierkegaard's "Works of Lov"-Guardini on Dostoevsky. etc. etc.
|1959/07/12||Henri Troyat||Case de l'Oncle Sam||
Jnl 3 ('52-'60) p. 304-05
||Borrowed from the Library of Congress Henri Troyat's La case de l'Oncle Sam. Journalism but refreshing-it is French journalism, and that is something intelligent.The book is something I need at the moment-to see this country again through French eyes and to realize, with relief, that I am not crazy. The faults of Gethsemani are American-puerility, rationalization, idiot belief in gadgets, fetish-worship of machines, and efficiency, love of a big, showy facade (and nothing behind it)-phony optimism, sentimentality, etc.
|1962/11/17||Ernesto Cardenal||Literatura indigena americana: Antología||
Ltrs: CforT p. 136
||Your poems about the Indians have been simply superb. I am sure your whole book [Literatura indígena americana: Antología] will be splendid and look forward to seeing it. You have a very great deal to say and I know it is most important. This is something far deeper than indigenismo with a political"”or religious"”hook inside the bait. This is a profound spiritual witness. Also a reparation, and a deep adoration of the Creator, an act of humility and love which the whole race of the Christian conquerors has been putting off and neglecting for centuries. It reminds me that some day I want to write something about Vasco de Quiroga. I have not forgotten about the Indians and all that they mean to us both.
|1963/08/28||Edmund Wilson||Apologies to the Iroquois with a Study of the Mohawks in High Steel||
Jnl 5 ('63-'65) p. 14
||Edmund Wilson's book Apology to the Iroquois is the kind of thing that moves me very deeply, more deeply than anything perhaps except the Old Testament Prophets. And in the same kind of way: sense of an inscrutable and very important mystery, the judgment of the white race and of "Christendom" by its acts and insensitivities. The centuries of blind willful cruelty and greed. The Iroquois have despaired of the whites almost as the Black Muslims have!!
|1964/12/19||Mark Van Doren||Narrative Poems: Jonathan Gentry||
Ltrs: RtoJ p. 49
||Which reminds me that the Narrative Poems came, and I like best The Mayfield Deer always. Your two books together with the bright covers are very comforting, a presence and a reassurance. Someone at least has done something worth while: you. Thanks for this one too, and for the other. I am sending you my new one [Seeds of Destruction], it has peace talk in it and anger about race. The peace talk was nearly not published but eventually got done up better and was allowed. So there it is. And to plague you more in a season when you are deluged, here is an article ["Rain and the Rhinoceros"] I was asked for, and wrote in the hermitage. As one can easily tell.
|1967/01/30||Theodora Kroeber||Ishi in Two Worlds: A Biography of the Last Wild Indian in North America||
Jnl 6 ('66-'67) p. 189
||am reading Ishi - which Doris Dana sent. A heartrending book about the last of the Yahi Indians - victims of genocide a hundred years ago. What a frightening past this country has - and yet people admire it. True, not all were vigilantes and a lot of Ranchers protested against the indiscriminate massacre. So later Vietnam today! An Indian war!
|1967/02/04||Theodora Kroeber||Ishi in Two Worlds: A Biography of the Last Wild Indian in North America||
Jnl 6 ('66-'67) p. 191
||Finished Ishi. A moving book. The best and the worst in America comes out in it. The furious stupidity and violence of vigilantes and the warm, touching friendliness of scholars. And Ishi who is the "real America" - at least who has the valid claim to be the America that was created natural.
|1967/08/12||John Howard Griffin||Black Like Me||
Ltrs: CforT p. 206
||I am looking for a photograph, taken by John Howard Griffin, the one who chemically changed the color of his skin so as to live among black people, and wrote a tremendous book [Black Like Me] about this experience.
|1967/09/02||Peter Nabokov||Two Leggings: The Making of a Crow Warrior||
Jnl 6 ('66-'67) p. 284-85
||Walked barefoot in a mossy spot under oaks and pines reading a new book of which a review copy came today - Two Leggings [edited by Peter Nabokov, New York, 1967] about a Crow Indian, his fasts, his efforts at acquiring vision and "medicine." I could use a little medicine myself!
|1967/09/18||Peter Nabokov||Two Leggings: The Making of a Crow Warrior||
Jnl 6 ('66-'67) p. 292
||This time, finished Two Leggings - a rather sad, futile sort of book. With all his striving for powerful visions and strong medicine he never got to be chief. Fought the Sioux on the side of the whites - and the whites took away the Crows' land anyway. In the end a white officer gave him a five-dollar gold piece. Sunday was great.Discovery of the Zapotecan city of Monte Alban in new book edited by J. Paddock. Rereading Mosley on the Mayas. Sacred cities in center of sparsely populated rural areas. Cult centers without army and without King. An ideal, peaceful civilization. No one knows why it finally folded up. Same all through Mexico in the "Classic" period. Zapotecs, Mayas, Toltecs. Violence came with decadence. Aztecs were the last end of it. The final corruption.
|1967/12/30||James Mooney||Ghost-dance Religion and the Sioux Outbreak of 1890||
Jnl 7 ('67-'68) p. 32
||I have [James] Mooney's wonderful Ghost Dance book finally and am reading the new George Steiner book [Language and Silence] which critics have to a great extent ignored or treated coldly. Very good.
|1968/02/25||Roderick Frazier Nash||Wilderness & the American Mind||
Jnl 7 ('67-'68) p. 58
||Yesterday I wrote a short piece on Wilderness (the Nash book) in the afternoon. Importance of the "ecological conscience." (Same war as above!!)