The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University

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Author QuotedRobert Graves and Alan Hodges
Title QuotedReader over Your Shoulder
Date (Year/Month/Day)1948/09/03
ImprintLondon : Jonathan Cape. 1943I
QuotationIt has been quite humiliating for me to find out (from [Robert] Graves and [Alan] Hodge [authors of The Reader over Your Shoulder, which Waugh had sent to Merton]) that my bad habits are the same as those of every other second-rate writer outside the monastery. The same haste, distraction, etc. Really I like The Reader over Your Shoulder very much. In the first place it is amusing. And I like their thesis that we are heading towards a clean, clear kind of prose. Really everything in my natur"”and in my vocation too"”demands something like that if I am to go on writing. The contemplative life demands that everything, all one's habits of thought and modes of action, should be simple and definite and free of waste[d] motion. In every department of our life, that is our biggest struggle. You would be shocked to know how much material and spiritual junk can accumulate in the corner of a monastery and in the minds of the monks. You ought to see the pigsty in which I am writing this letter.
Quotation SourceThe Courage for Truth: Letters of Thomas Merton to Writers.; Selected and edited by Christine M. Bochen. / New York : Farrar Straus Giroux. 1993, p. 6
Letter toEvelyn Waugh
Notes 
Link to Merton's Copy