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Title: The geography of a soul : Thomas Merton's ongoing spiritual autobiographical quest within the context of the literary genre of autobiography.
Author: Pearson, Paul Michael.
Awarding Body: Heythrop College (University of London)
Current Institution: Heythrop College (University of London)
Date of Award: 1997
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Thomas Merton throughout his autobiographical writings took some of the dominant images and metaphors from the Christian tradition and, as many writers have done previously, applied them to himself, reinterpreting them for the twentieth century. This dissertation examines the metaphors Merton used to describe his spiritual quest and places his writings within the category of autobiographer that James Olney defines as a theoretical or auto-autobiographer thus providing a new way of interpreting Merton's writings. This dissertation examines Merton's major autobiographical works, some of which are well known, others that have only been recently published, and his unpublished nineteen-thirties' novels along with teenage writings uncovered in the course of this study. Reference is also made to other published and unpublished work as appropriate. By looking at these works and at specific chronological periods it is possible to see developments in Merton's autobiographical writings, specifically in the metaphors Merton used to express his developing sense of his self. The key to Merton's life and writings is his ongoing autobiographical quest, a spiritual development expressed using a variety of Christian and biblical metaphors including journey and place. This dissertation traces and evaluates aspects of Merton's spiritual development in the light of his autobiographical process. Merton's metaphors developed throughout his writings, moving from a physical journey where he saw himself as an exile, unstable and without a home, to a spiritual journey in which nature, place and stability grew in importance, until he arrived at a deep level of at-homeness achieved through his vow of stability which allowed him to go out to the world, to others and, eventually, to undertake his final pilgrimage to the East.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Philosophy Philosophy Religion Literature Mass media Performing arts