The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University

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Author QuotedJames Baldwin
Title QuotedFire Next Time
Date (Year/Month/Day)1963/07/19
Imprint[S.l.] : Dial Press. 1963
QuotationThe following are the questions, with Merton's answers: 1. Name the last three books you have read. The Platform Scripture of Hui Neng, translated by Wing Tsit Chen The Proslogion by St. Anselm of Canterbury A Different Drummer by William Melvin Kelley 2. Name the books you are reading now. Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play Element in Culture by John Huizinga Ratio Verae Theologiae (The Real Meaning of Theology) by Erasmus The Historian and Character by David Knowles 4. Books that have influenced you. Poetic Works of William Blake Plays of Aeschylus and Sophocles Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas Sermons of Meister Eckhart De Doctrina Christiana, Confessions, and Sermons on Psalms of St. Augustine Rule of St. Benedict The Bhagavad-Gita The Imitation of Christ, etc. 5. Why have these books been an influence on you? These books and others like them have helped me to discover the real meaning of my life, and have made it possible for me to get out of the confusion and meaninglessness of an existence completely immersed in the needs and passivities fostered by a culture in which sales are everything. 6. Name a book everyone should read. Besides the Bible (taken for granted and not included above) and such classics as The Imitation of Christ, I would select a contemporary book which I consider to be of vital importance and which I think everyone should read at this time: The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin. 7. Why this book? This is the most forceful statement about a crisis that is of immediate importance to every American, and indirectly affects the whole world today. It is something that people have to know about. The Negro has been trying to make himself heard: in this book he succeeds.
Quotation SourceWitness to Freedom: The Letters of Thomas Merton in Times of Crisis.; Selected and edited by William H. Shannon. / New York : Farrar Straus Giroux. 1994, p. 166
Link to Merton's Copy