The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University

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Author QuotedWilliam Faulkner
Title QuotedAs I lay dying
Date (Year/Month/Day)1967/08/22
ImprintNew York : Vintage Books. c1930 [1957]
QuotationReading on "Bantu Prophets," i.e. the Nativistic Church split-offs in S. Africa. But above all Faulkner's As I Lay Dying - certainly his finest work, far and away - a great work of art, on the highest level, perfectly put together, and with immensely important implications. To my mind one of the great works of all literature, comparable to the best in any field. Today I read the central part, the crossing of the river, and the chapter on Addie, which gives the key to everything, and was simply floored by it. I don't remember when I have read anything with such admiration - it is so full of insight, irony and a whole view of language and reality that is so exact and pertinent to our time that it is breathtaking. And the roots of myth, the solemnity of it. Then the following chapter, the contrast, the little wordy minister hurrying to her death "¦ The most completely damning pages on Southern Christianity in all Faulkner, not excepting Hightower and the other Church people in Light in August. This is so sharp, so exact, so final! This is a book I must study to write about. I have never seen anything written on it that came anywhere near being an adequate appreciation.
JournalLearning to love: exploring solitude and freedom. The Journals of Thomas Merton, Volume 6, 1966-1967.; Edited by Christine M. Bochen. / [San Francisco] : HarperCollins. 1997, p. 281