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Merton's Correspondence with:

Jacques Maritain

Maritain, Jacques, 1882-1973  printer


Descriptive Summary

Record Group: Section A - Correspondence
Dates of materials: 1948-1974
Volume: 136 item(s); 226 pg(s)

Scope and Content

This file contains letters between Jacques Maritain to Merton, and letters from Maritain to Robert Giroux. A letter from John Howard Griffin to Maritain appears in the "Griffin, John Howard" file.


Jacques Maritain was a philosopher and Catholic humanist writer who was quite influential in 20th century "new scholasticism", taking the writings of Thomas Aquinas and applying them to modern societal issues in philosophy and science. Born in Paris, he attended the Sorbonne and married Raïssa Oumancoff (1883-1960), who was a Jewish emigrée from Russia. Raïssa Maritain later achieved notoriety as a mystical poet and philosopher. Influenced by Léon Bloy, they were both baptized Catholic in 1906. A few years later, after having studied biology and mathematics at the University of Heidelberg, Jacques Maritain returned to France and discovered Aquinas' Summa Theologica, which helped launch the direction of his writing. He would go on to write a number of influential books.

Merton was first met Maritain at a lecture Maritain delivered at Catholic Book Club, where Dan Walsh introduced them. During Maritain's time as a professor at Princeton from 1948-1960, Merton and Maritain first wrote to each other. In 1949, Merton was struggling with thoughts of leaving the Trappists and joining the Carthusians. In Merton's later life, after he had achieved his desire for more solitude at a hermitage at Gethsemani, Maritain visited him at the hermitage in 1966. Since 1961, after Raïssa's death the previous year, Jacques Maritain had been living with the Little Brothers of Jesus in Toulouse. He took vows with them in 1971 and died there in 1973. (Sources: The Courage for Truth, pp. 22-23; and "Maritain, Jacques." World Authors." 1996. Wilson Biographies Plus. Online. H.W. Wilson. Bellarmine University Library, Louisville, KY. 30 Nov. 2005. ‹›.)

Usage Guidelines and Restrictions

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Usage permission for letters to Merton from Columbia University must be obtained from the Columbia University Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

Related Information and Links

See published letters from Merton to Maritain in The Courage for Truth, pp. 22-53; and see also the "Giroux, Robert" and "Griffin, John Howard" (Series 2) files.

Other Finding Aids

If the person in correspondence with Merton has full text records in the Merton Center Digital Collections, there will be a numeric link to them below.

Series List

This Record Sub-Group is not divided into Series and is arranged chronologically.

Container List

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#DateFrom/ToFirst LinesPub ✓Notes
 y/m/dMerton Scan ✉ 
1. 1948/12/28 TALS[x] from Merton Of all the inspiring things that have happened to me this Christmas, in the form of letters «detailed view»
2. 1949/01/29 HLS[x] to Merton Once again I have been prevented by work from writing you as soon as I wished. «detailed view»
3. 1949/02/10 TLS[x] from Merton Many thanks for your second letter. I have sent off the books you suggested, to Rome. «detailed view»
4. 1949/05/26 HCS[x] from Merton To Jacques and Raïssa Maritain with the blessings of God [-] f m Louis OCR. [photocopy of three printed cards celebrating Merton's priestly ordination, one with a note for the Maritains] «detailed view»
5. 1949/06/08 TLS[x] from Merton I take a fleeting opportunity to write to you because Dan Walsh assured me that you would not be «detailed view»
6. 1949/06/30 HLS[x] to Merton I received your letter of June 8 just before leaving L'Eau Vive for Paris. «detailed view»
7. 1949/07/09 TLS[x] from Merton Many thanks for your kind letter and your consent to write a preface for the French editions of the «detailed view»
8. 1949/07/22 HLS[x] to Merton Thank you most cordially for your kind letter. Albin Michel is a good publisher. «detailed view»
9. 1949/09/17 TLS[x] from Merton By now I suppose you are well installed again at Princeton, so I am writing to you after a long «detailed view»
10. 1949/10/12 HLS[x] to Merton I just received today your letter of Sept. 7. Pardon me for writing in a hurry. «detailed view»
11. 1949/10/31 TALS[x] from Merton Many thanks for your letter of the 12th but above all for the Quatre Essais. «detailed view»
12. 1949/11/28 HLS[x] to Merton Je viens de recevoir le précieux exemplaire des Tears of the Blind Lions, avec l'inscription «detailed view»
13. 1950/02/04 TLS[x] from Merton This is a belated answer to your charming letter of November 28th. I am swamped with work «detailed view»
14. 1950/07/14 TLS[x] from Merton Here is a letter to celebrate the national holiday of France! I still feel as if I were more French «detailed view»
15. 1950/07/26 HLS[x] to Merton Merci de tout coeur de votre lettre. Je suis si touché que vous «detailed view»
16. 1950/09/09 (#01) TLS[x] from Merton Time has gone by so fast since your last letter that I no longer know where to find you. «detailed view»
17. 1950/09/09 (#02) transcript from Merton Incidemment, il y a une dette que je voulais payer depuis un long moment, mais je n'ai cessé [transcript from published letters in the French journal, Nunc (#6, November 2004, pp. 25-37), translation from original English into French by Florian Michel - original letter seems to be from the Maritain archives in Kolbsheim, France] «detailed view»
18. 1950/10/25 HLS[x] to Merton Votre si chère lettre de septembre est arrivée à Princeton un peu avant nous. «detailed view»
19. 1951/03/07 TLS[x] from Merton Finally, on the feast of the Angelic Doctor, I have a chance to write to you. There are many nice «detailed view»
20. 1951/03/14 HCS[x] from Merton +to Jacques with affection [-] f m Louis [prayer card with no date - envelope postmarked March 14, 1951] «detailed view»
21. 1951/03/23 HLS[x] to Merton I received few days ago your admirable letter written on the feast of the Angelic Doctor. [dated "Good Friday" - postmarked 1951/03/23] «detailed view»
22. 1951/03/30 transcript from Merton Ce serait une grande perte pour nous si vous deviez rentrer en France. C'est vrai : vous avez une [transcript from published letters in the French journal, Nunc (#6, November 2004, pp. 25-37), translation from original English into French by Florian Michel - original letter seems to be from the Maritain archives in Kolbsheim, France] «detailed view»
23. 1951/05/09 HLS[x] to Merton (permit me to use your nom de baptisme, and tell me if I should rather call you Father Louis) «detailed view»
24. 1951/06/09 transcript from Merton Vous avais-je dit que j'avais été nommé à un nouvel emploi ici? Je suis maître des novices. [transcript from published letters in the French journal, Nunc (#6, November 2004, pp. 25-37), translation from original English into French by Florian Michel - original letter seems to be from the Maritain archives in Kolbsheim, France] «detailed view»
25. 1951/07/13 HLS[x] to Merton I am so happy to have your letters. I am writing a few lines in haste to tell you that Father «detailed view»
26. 1951/09/10 HLS[x] to Merton J'ai reçu The Ascent to Truth il y a quelques jours, et je viens de le lire d'un trait., «detailed view»
27. 1952/07/01 TLS[x] from Merton Some time ago the French translation of Seeds of Contemplation reached me-- «detailed view»
28. 1952/09/01 HLS[x] from Merton Forgive me for waiting so long to reply to your good letter from Kolbsheim. I am sending this «detailed view»
29. 1952/09/27 HLS[x] from Merton Je crois pouvoir vous trouver encore à Princeton. J'y envoie cette lettre à votre ancienne addresse. «detailed view»
30. 1952/10/12 (#01) TL[c] to Giroux, Robert I thank you cordially for having sent me the proofs of THE SIGN OF JONAS. What do I think of this [to Robert Giroux, editor at Harcourt, Brace and Co., New York] «detailed view»
31. 1952/10/12 (#02) TL[c] to Giroux, Robert Je vous remercie cordialement de m'avoir envoyé les épreuves de The Sign of Jonas. [to Robert Giroux, editor at Harcourt, Brace and Co., New York - French version of the letter from the same date] «detailed view»
32. 1953/02/20 TLS[x] to Giroux, Robert I thank you most cordially for the beautifully bound copy of The Sign of Jonas you were so «detailed view»
33. 1955/04/25 TLS[x] from Merton Just a word to say I am sending you and Riassa [sic] belatedly a copy of No Man is an Island. «detailed view»
34. 1955/05/18 HLS[x] to Merton Raïssa et moi vous remercions de tout coeur de votre lettre et de votre No Man Is An Island. «detailed view»
35. 1955/10/24 TLS[x] from Merton A long time ago I wrote you about my book on the Blessed Sacrament, the Living Bread. «detailed view»
36. 1955/11/19 HLS[x] to Merton Merci de tout coeur de votre bonne lettre. J'aurai grande joie à lire les épreuves de the Living «detailed view»
37. 1956/03/28 TL[x] to Merton Pardon me for writing a business letter today. It is about The Living Bread «detailed view»
38. 1956/04/10 TLS[x] from Merton I am sure everything will be all right about Alsatia and the Living Bread. I have heard from «detailed view»
39. 1957/08/29 HCS[x] from Merton Dan is here and we have spoken much of you, and I have told some I hope so much that you may come [addressed to Jacques and Raïssa Maritain] «detailed view»
40. 1958/08/28 HLS[x] to Merton Trop fatigué ces jours-ci pour vous écrive comme je voudrais, je tiens cependant à vous «detailed view»
41. 1958/10/09 TLS[x] from Merton J'ai tardé un peu a repondre a votre tres belle lettre du 28 aout, a East Hampton. Je suis vraiment «detailed view»
42. 1960/01/11 HLS to Merton Je n'ai pas vous écrire plus tôt, tant j'étais accablé. Notre chère soeur «detailed view»
43. 1960/01/30 HLS[x] from Merton Je suis désolé pour la nouvelle que m'apporte votre lettre du 12. «detailed view»
44. 1960/02/16 HLS to Merton Merci de votre lettre, merci de vous souvenir de nous trois à la sainte messe. «detailed view»
45. 1960/02/22 TLS[x] from Merton Many thanks for your valuable little book on Liturgy and Contemplation. I have read it with «detailed view»
46. 1960/04/08 (#01) TALS[x] from Merton Je viens vous demander votre conseil et votre aide dans use affaire assez importante. «detailed view»
47. 1960/04/08 (#02) TALS[x] from Merton Je viens vous demander votre conseil et votre aide dans une affaire assez importante. «detailed view»
48. 1960/04/18 HLS to Merton J'ai beaucoup réfléchi à l'avis que vous voulez bien me demander. Je pense qu'en soi un Dialogue «detailed view»
49. 1960/05/20 TLS[x] from Merton Many thanks for your kind and wise letter. I sent it on to our Father General, but meanwhile he had «detailed view»
50. 1960/06/04 HLS to Merton Pardonnez-moi de répondre en hâte à votre bonne lettre. «detailed view»
51. 1960/06/15 HLS to Merton Je viens de recevoir une lettre d'Henry Bars, il me dit que son éditeur a signé un contrat pour la «detailed view»
52. 1960/06/30 HLS[x] from Merton I am writing this in a hospital - nothing serious, just some tests and X-rays. The articles by «detailed view»
53. 1960/07/28 HLS to Merton Votre bonne lettre «detailed view»
54. 1960/08/17 TLS[x] from Merton I am shocked and pained to hear of Raissa's painful illness and your difficult situation in Paris. «detailed view»
55. 1960/10/10 TLS[x] from Merton It is good to have your Paris address and to be able to send you just a word to say that I think «detailed view»
56. 1960/10/24 HLS to Merton Merci de votre lettre si «detailed view»
57. 1960/11/03 HLS[x] from Merton Your most moving letter has united me ever more deeply with you in your suffering with Raïssa. «detailed view»
58. 1960/11/09 HLS[x] from Merton Dan Walsh tells me your birthday is on the 17th. That is the day after my own birthday in Christ, «detailed view»
59. 1960/11/16 TLS[x] from Merton The news has reached me of Raïssa going to a better life in the Lord. This was not unexpected, «detailed view»
60. 1960/11/21 HLS to Merton Je suis trop accablé pour écrire longuement, mais je tiens «detailed view»
61. 1962/12/12 HLS to Merton John Griffin m'écrit qu'il vous a vu récomment et que vous lui avez parlé de Raïssa avec beaucoup «detailed view»
62. 1962/12/18 TAL[c] from Merton Je suis bouleverse par le Journal de Raissa. Comment vous le dire? Vous devez bein le savoir «detailed view»
63. 1962/12/25? HLS[x] to Griffin, John Howard Bení soit votre chère et lumineuse famille, my Dearest John! [dated "Noël 1962 - letter to Griffin with a message for Merton] «detailed view»
64. 1962/12/26 TAL[c] from Merton J'ai reçu votre lettre après le livre. Je vous assure que je garderai le secret, d'autant plus «detailed view»
65. 1962/12/31 HLS to Merton Combien votre lettre m'a ému. La seule joie qui ma reste sur terre, c'est celle qui me vient «detailed view»
66. 1963/01/24 HCS[x] from Merton Here are a few translations from Raïssa's poems. You will see I have in some places been quite free. [sent with a typescript of "Some poems of Raissa Maritain, translated by Thomas Merton" with a handwritten note on the cover sheet with an inscription and note for Jacques Maritain] «detailed view»
67. 1963/01/30 HLS to Merton Comment vous remercier? Comment vous dire à quel point je suis ému? Je viens de recevoir «detailed view»
68. 1963/02/10 HLS to Merton Je viens de recevoir, et de lire avec une vive admiration, votre Hagia Sophia, et je suis «detailed view»
69. 1963/02/12 TAL[c] from Merton Thank you for your warm and wonderful letter, written the day before my birthday. It was a great «detailed view»
70. 1963/02/20 HLS to Merton J'allais vous écrire quand votre lettre si bonne m'est arrivée. Je voulais vous remercier «detailed view»
71. 1963/03/02 TLS[x] from Merton This is a good time to write to you, as John Griffin is just visiting us here. «detailed view»
72. 1963/03/12 HLS to Merton Voilà au moins deux semaines que je veux vous écrire, et ensuis «detailed view»
73. 1963/03/28 TLS[x] from Merton I am so sorry to hear that you have been ill, but I hope that the rest in bed was both enjoyable «detailed view»
74. 1963/04/20 HCS[x] from Merton The wonderful pictures from Chartres, so full of love and compassion, have arrived and they are [there is also a typed transcript of this letter] «detailed view»
75. 1963/06/01 HLS to Merton Voilà des semaines que je n'ai pas vous écrire. «detailed view»
76. 1963/06/11 TAL[c] from Merton I was deeply touched by your most recent letter, and moved that you should think of writing to me «detailed view»
77. 1963/09/21 HLS to Merton C'est pour introduire après «detailed view»
78. 1963/10/17 TAL[c] from Merton I am sorry for my long silence. Last month I was in the hospital, for nothing serious, and have «detailed view»
79. 1963/10/21 HLS to Merton Je suis heureux que vous soyez sorti de l'hôpital, mais fâché que vous «detailed view»
80. 1963/11/03 HLS to Merton Quand je vous ai télégraphié un sujet de votre Introduction, j'étais trop fatigué «detailed view»
81. 1963/11/08 TAL[c] from Merton Your cablegram was much appreciated, and now your letter. Thank you so much. I hate to think «detailed view»
82. 1963/11/25 transcript to Merton I am going to write you concerning your article in Ramparts, which struck me so much by its [two slightly different copies of the same letter (each one page)] «detailed view»
83. 1963/12/02 TL[x] from Merton I have been planning to write and thank you for the new edition of Raissa's Journal which «detailed view»
84. 1963/12/13 HLS to Merton J'ai été profondément touché par votre lettre, et je vous dis «detailed view»
85. 1964/01/09 TAL[c] from Merton The new year is here and the news about the Pope's visit to Palestine has been in many ways moving, «detailed view»
86. 1964/05/24 TAL[c] from Merton It was very good of you to ask Scribners to send me your great newly translated book on "Moral «detailed view»
87. 1964/09/04? HLS[x] to Griffin, John Howard Je reçois ce matin votre lettre du 1er septembre. [reference to Merton] «detailed view»
88. 1964/09/12 (#01) HLS to Merton Voilà bien longtemps que je veux vous écrire, et que j'en suis empêché par le surmenage et ma «detailed view»
89. 1964/09/12 (#02) transcript to Merton ETABLISSEMENT DU TEXTE -- #1 [-] ENVELOPE: POSTMARKED: Kolbsheim, Bas [English translation of 1964/09/12 letter with notes] «detailed view»
90. 1965/04/21 HLS[x] to Griffin, John Howard Enfin des marvelles de vous, mon très cher John! Merci de m'avoir écrit. [reference to Merton (Maritain heard that Merton was sick)] «detailed view»
91. 1965/09/05 TLS[x] from Merton It has been a terribly long time since I have written to you or heard from you, and I am not sure «detailed view»
92. 1965/09/26 HLS[x] from Merton I have been reading your Carnets and especially the splendid pages on «detailed view»
93. 1965/09/27 HLS to Merton Merci de tout coeur de votre lettre, mon très cher ami. Elle m'a été très «detailed view»
94. 1965/10/06 TL[c] from Merton As soon as I got your letter the other day I wrote immediately to Doubleday about Raissa's Journal. «detailed view»
95. 1965/10/23 HLS to Merton De tout mon coeur merci de votre lettre du 6, que je viens de recevoir. Je vous suis «detailed view»
96. 1966/01/24 TALS[x] from Merton The other day your new book, the collection of Essays on Israel, arrived. I will read it with great «detailed view»
97. 1966/02/11 HLS[x] to Griffin, John Howard Votre chère et admirable lettre du 1er février m'a touché au fond du coeur. [reference to Merton] «detailed view»
98. 1966/02/18 HLS to Merton Je suis honteux de n'avoir pas encore repondre à votre lettre si bonne, «detailed view»
99. 1966/03/07 (#01) TL[c] from Merton This is just a quick note to wish you joy and light on St Thoma[s'] day, which is no longer even «detailed view»
100. 1966/03/07 (#02) TALS[x] from Merton This is just a quick note to wish you joy and light on St Thomas' day, which is no longer even «detailed view»
101. 1966/05/02 HLS[x] from Merton Important news. An Anglican friend of mine in Oxford says she has a very good chance of interesting «detailed view»
102. 1966/08/15 HLS[x] to Griffin, John Howard Comme je suis heureux qu'enfin vous alliez mieux, et que les [reference to Merton] «detailed view»
103. 1966/10/11 HLS to Merton Comment vous dire la joié et l'émotion que j'ai «detailed view»
104. 1966/10/13 HLS[x] from Merton Merci de vos paroles et de votre affection «detailed view»
105. 1966/10/21 telegram from Fox, James DORA COME ANYTIME AFTER NOV 2ND. PLEASE NOTIFY EXACT TIME OF ARRIVAL IN LOUISVILLE [see "Dana, Doris" file for telegram - message from Dom James Fox, Abbot of Gethsemani, to Jacques Maritain to notify Doris Dana about arrangements to visit Gethsemani Abbey] «detailed view»
106. 1966/10/29 TL[c] from Merton My letter of the other day was inadequate but I wanted to reply quickly. I have still heard nothing «detailed view»
107. 1966/11/10 HLS to Merton Votre bonne lettre du 29 Octobre vient de m'arrives. Merci du «detailed view»
108. 1966/11/18 TL[c] from Merton Many thanks for your fineletter [sic]. I can quite understand your cry: " a Paris j'etouffe". «detailed view»
109. 1966/11/22 HLS[x] to Griffin, John Howard Merci de tu chère lettre, du 8 et du 14. Je t'écris en hâte, [reference to Merton] «detailed view»
110. 1966/12/07 TLS to Merton (via John H. Griffin) Si tu as l'occasion écrire a Tom Merton, dis-lui combien je suis heureux qu'il veuille bien jeter [see "Griffin, John Howard" file for the letter send by Griffin to Merton, relaying messages by Maritain] «detailed view»
111. 1966/12/20 TL[c] from Merton I want to get this letter off to you right away because with Christmas my mail is getting impossible «detailed view»
112. 1966/12/24 HLS to Merton Je ne sais plus si j'ai répondu à votre lettre du 18 novembre, qui a été si «detailed view»
113. 1967/01/22 TLS[x]  from Merton to Friends (circular letter) Several wrote that they liked my mimeographed Christmas letter and urged me to go on mimeographing [labeled "Septuagesima Sunday 1967"] «detailed view»
114. 1967/01/26 HLS to Merton Pardonnez-moi de ne pas vous avoir remercié plus tôt de votre chère lettre du 20 décembre. «detailed view»
115. 1967/01/30 TL[c] from Merton The ms of Raissa's Journal will be mailed out to Princeton in the same mail as this letter. I think «detailed view»
116. 1967/02/06 HLS to Merton Merci de tout coeur de votre chère lettre du 30 janvier, mon très cher Tom. «detailed view»
117. 1967/02/24 HLS to Merton Je vous envoié aujourd'hui quelques documents concernant Jean «detailed view»
118. 1967/04/07 TL[c] from Merton I am returning the clippings and other material on Fr Pascal, so that you will be able to get them «detailed view»
119. 1967/06/24 TALS[c] from Griffin, John Howard Je te joins une lettre que je viens d'écrire a Tom Merton en réponse a une lettre qu'il m'a [see "Griffin, John Howard" file - carbon copy enclosed to Merton of a letter from Griffin to Jacques Maritain] «detailed view»
120. 1967/08/13 TL[c] from Merton I have been meaning to write for a long time, but rarely have I had such trouble answering mail as «detailed view»
121. 1968/12/11 telegram[x] from Burns, Flavian REGRET TO INFORM YOU OF THE DEATH OF FATHER THOMAS MERTON «detailed view»
122. 1968/12/26 HLS[x] to Griffin, John Howard Merci de tout coeur de tes chères lettres, mon bien-aimé John. [reference to Merton] «detailed view»
123. 1970/07/18 HLS[x] to Griffin, John Howard Merci de m'avois écrit. Ta lettre [reference to Merton] «detailed view»
124. 1971/05/16 TLS[x] to Center from Evans, Joseph W. Thank you very much for your letter of May 14. I would be very happy to receive copies of your [from Joseph Evans of the Jacques Maritain Center at Notre Dame University, Indiana] «detailed view»
125. 1971/09/14 TL[x] from Center to Evans, Joseph W. Enclosed are the copies of our Merton-Maritain correspondence. Since you had requested that I wait «detailed view»
126. 1971/09/23 TLS[x] to Center from Evans, Joseph W. Thank you ever so much for the copies of your Merton-Maritain correspondence. I am most happy «detailed view»
127. 1973/08/28 TLS[x] to Center from Laughlin, James It occurs to me that one of you may well be away on vacation, so I am addressing this letter to both «detailed view»
128. 1974/01/28 TL[x] from Center to Grunelius, Antoinette I am the Merton Trustee who is actively involved in the classification of Father Merton's «detailed view»
129. 1974/02/14 (#01) HLS[x] to Center from Grunelius, Antoinette Je vous remercie beaucoup de «detailed view»
130. 1974/02/14? (#02) TL[x] from Center to Grunelius, Antoinette Merci de votre lettre de 14 fevrier. J'épere que votre vacannes va bien. Toute de suite «detailed view»
131. 1974/02/18 TL[x] from Center to Evans, Joseph W. Sorry to have pushed the panic button - like - do you have any originals (as I found out immediately «detailed view»
132. undated/no/no other[x] to Center from Evans, Joseph W. Dates of Merton-Maritain Correspondence [list of letters at Notre Dame University] «detailed view»
133. undated/no/no (#01) HCS to Merton Avec nos mieux affectueux et nos fidèles pensées [-] Jacques et Raïssa Maritain [verso: color picture of an angel with the word "NOEL"] «detailed view»
134. undated/no/no (#02) HCS to Merton Christmas Greetings and the best of all good wishes for the New Year [-] Jacques and Raïssa Maritain [verso: black and white picture of a building with the words "Old Nassau"] «detailed view»
135. undated/no/no (#03) HCS to Merton Combien souvent je pense à vous, et avec quelle tendre gratitude! J'ai beaucoup travaillé, «detailed view»
136. undated/no/no (#04) TNS from Merton Many thanks for your kindness in writing to me, and especially in praying for me. [verso: "Mater Misericordiae" - photo of a statue of the Virgin Mary and Jesus from La Grande Trappe Abbey, sculpted by Fr. Marie Bernard / unclear whether this is to Maritain, addressed "Dear Jacques"] thanks for sending photograph of the cloiser at St. Michel «detailed view»

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