20 February 2006

The mother lode

As Jeff notes, famed editor Robert Giroux just donated over 3,000 pages of "new" Merton material to the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University (where his archives are currently stored):
"I just knew that's Merton's stuff and forgot what it was," said Giroux, a college friend of Merton who later edited many of the monk's books, including his breakthrough work, "The Seven Storey Mountain." [...]

The donated documents include drafts or proofs of five Merton books.

It also includes an unpublished book manuscript, various essays, letters between Merton and Giroux and a 1940 rejection slip for an early novel.

The donation is the largest addition to the Thomas Merton Center since the monk's death. The collection has 50,000 documents by and about Merton, most of them transferred from Gethsemani in the 1960s. [...]

There is also an unpublished manuscript from the 1960s on art and worship -- Merton's revival of a book that was rejected for publication in the 1950s. Until now, Pearson said, scholars didn't know how hard Merton tried to rehabilitate that book.

"Having parents as artists, being a good artist himself, there was something there he wouldn't let go of," Pearson said. [...]

Giroux's donation, appraised at $911,225, is actually his second major gift to the center. He thought he had provided all his Merton papers in 2001 with a donation appraised at around $210,000.

Samway called Giroux "the best editor America's ever had."

Giroux's authors included poets T.S. Eliot and Pablo Neruda and fiction writers Flannery O'Connor, Walker Percy, Isaac Bashevis Singer and Jack Kerouac.
(The article also includes a photo.)

Makes me wonder what else he's got lying around!!

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