“All the Living and the Dead”: The Literature of James Joyce

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“All the Living and the Dead”: The Literature of James Joyce

Introductory Lecture + 4 Talks on 3 CDs
Audio CD Set:
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Availability: In stock.

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Join Thomas Merton in exploring the literature and the spiritual background of one of the greatest novelists of the twentieth century: James Joyce.

Born in 1882 to a Catholic family in Dublin, Joyce wrote some of the most acclaimed masterpieces of modern literature: Ulysses, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Dubliners, and Finnegans Wake. Educated by Jesuits and influenced by Thomas Aquinas, Joyce wove Catholicism into his works.

Now, you have the rare opportunity to join famed modern spiritual writer Thomas Merton in four of his amazing talks on Joyce’s literature. Delivered in 1968 to his fellow monks, they are now available to the public for the first time ever. This one-of-a-kind set includes an afterword by Dr. Michael Higgins, a renowned Merton biographer and scholar of literature and religion.

Before becoming a Trappist monk, Thomas Merton studied English at Columbia and taught literature at St. Bonaventure University. In the monastery, Merton continued to study literature, particularly its relationship to religion—a relationship that played a critical role in his life and writing.

In these talks, Merton focuses on Joyce’s short story collection Dubliners. He looks at two of the collection’s most enduring stories, first examining how “The Dead” embodies Joyce’s aesthetics and his concept of epiphany. Then, Merton reads the classic “Araby” in full, bringing Joyce’s voice to life.

This course is ideal both as introduction to Joyce and as an exciting work of scholarship by one great author on another.

Learn about downloadable programs.

***“Photograph of Thomas Merton by Sibylle Akers. Used with Permission of the Merton Legacy Trust and the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University.  These recordings are from the archives of the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University, in Louisville, Kentucky.

Topic Titles
Topic Titles


  • Literature as a Study of Humanity (7/21/1968)
  • “The Dead” (7/28/1968)
  • Aesthetic and Contemplative Experience (8/11/1968)
  • Spiritual Seeing: “Araby” (8/18/1968)
  • Afterward by Dr. Michael W. Higgins
About Your Presenter

Thomas Merton was a Trappist monk and bestselling author of such beloved works as The Seven Storey Mountain and New Seeds of Contemplation. One of the 20th century’s great mystics, Merton was also a masterful teacher who delivered powerful conferences to the novice monks at the Abbey of Gethsemani. In these conferences, Merton’s thinking moved from cloistered monastic life to issues of social justice and interreligious understanding. A spiritual sage and guide for countless men and women, Merton struggled with complex questions about God’s existence and the role of organized religion.

Those who knew him also experienced his gifts as a homilist and teacher. These special, remastered recordings are part of his spoken word legacy. They are actual recordings of Thomas Merton. By agreement with The Thomas Merton Legacy Trust, Now You Know Media has the sole right to record, master, re-master, duplicate, market, and disseminate copies of "The Merton Recordings," which are a selection of the archives housed in the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky.

Dr. Michael W. Higgins, Ph.D. is the leading biographer of Thomas Merton and Henri Nouwen. He is a celebrated scholar, an award-winning author and documentarian, and the Vatican affairs specialist for the Globe and Mail and CTV Network. Currently Professor of Religious Studies and Vice-President for Mission and Catholic Identity at Sacred Heart University, Dr. Higgins is also a Senior Fellow of Massey College, University of Toronto. Previously, he served as the president of St. Jerome’s University in the University of Waterloo, and of St. Thomas University in New Brunswick.

Dr. Higgins has edited, co-edited, authored, and co-authored thirteen books including: Heretic Blood: The Spiritual Geography of Thomas Merton, The Jesuit Mystique, Power and Peril: The Catholic Church at the Crossroads, Stalking the Holy: The Pursuit of Saint-Making, and Genius Born of Anguish: The Life and Legacy of Henri Nouwen. He has also produced radio documentaries on Simone Weil, Thomas Merton, and G. K. Chesterton. A regular contributor to Commonweal and the Literary Review of Canada, Dr. Higgins is also a columnist for the Telegraph-Journal and the Irish Catholic. He is the recipient of many award...

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Customer Reviews (0)
Merton's words come alive
When I listen to Thomas Merton speaking in the CD's that I have purchased, I feel as if he is sitting next to me conversing, and his words are words of wisdom, encouragement, insight, and humor. Hearing his words spoken rather than reading them on the page of a book, enhances one's awareness of the message of this deeply religious and very human individual.
Review by John (Posted on 7/3/2014)
Fascinating insights into Merton's view of James Joyce.
Fascinating insights into Merton's view of James Joyce and the role of Catholicism in Joyce's writing.
Review by Arthur (Posted on 11/23/2015)
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