Thomas Merton's life, especially once he had become a writer, was to a great extent one of dialogue with people who were distant, both geographically and historically. In these probing and perceptive studies, Rowan Williams looks closely at the key intellectual and spiritual relationships that emerge in Merton's writings, exploring the impact on him of thinkers as diverse as Hannah Arendt, Karl Barth, William Blake, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Olivier Clement, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Paul Evdokimov, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Vladimir Lossky, John Henry Newman, Boris Pasternak and St John of the Cross.
Rowan Williams is the former Archbishop of Canterbury. He is now Master of Magdalen College, Cambridge. His most recent books include The Lion's World: A journey into the heart of Narnia (2012), Dostoyevsky: Language, Faith and Fiction (2011), Tokens of Trust: An Introduction to Christian Belief (2007), Grace and Necessity: Reflections on Art and Love (2006) and Silence and Honey Cakes: The Wisdom of the Desert (2004).