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Commonweal Book Review: 'Pure Act: The Uncommon Life of Robert Lax'

3rd February 2016

“McGregor wants to see Lax in his own right, and, true to that aim, he has written an intellectual biography that is as full and fair as one could expect. As a longtime reader of Lax, I learned a great deal from this finely researched book,” writes Lawrence S. Cunningham about Michael N. McGregor’s book, Pure Act: The Uncommon Life of Robert Lax for Commonweal Magazine on January 28th.

He begins the book review by saying, “Robert Lax (1915-2000) is today best known in this country as Thomas Merton’s closest friend. Having met when they were both students at Columbia University, the two exchanged letters until Merton’s death in 1968. It is the purpose Michael N. McGregor’s new biography of Lax to move him out from under the shadow of Merton’s powerful personality and give him his own place in the sun. This is not an easy thing for an American biography to do, both because Lax spent so much of his adult life outside the United Sates and because of his commitment as a poet to seeking the purest and sparest language possible, a commitment that makes his hermetic poems a challenge for many readers. While Lax enjoyed a certain measure of fame in Europe during his lifetime, it was only late in his life that his writings found a place in the American literary scene.”

To read the rest of Cunningham’s review of Michael N. McGregor’s book, you can find it here.

See for yourself what all the excitement it about at Fordham Press’ website, where you can find McGregor’s book and others similar to it.