Thomas Merton (1915 - 1968) in 1938. In 1942 he became a Trappist monk at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky, continuing to publish his writing until his death from an accidental electric shock in Bangkok. Photograph:  Archive Photos/Getty Images

If a modern-day King Solomon were asked to arbitrate on the nationality of Thomas Merton – poet, spiritual writer, diarist, jazz buff, pioneer of i(...)