This blog post is to honor the 50th anniversary of the passing of American writer/Catholic priest/Trappist monk Thomas Merton's passing. Whether you like, dislike or even never heard of him, Merton was a prolific writer and typist. He wrote more than 70 books before he died in 1968. He's most known for his best-seller, Seven Story Mountain. Here's a snapshot of his Royal typewriter which had keys for French characters (helpful since he did live in France).
This typewriter, along with another Royal, are on display at the Thomas Merton Center in Louisville, Ky. It's not clear if Merton used either Royal to write Seven Story Mountain, which led many Americans to seek out monasteries in the post World War II Europe.
What's a more interesting question to me is how did the Royal typewriter, especially with French characters, help Merton master French? Did he use this typewriter while at Cambridge where he studied modern languages, French and Italian? There are no studies to indicate how typewriters, even in the past, aided students learning foreign languages. I can only imagine they would help. Total immersion - radio shows, TV, movies, books - are key to mastering any language. Children learn how to speak a language long before they know how to write it.
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