A conference at University of Southern California next month looks to be an important event for Catholic novelists, poets, critics, and editors, one that may give us a sharp assessment of Catholic literary expression at the present time.
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Born in Britain in 1923, and educated at Eton and Oxford, Philip Trower is a Catholic writer of notable achievement. This alone merits attentionas there is much talk about the relative dearth of Catholic authors todaybut Trower’s life and work offer something more, as they speak to questions that are being asked within the Church today. Continue Reading »
One year ago, in the December 2013 First Things issue, Dana Gioia regretted the decline of the Catholic writer in America. Whereas the mid-twentieth century literary scene was packed with Catholics (Flannery O’Connor, Katherine Anne Porter, Walker Percy, Jack Kerouac, Donald Westlake, Allen Tate, Robert Fitzgerald, Claude McKay, Claire Boothe Luce, Robert Giroux, Hugh Kenner), Gioia noted, today’s “aggressively secular literary culture” allows for only a few of them (Alice McDermott, Tobias Wolff, Richard Rodriguez). Continue Reading »
It is often assumed that G. K. Chesterton and J. R .R. Tolkien were reactionary, antimodern writers. In a certain sense they were. Tolkien regarded nearly everything worthy of praise in English culture to have ended in 1066. He scorned the imposition of Norman culture on a vibrant English tradition . . . . Continue Reading »