Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Shining in Obscurity: Rediscovering Four Catholic Authors

In past Catholic Culture Series, we have focused on such major figures as Flannery O’Connor, G.K. Chesterton, Evelyn Waugh, Graham Greene, Walker Percy, and J.R.R. Tolkien. This fall, rather than highlighting a specific, and rather wellknown, literary figure, the series focused on re-discovering four novels by four “forgotten” authors:

1. Michael Foley, Assistant Professor of Patristics in the Honors College at Baylor University, focused on Kristin Lavransdatter in his lecture entitled, “Sigrid Undset: Greatest Catholic Novelist of the Twentieth Century?”;

2. Ralph Wood, the Baylor University Professor of Theology and Literature, presented a talk entitled “The Call of the Desert in the Age of Ashes: The Centrality of Suffering in Walter Miller’s A Canticle of Leibowitz”;

3. Ralph McInerny, the Michael P. Grace Professor of Medieval Studies at the University of Notre Dame, lectured on The Diary of a Country Priest in a lecture entitled “Bernanos and the Noonday Devil”; and

4. David Solomon, the W.P. and H.B. Director of the Notre Dame Center for Ethics & Culture and Associate Professor of Philosophy, reflected on one of his personal favorites, Lord of the World, in “Robert Hugh Benson: Anticipating the Apocalypse.”

Although each of these books has been considered a “classic” at one time, most of them are no longer studied in literature programs or read by the reading public and the authors themselves have fallen into obscurity. As part of its mission to promote the Catholic intellectual, moral and cultural tradition, the Center for Ethics & Culture encouraged readers in the Notre Dame community to rediscover – or perhaps even discover for the first time – these four novels and authors.

We would like to thank Clarence and Frieda Bayer of Arlington, Texas, whose generosity to the Center makes this series possible.

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