Cover image for Catholic literary giants : a field guide to the Catholic literary landscape
Catholic literary giants : a field guide to the Catholic literary landscape
Pearce, Joseph, 1961-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
San Francisco : Ignatius, 2014.
Physical Description:
425 pages ; 23 cm
General Note:
Previously published by Ignatius Press under the title, Literary Giants, Literary Catholics, 2005. Reprinted under new title in 2014.
Introduction. Converting the culture: the evangelizing power of beauty -- Part one: Tradition and conversion. Tradition and conversion in modern English literature -- Twentieth-century England's Christian literary landscape -- Part two: The Chesterbelloc. The Chesterbelloc: examining the beauty of the beast -- Chesterton and Saint Francis -- Shades of gray in the shadow of Wilde -- Fighting the Euro from beyond the grave: the ghost of Chesterton haunts Lord Howe -- Catholicism and "democracy" -- Fascism and Chesterton -- G. K. Chesterton: champion of orthodoxy -- Hilaire Belloc in a nutshell -- Belloc's The path to Rome -- A chip off the old Belloc: Bob Copper in memoriam -- Maurice Baring: in the shadow of the Chesterbelloc -- R. H. Benson: unsung genius -- Maisie Ward: concealed with a kiss -- John Seymour: some novel common sense -- Part three: The Wasteland. Entrenched passion: the poetry of war -- War poets: cutting through the cant -- Siegfried Sassoon: poetic pilgrimage -- Emerging from the Wasteland: the cultural reaction to the desert of modernity -- Edith Sitwell: modernity and tradition -- Roy Campbell: bombast and fire -- Roy Campbell: religion and politics -- Campbell in Spain -- Evelyn Waugh: ultramodern to ultramontane -- Beyond the facts of life: Douglas Lane Patey's biography of Evelyn Waugh -- In pursuit of the Greene-eyed monster: the quest for Graham Greene -- Cross purposes: Greene, Undset and Bernanos -- Muggeridge resurrected -- Part four: J. R. R. Tolkien and the Inklings. Inklings of grace -- From the Prancing Pony to the bird and baby: Roy "Strider" Campbell and the Inklings -- J.R.R. Tolkien: truth and myth -- The individual and community in Tolkien's Middle Earth -- Religion and politics in The Lord of the Rings -- Quest and passion play: J.R.R. Tolkien's sanctifying myth -- True north -- The once and future king -- Tolkien and the Catholic literary revival -- True myth: the Catholicism of The Lord of the Rings -- Letting the Catholic out of the Baggins -- A hidden presence: the Catholic imagination of J.R.R. Tolkien -- From war to Mordor: J.R.R. Tolkien and World War I -- Divine mercy in The Lord of the Rings -- Resurrecting myth: a response to Dr. Murphy's "Response" -- The good, the bad and the ugly: the successes and failures of Tolkien on film -- Would Tolkien have given Peter Jackson's movie the thumbs-up? -- The forgotten Inkling: a personal memoir of Owen Barfield -- Part five: More things considered. The decadent path to Christ -- The quest for the real Oscar: a century after his death, is the real Oscar Wilde finally emerging from the shadows? -- Making Oscar wild: unmasking Oscar Wilde's opposition to "pathological" gay marriage -- Truth is stranger than science fiction -- Hollywood and the "holy war" -- Three cheers for Hollywood -- Purity and passion: examining the sacred heart of Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ -- Paul McCartney: a grief observed -- Above all shadows rides the sun: the poetry of praise -- The magic of technology -- Russian revelations -- Dante: assent's ascent -- Shakespeare: good will for all men -- Modern art: friend or foe? -- Salvador Dali: from Freud to faith -- Mr. Davey versus the devil: a true story -- Totus Tuus: a tribute to a truly Holy Father -- Faith and the feminine -- Our life, our sweetness and our hope -- The presence that Christmas presents.
Added Title:
Literary giants, literary Catholics.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PR4453.C4 Z745 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Joseph Pearce has firmly established himself as the premiere literary biographer of our time, especially in interpreting the spiritual depths of the Catholic literary tradition. In this book, Pearce examines a plethora of famous authors, taking the reader through a dazzling tour of the creative landscape of Catholic prose and poetry. Catholic Literary Giants covers the vast and impressive terrain from Dante to Tolkien, from Shakespeare to Waugh.

Focusing especially on the literary revival of the 20th century, Pearce explores well-known authors like G.K. Chesterton, Graham Greene and J.R.R. Tolkien, but also introduces readers to lesser-known writers like Roy Campbell, Maurice Baring, and Owen Barfield. He even includes the new saint, John Paul II, who wrote many literary and poetic pieces, including one long poetic "meditation" that was made into a feature film, The Jeweler's Shop .

Anyone who appreciates English literature will be entranced by the wealth and depth of this masterpiece.

Author Notes

Joseph Pearce is the author of numerous literary works, including Literary Converts, The Quest for Shakespeare and Shakespeare on Love, and the editor of the Ignatius Critical Editions series. His other books include literary biographies of G.K. Chesterton, Oscar Wilde, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgementsp. 11
Converting the Culture: The Evangelizing Power of Beautyp. 13
Part 1 Tradition and Conversion
1 Tradition and Conversion in Modern English Literaturep. 21
2 Twentieth-Century England's Christian Literary Landscapep. 58
Part 2 The Chesterbelloc
3 The Chesterbelloc: Examining the Beauty of the Beastp. 65
4 Chesterton and Saint Francisp. 76
5 Shades of Gray in the Shadow of Wildep. 80
6 Fighting the Euro from Beyond the Grave: The Ghost of Chesterton Haunts Lord Howep. 85
7 Catholicism and "Democracy"p. 89
8 Fascism and Chestertonp. 93
9 G. K. Chesterton: Champion of Orthodoxyp. 105
10 Hilaire Belloc in a Nutshellp. 109
11 Belloc's The Path to Romep. 112
12 A Chip off the Old Belloc: Bob Copper In Memoriamp. 125
13 Maurice Baring: In the Shadow of the Chesterbellocp. 128
14 K. H. Benson: Unsung Geniusp. 138
15 Maisie Ward: Concealed with a Kissp. 146
16 John Seymour: Some Novel Common Sensep. 153
Part 3 The Wasteland
17 Entrenched Passion: The Poetry of Warp. 157
18 War Poets: Cutting through the Cantp. 160
19 Siegfried Sassoon: Poetic Pilgrimagep. 162
20 Emerging from the Wasteland: The Cultural Reaction to the Desert of Modernityp. 167
21 Edith Sitwell: Modernity and Traditionp. 179
22 Roy Campbell: Bombast and Firep. 184
23 Roy Campbell: Religion and Politicsp. 189
24 Campbell in Spainp. 200
25 Evelyn Waugh: Ultramodern to Ultramontanep. 210
26 Beyond the Facts of Life: Douglas Lane Patey's Biography of Evelyn Waughp. 214
27 In Pursuit of the Greene-Eyed Monster: The Quest for Graham Greenep. 218
28 Cross Purposes: Greene, Undset and Bernanosp. 223
29 Muggeridge Resurrectedp. 225
Part 4 J.R.R. Tolkien and the Inklings
30 Inklings of Gracep. 231
31 From the Prancing Pony to the Bird and Baby: Roy "Strider" Campbell and the Inklingsp. 235
32 J. R. R. Tolkien: Truth and Mythp. 240
33 The Individual and Community in Tolkien's Middle Earthp. 247
34 Religion and Politics in The Lord of the Ringsp. 257
35 Quest and Passion Play: J.R.R. Tolkien's Sanctifying Mythp. 261
36 True Northp. 266
37 The Once and Future Kingp. 269
38 Tolkien and the Catholic Literary Revivalp. 272
39 True Myth: The Catholicism of The Lord of the Ringsp. 288
40 Letting the Catholic Out of the Bagginsp. 296
41 A Hidden Presence: The Catholic Imagination of J.R. R. Tolkienp. 301
42 From War to Mordor: J. R. R. Tolkien and World War Ip. 306
43 Divine Mercy in The Lord of the Ringsp. 311
44 Resurrecting Myth: A Response to Dr. Murphy's "Response"p. 314
45 The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: The Successes and Failures of Tolkien on Filmp. 323
46 Would Tolkien Have Given Peter Jackson's Movie the Thumbs-Up?p. 326
47 The Forgotten Inkling: A Personal Memoir of Owen Barfieldp. 329
Part 5 More Things Considered
48 The Decadent Path to Christp. 335
49 The Quest for the Real Oscar: A Century after His Death, Is the Real Oscar Wilde Finally Emerging from the Shadows?p. 338
50 Making Oscar Wild: Unmasking Oscar Wilde's Opposition to "Pathological" Gay Marriagep. 342
51 Truth Is Stranger Than Science Fictionp. 345
52 Hollywood and the "Holy War"p. 348
53 Three Cheers for Hollywoodp. 351
54 Purity and Passion: Examining the Sacred Heart of Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christp. 356
55 Paul McCartney: A Grief Observedp. 359
56 Above All Shadows Rides the Sun: The Poetry of Praisep. 361
57 The Magic of Technologyp. 364
58 Russian Revelationsp. 367
59 Dante: Assent's Ascentp. 370
60 Shakespeare: Good Will for All Menp. 376
61 Modern Art: Friend or Foe?p. 380
62 Salvador Dali: From Freud to Faithp. 384
63 Mr. Davey versus the Devil: A True Storyp. 394
64 Totus Tuus: A Tribute to a Truly Holy Fatherp. 399
65 Faith and the Femininep. 402
66 Our Life, Our Sweetness and Our Hopep. 404
67 The Presence That Christmas Presentsp. 407
Indexp. 409