My purpose is merely to recommend good books, specifically books written by Catholic writers that are worthy of the reader's attention
I welcome any controversy that may ensue from this list; in fact I will be disappointed if no one takes me to task. I'm always anxious to learn of titles I don't know, or have forgotten, or should know better, or be reminded that my own certainties may be unfounded.
Alessandro Manzoni (1785-1873), the Italian novelist, whose masterpiece, I Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed), began the tradition of what can be called the 'Catholic novel.'
WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - There is no grand metaphysic or aesthetic theory behind the making of this list.
Its purpose is merely to recommend good books, specifically books written by Catholic writers that are worthy of the reader's attention. For the most part these novels have explicitly Catholic themes and perspectives.
That a great novel can have explicit religious themes of any kind is a tribute to the artistry of the writer since such explicitness is usually deadly to writing of any kind. I have included a few selections that will not strike the reader as "Catholic" since such signposts are either missing or even rejected outright.
Any good list should be controversial by the inclusion of choices potentially deemed questionable by some, perhaps intimating a certain absence of Catholic earnestness on the part of the chooser. I welcome any controversy that may ensue from this list; in fact I will be disappointed if no one takes me to task.
I'm always anxious to learn of titles I don't know, or have forgotten, or should know better, or be reminded that my own certainties may be unfounded.
Some of the novels listed are difficult to acquire, others are a click away at a modest cost. The year of publication references the original language edition.
A final note -- Readers may immediately notice that I've not included the great Fyodor Dostoyevsky or any writer from one of the Orthodox traditions.
This is not meant as a slight, but rather the recognition of a literary tradition that differs in significant ways.
Adalbert Stifter, Rock Crystal, 1845.
Joris-Karl Huysmans, En route, 1895.
Henryk Sienkiewicz, Quo Vadis, 1895.
Wladyslaw Reymont, The Comedienne, 1896.
Leon Bloy, The Woman Who Was Poor, 1897.
Antonio Fogazzaro, Little World of the Past, 1901.
Robert Hugh Benson, Lord of the World, 1907.
G.K. Chesterton, The Man Who Was Thursday, 1908.
Sigrid Undset, Kristin Lavansdatter, 1920-22.
Sigrid Undset, Master of Hestviken, 1925-27.
Georges Bernanos, Under the Star of Satan, 1926.
Francois Mauriac, Therese, 1928.
Su Xuelin, Heart of the Thorn Bush, 1929.
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