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Encyclopedia of Catholic Literature
     

Encyclopedia of Catholic Literature

by Mary Reichardt
 
The Catholic faith has inspired some of the world's greatest creative works and has been a powerful force in history from the Roman Empire to the present. Catholic writers reflect their heritage in their works, and generations of readers have continued to appreciate the Catholic literary tradition. Many works by Catholic writers hold a high place in the literary canon

Overview

The Catholic faith has inspired some of the world's greatest creative works and has been a powerful force in history from the Roman Empire to the present. Catholic writers reflect their heritage in their works, and generations of readers have continued to appreciate the Catholic literary tradition. Many works by Catholic writers hold a high place in the literary canon and have exerted a tremendous cultural and political influence. Still others continue to be widely read by contemporary readers and quietly shape modern society. Some works, too, reflect the conflicts of the Catholic Church in the 21st century and capture the struggles of individual Catholics in a secular society. This encyclopedia covers the vast riches of the Catholic literary tradition from its origins to the present day.

Included are substantial entries on more than 70 major works from around the world. A special effort has been made to cover women writers and writers of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, whose works reflect the many dimensions of the Catholic experience. The encyclopedia provides entries on such writers and works as St. Augustine's Confessions, Catherine of Siena's Dialogue, Dante's The Divine Comedy, Sandra Cisneros' The House on Mango Street, J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, and Muriel Spark's Memento Mori. Each entry is written by an expert contributor and includes a biography of the writer, a plot summary of a major work, an extended critical discussion, an overview of the work's critical reception, and a selected bibliography. The entries give detailed attention to particular works and explore their relation to Catholic thought. The encyclopedia concludes with a selected, general bibliography.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Representing such genres as fiction, drama, poetry, autobiography, letters, theology, and philosophy, this timely reference work examines over 70 works of literature that contain concepts reflecting Catholic perspectives. Although it focuses on the 20th century, the encyclopedia includes works that span 17 centuries, from Confessions of St. Augustine (397 A.D.) to medieval writers Hildegard of Bingen, Dante, and Chaucer, to 19th-century authors such as John Henry Newman and Th r se of Lisieux. And even though all the works deal with some aspect or challenge of the Catholic faith, not all the authors featured were themselves Roman Catholic (e.g., Protestant Willa Cather and Anglican T.S. Eliot). Reichardt (English & Catholic studies, Univ. of St. Thomas) has enlisted scholars in each field to compose the entries, which include author biographies, a summary and analysis of the work, and an overview of critical reactions. Bottom Line Though the brevity of the entries (which average about ten pages) results in omissions and condensations of information, this resource provides a good overview of Catholic thought as embodied in works that are literary rather than doctrinal. Of interest to academic and larger public libraries.-Denise J. Stankovics, Rockville P.L., Vernon, CT Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780313328022
Publisher:
Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated
Publication date:
09/28/2004
Pages:
842

Meet the Author

MARY R. REICHARDT is Professor of Catholic Studies and English at the University of St. Thomas. Her previous books include Catholic Women Writers: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook (Greenwood, 2001).

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