Tuesday, October 28, 2008

20th Century Authors - rediscovered in my garage

We are moving in late November (to a house in the same mid-town area of Toronto which we live in at present); so I have been forced, by the ancient Fates of "Storage space" and "Square footage", to reduce my library through what are benevolently called "Yard Sales" in Canada.

While sorting through 3 dead, blind mice (no photo available)--and other assorted rodential & marsupial problems--I've uncovered an assortment of authors whom I am now re-reading. These are (mostly) 20th century Christian authors, both American & British (with some Europeans too) - if you haven't read them yet, then do so now, and reap the rewards of Western Culture. Find whatever you can of these authors. Read what you find. You won't be disappointed. Significant background data about the British authors concerns the relationship between Eliot, Lewis, Tolkien, Williams, and Jones around the time of the two great wars.

My first re-read was C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters. See the text here (however much it is in need of editing). For anyone interested in Angels & their role in our lives, you must read the absolutely fascinating introduction (by C.S. Lewis) to the 1961 republication here, with just 3 mouse clicks forward; but most especially this book asks the big question -- "How are we to act as Christians in this our life on Earth?"--reading this book is like a "mini" Christian retreat. This book is particularly relevant as it was written (and recited via radio) during a time of war.

The no-brainers:

G. K. Chesterton
Hillaire Belloc
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Edgar Allen Poe
Herman Melville
Joseph Conrad
T.S. Eliot
C.S. Lewis
J.R.R. Tolkien
W.H. Auden
James Joyce
Flannery O'Connor
Graham Greene
William Faulkner
Ezra Pound
Francois Mauriac
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Interesting, yet under-read and under-rated:

David Jones (especially his epic poems)
Charles Williams (especially his 'supernatural' novels)
Walker Percy (especially his irony-laden novels)
Robert Lowell (poetry)
Richard Wilbur (translations and poetry)
Robert Penn Warren (everything)
Robert Fitzgerald (both his translations and his neglected poetry)
Allen Tate
Caroline Gordon
Paul Claudel
Georges Bernanos
Zbigniew Herbert

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