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Return to Tradition
by Francis Beauchesne Thornton, editor

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Return to Tradition Quantity in Basket: None
Code: 0912141700
Price: $49.95
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Shouldn’t you know more about the Catholic renewal in high gear before Vatican II? Shouldn’t your children and grandchildren? Sample the finest Catholic writing of the past two centuries in this massive anthology, now back in print after nearly half a century.

Amid the present decline of Catholic life and letters it seems astonishing to recall that in 1948, when this magnificent treasury was published, the Church was enjoying a great literary and intellectual revival that had been going on since the early 1800s. But secular publishers and critics paid little heed, creating the need for a comprehensive collection that would chart the Catholic Revival by anthologizing its leading lights. Fr. Francis Thornton’s wonderful treasury quickly became a standard in better Catholic high schools and colleges -- then fell out of favor after the Council. Now, Roman Catholic Books makes it available again in handsome, long-lasting hardcover.


Fr. Thornton divides his survey into five expansive sections: “The English Revival” (including works by Newman, Frederick Faber, Robert Hugh Benson, Belloc, Chesterton, Knox, Sheed, and Waugh) ... “The French Influence” (works by Claudel, Gheon, Mauriac, Gilson, Bernanos, Maritain, et al) ... “The Irish Revival” (Padraic Colum, James Clarence Mangan, Canon Sheehan) ... “The American Revival” (Orestes Brownson, John La Farge, Joyce Kilmer, William Thomas Walsh, Fulton Sheen) ... and “The Liturgical Revival” (not to be confused with the upheaval after Vatican II, and including works by Karl Adam, Pius Parsch, Romano Guardini and Virgil Michel).


The bounty here is nearly overwhelming -- no fewer than 128 authors, generously represented across 955 large-format, two-column pages. Shorter works, such as poems and essays, are presented unabridged; longer ones, such as novels and biographies, are represented by chapter-length highlights. The variety, as one reviewer noted, is nothing short of “amazing” (the lists below are partial):


  • ESSAYS AND SERMONS including Cardinal Newman’s “The Second Spring” * Christopher Dawson’s “Humanism and the New Order” * Fr. Frederick Faber’s “Human Respect” * Jacques Maritain’s “Catholic Thought and Its Mission” * Cardinal Manning’s “Revealed Truth Definite and Certain”


  • POEMS AND HYMNS by Francis Thompson * Hillaire Belloc * G.K. Chesterton * Fr. Frederick William Faber * Cardinal Newman * Aubrey Thomas de Vere * Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJ * Coventry Patmore * Joseph Mary Plunkett * Padraic Colum * Joyce Kilmer


  • HISTORIES AND BIOGRAPHIES including Cardinal Gasquet’s The Eve of the Reformation * Belloc’s Cranmer and Robespierre * C.C. Martindale’s The Life of Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson * Christopher Dawson’s “Rise of Western Civilization” * Evelyn Waugh’s Edmund Campion * William Thomas Walsh’s Isabella the Crusader


  • THEOLOGY AND SPIRITUALITY including Martin D’Arcy’s “The Christian Ideal” * Ronald Knox’s New Testament translation * Francois Mauriac’s The Eucharist * Fulton Sheen’s The Life of All Living * Karl Adams’ The Spirit of Catholicism * Pius Parsch’s Study the Mass * Dom Virgil Michel’s The Liturgy of the Church


  • PHILOSOPHY AND SOCIAL CRITICISM including Belloc’s The Servile State * Chesterton’s Heretics * Newman’s The Idea of a University * Gilson’s The Spirit of Medieval Philosophy


  • APOLOGETICS AND CONVERSION ACCOUNTS including Newman’s Apologia Pro Vita Sua * Chesterton’s The Everlasting Man * Arnold Lunn’s Now I See * Fr. Vincent McNabb’s “Liberal Catholicism” * Frank Sheed’s Communism and Man * Ronald Knox’s A Spiritual Aeneid


  • NOVELS AND PLAYS including Robert Hugh Benson’s Lord of the World * Bruce Marshall’s Father Malachy’s Miracle * Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited * Paul Claudel’s The Tidings Brought to Mary * Georges Bernanos’ Diary of a Country Priest


  • HUMOR AND SATIRE including Ronald Knox’s Essays in Satire * J.B. Morton’s Morton’s Folly * Douglas Woodruff’s Plato’s Britannia


  • ART AND LITERARY CRITICISM including Chesterton’s “On Detective Novels” * Eric Gill’s “Art and Prudence” * Jacques Maritain’s The Philosophy of Art * Fr. James Gillis on “H.G. Wells”


  • MEMOIRS, JOURNALS AND LETTERS including Wilfrid Ward’s Reminiscences of Childhood * Leon Bloy’s Letters to His Fiancee * Eric Gill’s Autobiography * Alfred Noyes’ The Unknown God * Arnold Lunn’s Come What May * St. Therese of Lisieux’s autobiography

Is there an important Catholic writer of the past 200 years who is not represented here?

John Lingard * Kenelm Henry Digby * Cardinal Wiseman * Cardinal Newman * Aubrey Thomas de Vere * Frederick Faber * Cardinal Manning * Alice Meynell * Wilfrid Meynell * Coventry Patmore * Francis Thompson * Ernest Christopher Dowson * “Michael Field” * Lionel Pigot Johnson * Robert Hugh Benson * Wilfrid Ward * Cardinal Gasquet * Hillaire Belloc * G.K. Chesterton * John Ayscough * Mrs. Wilfrid Ward * Maurice Baring * C.C. Martindale * Vincent McNabb * Eric Gill * D.B. Wyndham-Lewis * Alfred Noyes * Arnold Lunn * Bede Jarrett * Compton Mackenzie * Helen Parry Eden * Shane Leslie * Martin D’Arcy * E.I. Watkin * Ronald Knox * J.B. Morton * Christopher Dawson * Sheila Kaye-Smith * A.J. Cronin * Douglas Woodruff * Frank Sheed * Maisie Ward * Bruce Marshall * Christopher Hollis * Evelyn Waugh * Robert Speaight * Graham Greene * Fr. Gerald Vann * Charles Baudelaire * Paul Verlaine * Arthur Rimbaud * Joris Karl Huysmans * Henri Bremond * René Bazin * Leon Bloy * Paul Claudel * Francis Jammes * Charles Peguy * Henri Gheon * Francois Mauriac * Henri Bordeaux * Etienne Gilson * Paul Bourget * Georges Bernanos * Jacques Maritain * St. Therese of Lisieux * James Clarence Mangan * Canon Sheehan * Katherine Tynan Hickson * Thomas MacDonagh * Padraic H. Pearse * Joseph Mary Plunkett * Francis Ledwidge * Padraic Colum * Kate O’Brien * James Leen * Robert Farren * Orestes A. Brownson * Abram J. Ryan * Joel Chandler Harris * John Lancaster Spalding * John Bannister Tabb * F. Marion Crawford * Maurice Francis Egan * Agnes Repplier * Henry Harland * Louise Imogen Guiney * Clement Francis Kelley * James J. Daly * James M. Gillis * Micahel Williams * Charles Phillips * John La Farge * Carleton J.H. Hayes * Charles L. O’Donnell * Joyce Kilmer * Sister Madeleva * Aline Kilmer * Heywood Broun * Katherine Bregy * Francis X. Talbot * Cardinal Spellman * Daniel Sargent * Theodore Maynard * William Thomas Walsh * Fulton Sheen * Helen C. White * Leonard Feeney * Sister Maris Stella * John Gilland Brunini * Emmet Lavery * Walter Farrell * Jessica Powers * Thomas Merton * Sister Mary Maura * John W. Lynch * Harold C. Gardiner * Robert Lowell * Joseph Dever * Karl Adam * Ildefons Herwegen * Pius Parsch * Romano Guardini * William Busch * Virgil Michel * Gerlad Ellard * Paul Bussard


QUIZ: How well do you know Catholic history and literature?


1. True or false: Fulton Sheen was the most successful popularizer Catholic teachings this century.

2. Which Catholic poet wrote the famed masterpiece, “The Hound of Heaven”? (a) Joyce Kilmer (b) Francis Thompson (c) Gerard Manley Hopkins (d) Hillaire Belloc

3. Name the twentieth-century Catholic authors who wrote the definitive biographies of St. Thomas Aquinas.

4. True or false: The classic American folk tale series featuring Uncle Remus and Bre’r Rabbit was invented by a Catholic.

5. The hymn “Faith of Our Fathers” was written by which famous priest-author?

6. Which of the following converts from Anglicanism translated the New Testament into English? (a) John Henry Newman (b) Frederick Faber (c) Ronald Knox (d) Robert Hugh Benson

7. Two authors of the “French Revival” were well-known as playwrights. Paul Claudel was one. Who was the other?

8. Name the American cardinal who wrote a series of acclaimed World War II chronicles.

9. Match the novelists in column A with their novels in column b:

COLUMN A: Evelyn Waugh * Graham Greene * Francois Mauriac * Robert Hugh Benson * Bruce Marshall

COLUMN B: Come Rack, Come Rope * Black Mischief * Viper’s Tangle * The World, the Flesh, and Fr. Smith * Brighton Rock

Learn the answers in Return to Tradition.

Catholic author Ralph McInerny, who teaches at Notre Dame, recalls that Return to Tradition “conveyed the thought that the American Catholic was, through his faith, connected with the mainstream of Western culture. One had the heady realization that the Puritans and other Protestants who founded what became our prestige universities were actually on the cultural margin of things.” Catholic -- and some non-Catholic -- reviewers in 1948 were no less impressed:

“Amazing variety: expertly chosen excerpts from work which grew organically out of the great Catholic Revival.... Father Thornton gives us apologetics, history and fiction, poetry, biography and the essay -- all richly sampled with brief but discerning biographical sketches of the authors. ... An incredible sum of instruction and delight.” -- The Sign


“`Here is God’s plenty,’ the reader is impelled to say when he closes this book of nearly a thousand double-columned pages. ... fills a genuine need. Heretofore no editor has attempted the gigantic task of trying to include within one volume a survey of the Catholic literary revival of the past hundred years as it has manifested itself in England, in France, in Ireland, and in our own United States. Anthologies devoted to one country or to one genre have been collected, but here one will find Newman as well as Claudel, Padraic Colum as well as Thomas Merton. Here are Catholic historians, poets, essayists, philosophers, liturgists, novelists and dramatists.” -- Renascence


“Richly interesting, informative, enjoyable and impressive. ... The range of the writers’ subjects is wide, the degrees of their excellence various, but merit of one kind or another is in every selection, and, thanks to the great diversity, the reader is constantly surprised and refreshed.... Particularly impressive is the fact that a great majority of the famous authors called upon by Father Thornton are converts. Their numbers bear eloquent witness to the attractive power of the Catholic Revival.” -- Saturday Review


  • HUGE: 955 two-column pages, 10” x 7” size
  • Capsule biographies of all 128 authors

  • Index of authors and titles

  • Detailed Table of Contents

  • Shrink-wrapped for extra protection in shipping (as are all our books)

  • A facscimile reproduction of the original

Hardcover



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