Recent writings from the Ink Desk
June 14th, 2012We Need Grown-Ups Not “Adults”by Joseph Pearce
As a follow-up to my musing about Orwellian doublethink and newspeak yesterday, I'd like to vent on the adulteration of adulthood by the language-debasers.» Continue Reading
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From the Ink Desk
A Lesson from Thomas Mertonby Daniel J. Heisey
It seems more and more people are living to be a hundred, and if he were alive, Thomas Merton would this year be among them. Merton (1915-1968) remains the most famous Christian monk of the twentieth century, and his writings will engage scholars and others for some time to come. His fame began in 1948, when his autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain, became an unexpected best-seller. In England it was published as Elected Silence, a phrase from Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem “The Habit of Perfection.”
The Best Biographies of William Shakespeareby Joseph Pearce
I'm in receipt of an e-mail from someone who has read my biography, The Quest for Shakespeare, and is keen to investigate the evidence for Shakespeare's Catholicism still further. She requested other biographies of the Bard that I would recommend. Here's my reply:
The biography of Shakespeare I would recommend above all others is The Life and Times of William Shakespeare, 1564-1616 by Hildegard Hammerschmidt-Hummel (London: Chaucer Press, 2007). Unfortunately it's not cheap but it's a very handsome coffee table book with numerous illustrations throughout and 400 pages packed with solid scholarship.
Others that I would recommend:
John Henry De Groot, The Shakespeares and "The Old Faith" (Fraser, Michigan: Real-View Books, 1995). An excellent and thorough examination of Shakespeare's family, especially his parents, and the documentary evidence for their Catholic recusancy.
H. Mutschmann & K. Wentersdorf, Shakespeare & Catholicism (New York: Sheed & Ward, 1952). This is not strictly a biography but a scholarly study of the evidence for Shakespeare' Catholicism from both the biographical and the textual perspective.
Ian Wilson, Shakespeare: The Evidence (New York: St. Martin's Griffin, 1999). A solid biographical study that comes to the conclusion that Shakespeare was a Catholic. (Not to be confused with another biography by a Richard Wilson, which is problematic for a number of reasons.)
Over at Catholic Exchange, Joseph Pearce recounts his time and prison and how it finally led him into the Grace of God. It's quite the beautiful reading and well worth your time.
Many good and worthy people in the past have found the experience of imprisonment a crucial and definitive period on their road towards faith and religious conversion, or as a means of deepening an already existing faith. Saint John of the Cross springs to mind, as does Miguel Cervantes, and the great Nicolae Steinhardt, whose book on his time in prison is called The Happiness Diary. We could also add the French poet, Paul Verlaine, the Irish writer, Oscar Wilde, and the iconic Russian Nobel Prizewinner, Alexander Solzhenitsyn.