Sunday, June 28, 2015

Catholic Novelist = Failed Novelist

 I would concede to being a cultural Catholic—I recognize the aftershocks of Catholicism on certain avenues of my worldview, on my conception of the dramatic, and acknowledge my enormous debt to Father Gerard Manley Hopkins, to Misters Chesterton and Waugh and Greene, to Dr. Percy and Ms. Flannery O’Connor—but is one really to be cubicled as a “Catholic novelist” because one brooked a Catholic boyhood and parochial education, because one was warped in all the right ways by writers who were Catholic?
Here’s what I know with an almost religious surety: to be tagged a Catholic novelist is to be tagged a failed novelist.


  1. Well, James Horowitz published as James Salter to avoid being designated a Jewish novelist.

    I don't know Mr. Girardi's work. He seems vague on The Moviegoer. The narrator, John Bickerson Bolling, says that his mother is not devout; it his irreligious aunt who describes her as a "devout Catholic". It is nowhere said, that I recall, that Bolling was raised Presbyterian. My assumption would be that he was raised as a Catholic to the age of eleven or so, when his father died, and his aunt took him over from his mother.

  2. I love Walker Percy's books, and read a little about his other thoughts about other things, like symbols and God. I personally thought The Second Coming was his best work. Based on both of those facts I don't quite think he gets Percy more generally, as well. And more generally as to the article I the subject is too general to be as cut and dried as he thinks.

    1. I would like to like The Second Coming, but I think that unfortunately he never matched The Moviegoer: