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The Life You Save May Be Your Own

The Life You Save May Be Your Own Cover

 

Review-A-Day

"This book...is difficult to characterize, because it's almost impossibly rich....This is the sort of ambitious marriage of criticism, biography, and history of which Edmund Wilson's Patriotic Gore and To the Finland Station are the superlative examples. Elie's book can't match the sweep and austere authority of Wilson's masterpieces, but it's an exceptionally intelligent and often elegant work, and Elie should be applauded for the reach — and grasp — of his literary ambition." Benjamin Schwarz, The Atlantic Monthly (read the entire Atlantic Monthly review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The story of four modern American Catholics who made literature out of their search for God

In the mid-twentieth century four American Catholics came to believe that the best way to explore the questions of religious faith was to write about them-in works that readers of all kinds could admire. The Life You Save May Be Your Own is their story-a vivid and enthralling account of great writers and their power over us.

Thomas Merton was a Trappist monk in Kentucky; Dorothy Day the founder of the Catholic Worker in New York; Flannery O'Connor a "Christ-haunted" literary prodigy in Georgia; Walker Percy a doctor in New Orleans who quit medicine to write fiction and philosophy. A friend came up with a name for them-the School of the Holy Ghost-and for three decades they exchanged letters, ardently read one another's books, and grappled with what one of them called a "predicament shared in common."

A pilgrimage is a journey taken in light of a story; and in The Life You Save May Be Your Own Paul Elie tells these writers' story as a pilgrimage from the God-obsessed literary past of Dante and Dostoevsky out into the thrilling chaos of postwar American life. It is a story of how the Catholic faith, in their vision of things, took on forms the faithful could not have anticipated. And it is a story about the ways we look to great books and writers to help us make sense of our experience, about the power of literature to change-to save-our lives.

Review:

"Paul Elie's book is lucid, humane, poignant, and wise. As a work of the spirit, it is universal and in no way sectarian." Harold Bloom

Review:

"They make a memorable quartet — Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton, Flannery O'Connor, Walker Percy — in Paul Elie's brilliant new study. Founder of the Catholic Worker movement, Dorothy Day finally emerges as a saintly and heroic figure. Though I thought I knew everything about the other three, who were my close friends in our author-editor rapport, Elie's insights into each member of this highly gifted and complex trio (Merton, O'Connor, Percy) strike me as fresh and original and his discoveries are new. The Life You Save May Be Your Own is a remarkable book." Robert Giroux

Review:

"This thoroughly researched and well-sourced work deserves attention from students of history, literature and religion, but it will be of special significance to Catholic readers interested in the expression of faith in the modern world." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"Elie has fashioned a fascinating multiple biography of four of the most influential Catholic literary figures of the twentieth century.... These four biographies serve as a backdrop for the scholarly analysis of the inspirational intersection of life, art, and religion." Margaret Flanagan, Booklist

Synopsis:

In the mid-twentieth Century, four American Catholics discovered that the best way to explore the questions of religious faith was to write about them. The Life You Save May Be Your Own is their story, a vivid and enthralling account of great writers and their power over us. Paul Erie tells these writers' story as a pilgrimage from the God-obsessed literary past of Dante and Dostoevsky out into the thrilling chaos of postwar American life.

Synopsis:

Includes bibliographical references (p. 475-534) and index.

About the Author

Paul Elie, an editor at FSG, has written for The New York Times Magazine, The New Republic, and Commonweal. He lives in Manhattan.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780374256807
Subtitle:
An American Pilgrimage
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Author:
Elie, Paul
Location:
New York
Subject:
General
Subject:
Religious
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
American
Subject:
American - General
Subject:
American literature
Subject:
Authors, American
Subject:
Catholics
Subject:
Christianity and literature
Subject:
Christianity - Catholicism
Subject:
Christianity - Literature
Subject:
Regional, Ethnic, Genre, Specific Subject
Subject:
Christianity - Catholic
Subject:
Christianity - Literature & the Arts
Subject:
General Biography
Edition Number:
1st ed.
Series Volume:
107-625
Publication Date:
20040310
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
8 Page Black-and-White, Notes, Insert
Pages:
576
Dimensions:
8.26 x 5.45 x 1.525 in

Related Subjects


Religion » Christianity » Catholicism
Religion » Western Religions » Social and Political Issues

The Life You Save May Be Your Own
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 576 pages Farrar Straus Giroux - English 9780374256807 Reviews:
"Review A Day" by , "This book...is difficult to characterize, because it's almost impossibly rich....This is the sort of ambitious marriage of criticism, biography, and history of which Edmund Wilson's Patriotic Gore and To the Finland Station are the superlative examples. Elie's book can't match the sweep and austere authority of Wilson's masterpieces, but it's an exceptionally intelligent and often elegant work, and Elie should be applauded for the reach — and grasp — of his literary ambition." (read the entire Atlantic Monthly review)
"Review" by , "Paul Elie's book is lucid, humane, poignant, and wise. As a work of the spirit, it is universal and in no way sectarian."
"Review" by , "They make a memorable quartet — Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton, Flannery O'Connor, Walker Percy — in Paul Elie's brilliant new study. Founder of the Catholic Worker movement, Dorothy Day finally emerges as a saintly and heroic figure. Though I thought I knew everything about the other three, who were my close friends in our author-editor rapport, Elie's insights into each member of this highly gifted and complex trio (Merton, O'Connor, Percy) strike me as fresh and original and his discoveries are new. The Life You Save May Be Your Own is a remarkable book."
"Review" by , "This thoroughly researched and well-sourced work deserves attention from students of history, literature and religion, but it will be of special significance to Catholic readers interested in the expression of faith in the modern world."
"Review" by , "Elie has fashioned a fascinating multiple biography of four of the most influential Catholic literary figures of the twentieth century.... These four biographies serve as a backdrop for the scholarly analysis of the inspirational intersection of life, art, and religion."
"Synopsis" by , In the mid-twentieth Century, four American Catholics discovered that the best way to explore the questions of religious faith was to write about them. The Life You Save May Be Your Own is their story, a vivid and enthralling account of great writers and their power over us. Paul Erie tells these writers' story as a pilgrimage from the God-obsessed literary past of Dante and Dostoevsky out into the thrilling chaos of postwar American life.
"Synopsis" by , Includes bibliographical references (p. 475-534) and index.
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