Like Thomas More, whom Erasmus famously dubbed “a man for all seasons for all men,” Ronald Knox was a man of many talents. He was a classicist, writer of fiction, translator, theologian, essayist, journalist, historian, preacher, and spiritual guide. His aptitude for writing in a variety of literary genres was evident from an early age. This volume addresses Knox’s original contribution to each area of his interests, literary as well as theological. It illustrates his insights into Virgil’s Aeneid, explains the value of his fiction and discusses the merits of his translation of the Bible. It also looks into Knox’s deep understanding of the liturgy and the reasons why his spirituality had and continues to have such a strong appeal. Finally, it suggests that many aspects of his theology and his use of humour and satire remain pertinent today. Two extensive selections of Knox’s unpublished writings and correspondence, as well as published pieces that are now difficult to trace, complement the essays in this volume.
Francesca Bugliani Knox graduated from the University of Pisa (Dott. Lett.) and taught English Literature at the Università IULM, Milan, from 1986 to 2003. In 2009 she received her doctorate in Religious Studies from Heythrop College, University of London. She is now Research Associate at Heythrop and Teaching Fellow at University College London. She has published widely on English and Italian literature and culture from the Renaissance to the present, focusing in particular on the relationship between literature and theology. The author of Anatomia dello snob: William Makepeace Thackeray (1990) and The Eye of the Eagle: John Donne and the Legacy of Ignatius Loyola (2011), she has also edited and translated into Italian A Treatise of Melancholie by the Elizabethan physician and inventor of shorthand, Timothie Bright (1990). Her essays and articles have appeared in various collections and in journals ranging from Lingua e letteratura, Renaissance Studies, and The Heythrop Journal to Dante Studies, Hamlet Studies, and Yeats Annual. With David Lonsdale, she has co-edited Poetry and the Religious Imagination (2015) and, with John Took, Poetry and Prayer (2015); she has also contributed an essay to the third volume in this series on “The Power of the Word,” entitled Poetic Revelations and edited by Mark Burrows, Jean Ward, and Małgorzata Grzegorzewska (2016).
“This impressive collection is a significant achievement. It combines unpublished primary source material, contemporaneous reflections, and thoughtful critical essays that both advance scholarship on Ronald Knox in their own right and suggest how fecund a field of study his oeuvre is for future scholars. Its refreshingly serious treatment of Knox’s work thus furthers a much overdue reappraisal of a leading figure in the Catholic literary revival, and therefore makes a valuable contribution to scholarship in British religious and literary history. This volume is a rich resource for those already familiar with Knox, an intelligent introduction to him for the uninitiated, and a catalyst for further studies of his life and legacy and of the many fields to which he contributed.”
Adam Schwartz, Christendom College
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