John Henry Newman’s Influence On Literary Figures

I discovered this interesting interview while reading the Ignatius Press blog.  The original is from Zenit.  Pearce gives us some insight into famous literary figures who were influenced by Blessed Newman, and credits him with being the father of the Catholic revival in England.

 

from a drawing by George Richmond

 

“Newman is rightly considered to be the father of the Catholic revival…”From a wide-ranging ZENIT interview with the tireless Joseph Pearce:

ZENIT: Could you say something about your own reflections — as one who has spent significant time studying Newman — regarding the beatification ceremony?

Pearce: As an admirer of Newman, as an Englishman, and, more to the point, as an English Catholic convert, I was simply overjoyed by his beatification.

Newman is rightly considered to be the father of the Catholic revival and the seismic power of his conversion continues to reverberate throughout the English-speaking world.

The number of converts who owe their conversion, under grace, to Newman, at least in part, are too numerous to mention. As such, a few will suffice to illustrate the point.

Gerard Manley Hopkins, arguably the finest poet of the Victorian era, was received into the Church by Newman in 1866.

Oscar Wilde fell under Newman’s spell as an undergraduate and continued to admire him throughout his life. Wilde’s ultimate deathbed conversion, the culmination of a lifelong love affair with the Church, was due in part to the beguiling presence of Newman’s enduring influence.

Hilaire Belloc and J.R.R. Tolkien both studied at the Birmingham Oratory School, which had been established by Newman, the former during Newman’s own lifetime and the latter in his ghostly shadow a few years after his death. In both cases, Newman’s role in their Christian formation contributed to the faithful fortitude that animated their lives as Catholic writers of the utmost importance.

Others such as Graham Greene, Evelyn Waugh and Muriel Spark could be mentioned among the many others, documented in my book “Literary Converts” (Ignatius Press), who owed their conversion, at least in part, to Newman’s benign influence.

Last, and indubitably least, I must mention that Newman’s beautiful and profound “Apologia pro Vita Sua” played a significant role in my own path to conversion.    

Read the entire interview, by Genevieve Pollock, posted today. [Sept. 27]

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