Literature

What Every Catholic Should Know

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In Literature: What Every Catholic Should Know, Joseph Pearce provides a survey of literary works of which all Catholics should be aware. Beginning with Homer and Virgil, the book progresses chronologically through the greatest works of all time, including Dante, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Dickens, Chesterton, Eliot, Tolkien and Lewis.

Joseph Pearce

Joseph Pearce is the author of numerous literary works including Literary ConvertsThe Quest for Shakespeare and Shakespeare on Love, and the editor of the Ignatius Critical Editions series. His other books include literary biographies of Oscar Wilde, J.R.R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, G. K. Chesterton and Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

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by Charlie
on 5/4/2019
from CULVER CITY
A guide to great books that will ennoble you
Joseph Pearce has written a listing of Great Books that Catholics should read, and his choices are excellent.  His criterion is based books that are true, beautiful and good when viewed from a Catholic perspective.  Furthermore, all of his picks have the power to enchant us, inspire us and teach us great truths.
Pearce says that the theme of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is that the lovers let their passionate love override their reason, and led them to make disastrous choices.  As he points out, “Love must be subject to reason; a love that denies or defies reason is illicit and is not really love at all.”  
Matthew Arnold said that learning should consist of “the best that has been thought and said”, and this book is a trustworthy guide to Great Books.  Pearce knows literature, has great insights and writes in a clear, quick style.  At the end of the book is a listing of his 100 Great Books which can serve as a “to do” list for books not yet read.
Review and Rate this Item

"I will recommend Pearce's compelling new study to every student whom I teach."
Jonathan Thorndike, PhD, Professor and Senior Fellow, Belmont University Honors Program

"This book is an invaluable resource."
David Lyle Jeffrey, FRSC, Distinguished Professor of Literature and the Humanities, Baylor University 

"This is an eloquent, keenly reasoned, aptly documented, and indisputably cogent book that belongs in every undergraduate library and that should be required reading by every student who goes to these classics for enlightenment and enchantment."
Philip C. Kolin, Distinguished Professor of English (Emeritus), University of Southern Mississippi 

"This book is a treat for the novice and the lover of Great Books alike, and a humanizing call for Catholics to draw on all the rich and ample resources of our Western literary tradition."
Daniel J. Mahoney, Augustine Chair in Distinguished Scholarship, Assumption College

"I love this book because there's not a hint of "Eat your spinach" about it. Pearce's reading program is pure pleasure. It can make the world a happier place."
Mike Aquilina, Author, A History of the Church in 100 Objects

"Learned and accessible, witty and wise, this volume should be a required textbook for every Catholic high school and college student and a must read for all who wish to mine the depths of truly Catholic culture."
Fr. Dwight Longenecker, Author of The Romance of Religion: Fighting for Goodness, Truth, and Beauty 

"With his charming wit and wide-ranging knowledge, Joseph Pearce expertly guides the reader on a fascinating tour of the world's great literary works of art."
Stephen Mirarchi, PhD, Assistant Professor of English, Benedictine College

"Joseph Pearce's introduction to literature will be immediately valuable to homeschoolers and college freshmen, but also to the general reader who knows it is as important to know how to read as it is to know what to read."
Dutton Kearney, PhD, Associate Professor of English, Hillsdale College. Editor of the Ignatius Critical Edition of Gulliver's Travels

"More than any contemporary I can call to mind, Joseph Pearce has made it his life's work to revive classics of the English tradition that most English-speaking Catholics have never known to read. This book has added many titles to my reading list."
Glenn C. Arbery, PhD, President, Wyoming Catholic College

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