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Father Gardiner is the literary editor of the Jesuit weekly, America. This book is a collection of ""fugitive"" pieces which have appeared in that magazine since 1940 and they are generally topical selections written to meet some immediate need at the time, although many of the reviews and articles are part of the continuing comment in the areas of censorship, advertising for the media and mass culture. In a preface Father Gardiner briefly explains the broad base of his criticism which ""has always intended to be a comment on how books and our culture generally mirror that basic craving for happiness, for fulfillment, that underlies and girds all our human hopes and fears, loves and aspirations"". After some initial discussion on the functions of literature there are remarks on: the paucity of literary disagreement; the decline of style in modern writing; the historical novel; the devotional aspects of much Catholic writing; the relationship between juvenile delinquency and the comic books. He includes his reviews of books he liked --Brideshead Revisited, The End of the Affair, Cry the Beloved Country, The Nun's Story and several others, along with dissenting opinions on the recent works of Faulkner, Hemingway, John O'Hara, Steinbeck. The final section -- Miscellany -- subtitled A Critic When Not Being at His Last contains some reflections suggested by the seaons of Christmastide and Lent. Varied offerings, temperate and reasonable, by the author of last year's Catholic Viewpoint on Censorship.

Publisher: Doubleday