RONALD KNOX: The Period by Thomas  by
Kirkus Star

RONALD KNOX: The Period by Thomas

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Any biography of Knox labors under an initial disadvantage: it must, inevitably, bear comparison with Evelyn Waugh's Monsignor Ronald Knox, and there are few writers who can survive a critical comparison with the work of that last representative of the English Catholic grands sprits. The authors of this book modestly concede the definitive nature of Waugh's work; their admitted purpose is merely to supplement that author's study and to fill in, in this or that detail, his work. Yet, they are too modest; for is fact, they go far beyond that. Waugh noted, in his preface, that he knew, and was writing about, Knox ""primarily as a man of letters rather than as a priest""; his book, therefore, while superlative from a literary standpoint, leaves, something to be desired if one considers that the function of a biography is to present the ""total man."" The present work, however, has succeeded where Waugh failed; its object, and its over-all effect, is the total Knox, i.e., Knox as a -priest -who-was-a-man-of-letters. To my mind, therefore, from the standpoint of biographical exactitude this biography is superior to that of Waugh, even though on the basis of pure literary merit the latter is the better back. The logical conclusion thus seems to be: to satisfy an interest in Waugh's impressions of Knox, read Waugh's book; but to satisfy an interest in Knox, read that of and Speaight.

Pub Date: Sept. 8th, 1965
Publisher: Sheed & Ward