DOROTHY DAY: A Radical Devotion by Robert Coles

DOROTHY DAY: A Radical Devotion

Email this review


A biography of the cofounder of The Catholic Worker, by a longtime colleague, friend and admirer. There's rarely a discordant note of criticism here, and because Coles knew Day as a friend, he is able to speak about things intimate to her, such as her love affairs. We do not associate the eventually stern activist with a young woman who recalled of an early lover: ""I loved his lean cold body as he got into bed smelling of the sea."" Coles' first meeting with his subject is a pretty story that epitomizes her attitude to life: Day was conversing with a visibly deranged bag lady, and finally turned to Coles to ask if he was ""waiting to speak to one of us."" This lack of a ""holier-than-thou"" attitude was one of Day's greatest contributions to the Catholic Church. Her supporters always included literary men such as Dwight MacDonald and W.H. Auden, perhaps because of her own genuine love of literature. To those who wished to understand her thinking, she recommended reading Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Dickens, Graham Greene, Ignazio Silone, and George Bernanos. We can be thankful that this ardent intellect and merciful woman has found such an excellent explicator as Coles. An admirable work.

Pub Date: June 25th, 1987
ISBN: 0201079747
Publisher: Addison-Wesley