The Unknown God


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By Alfred Noyes

The Unknown God is the odyssey of Alfred Noyes from the impoverishment of doubt and error to the magnificence of faith and truth. Abandoning his childhood Protestantism for agnosticism, Noyes still adhered to a tenuous notion of a “Supreme Being.” Through the pages of the reigning rationalist writers of his time, he pursued an answer to that question of God’s existence. Yet the bare result was the mere acknowledgement of a great “Unknown” anchoring the system. At last, after much searching and suffering, did he find in the profuse light of the Catholic faith the “key to the riddle” and the “resolution to the discord.”

As I was passing along and noticing the objects of your worship, I found also an altar bearing the inscription, to the unknown god. What therefore you worship in ignorance, that I proclaim to you. (Acts 17:23)

Modern man, Noyes argues, needs some “fundamental belief with which [he] can confront, on equal terms, the vast universe opened up to them by modern science, and feel, as other ages felt, the throb of a definite purpose in human life.” Offering the Catholic faith to this need with clarity of vision and humility of spirit, The Unknown God remains richly deserving of its accolades as “the spiritual biography of a generation” and a “weighty critique of modern agnosticism.”

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Alfred Noyes (1880–1958) was an English poet, novelist, and essayist, and a convert to Catholicism. Alongside The Unknown God, the poem “The Highwayman,” the epic verse trilogy Watchers of the Sky, and the science-fiction novel The Last Man endure as testaments to his prodigious and versatile literary talent.

Paperback: 294pp.

ISBN: 978-1952826924