Reaching into the Silence
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By Rodney Delasanta, René Fortin, and Brian Barbour
Reaching into the Silence presents thirty-four essays on seventeen major authors and some twelve hundred years of literary history. Selected from the work of three friends who taught together for decades at Providence College, these essays exemplify the outlook of Catholic Humanism: grounded in the Creed and blending a love of letters and the arts with a conviction that reality is sacramental; that human beings live in a metaphysically grounded and morally ordered universe in which good and evil are real alternatives; that the human person is a unity of body and spirit with an eternal destiny, not a mere bundle of appetites and desires; and that, in Newman’s words, “the human race is implicated in some terrible aboriginal calamity” from which it needs the redemption won by Christ.
Words, after speech, reach
Into the silence. (T. S. Eliot, Burnt Norton)
Treating Chaucer and Shakespeare, Austen and Wordsworth, Flaubert and Dostoyevsky, Fitzgerald and Woolf, T. S. Eliot and C. S. Lewis, and Jacques Maritain and Flannery O’Connor, these essays illustrate that joy which Fortin, Delasanta, and Barbour take in all great literature, its truth, goodness, and beauty, and provide stalwart guidance and sure direction for all seekers of the mystery that “words, after speech, reach into the silence.”
Rodney Delasanta (1932–2007) taught at Providence College from 1961–2007, where he chaired the English Department from 1972–1974 and served as Director of the Liberal Arts Honors Program from 1988–2005. He was the author of The Epic Voice and of some thirty scholarly articles.
René Fortin (1934–1991) taught at Providence College from 1958 to 1991, serving as Director of the Liberal Arts Honors Program from 1967–1970, Chair of the English Department from 1970–1972, and Director of the Development of Western Civilization Program from 1972–1987. He published some twenty scholarly articles, many of which are included in his posthumous collection, Gaining upon Certainty.
Brian Barbour (1943–) taught at Providence College from 1969–2014, where he served also as Director of the American Studies Program from 1981–1984, Chair of the English Department from 1986–1988; and Director of the Development of Western Civilization Program from 1994–2004. He has edited six books and authored some fifteen scholarly articles, several of which won guild awards.
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