Ways and Crossways
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By Paul Claudel
Ways and Crossways, unique among Paul Claudel’s many literary works for its exclusive publication in English translation, is a collection of essays and letters on subjects ranging from art and poetry to the physics of the Eucharist and the problem of evil. Unrelated in topic and dynamic in tone, the pieces are unified in their display of a prodigious Catholic imagination. Claudel sees every created thing as an opportunity to encounter the living God, “for in all God is always Now, and it is in the Now that He is present to all things. It is in this Now of His that all things find their beginning and their end.”
First published in 1933 in collaboration with Claudel’s friend and colleague Monsignor John O’Connor, Ways and Crossways displays the expanse of Claudel’s synthetic genius as he charts the many and varied paths by which God draws souls into the divine presence.
Paul Claudel (1868–1955) was a French poet, dramatist, and essayist, and a convert to Roman Catholicism. A six-time nominee for the Nobel Prize in Literature, Claudel achieved prominence in twentieth-century French literature for his unique prose style and powerful verse dramas. The 1924 drama Le Soulier de satin (The Satin Slipper) is widely recognized as his masterpiece.