The Life You Save May Be Your Own
An American Pilgrimage
ISBN10: 0374256802 ISBN13: 9780374256807 Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux Published: Apr 1 2003 Pages: 554 Weight: 2.05lbs. Height: 9.25" Width: 6.25" Depth: 1.75" Language: English
The story of four modern American Catholics who made literature out of their search for God
In the mid-twentieth century four American Catholics came to believe that the best way to explore the questions of religious faith was to write about them--in works that readers of all kinds could admire. "The Life You Save May Be Your Own" is their story--a vivid and enthralling account of great writers and their power over us.
Thomas Merton was a Trappist monk in Kentucky; Dorothy Day the founder of the Catholic Worker in New York; Flannery O'Connor a "Christ-haunted" literary prodigy in Georgia; Walker Percy a doctor in New Orleans who quit medicine to write fiction and philosophy. A friend came up with a name for them--the School of the Holy Ghost--and for three decades they exchanged letters, ardently read one another's books, and grappled with what one of them called a "predicament shared in common."
A pilgrimage is a journey taken in light of a story; and in "The Life You Save May Be Your Own" Paul Elie tells these writers' story as a pilgrimage from the God-obsessed literary past of Dante and Dostoevsky out into the thrilling chaos of postwar American life. It is a story of how the Catholic faith, in their vision of things, took on forms the faithful could not have anticipated. And it is a story about the ways we look to great books and writers to help us make sense of our experience, about the power of literature to change--to save--our lives.