Further Reading Suggestions for Writers

Tuscany Press will continue to enlarge its suggested reading list. Here are additional suggestions, Suggested Reading for Writers of Catholic Fiction, share with others, or read below.

1.) Aiming at Heaven, Getting the Earth: The English Catholic Novel by Marian E. Crowe. Professor Crowe is retired from the University of Notre Dame and one of the few who have studied the Catholic novel and written about it. Ms. Crowe’s work defines the Catholic novel as ". . . a work of substantial literary merit, in which Catholic theology and thought have a significant presence within the narrative, with genuine attention to the inner spiritual life, often drawing on Catholicism’s rich liturgical and sacramental symbolism and enriched by the analogical Catholic imagination.” She examines the history of the Catholic novel and helps authors understand where they fit into the literary world and tradition all around them. If you want to know about the Catholic novel's potential in the future - this is the book.


2.) On Fairy Stories by J.R.R. Tolkien. The essay is significant because it contains Tolkien's explanation of his philosophy on fantasy and thoughts on mythopoiesis (where authors integrate traditional mythological themes and archetypes into fiction). Moreover, the essay is an early analysis of speculative fiction by one of the most important authors in the genre. "The realm of fairy-story is wide and deep and high and filled with many things: all manner of beasts and birds are found there; shoreless seas and stars uncounted; beauty that is an enchantment, and an ever-present peril; both joy and sorrow as sharp as swords. In that realm a man may, perhaps, count himself fortunate to have wandered, but its very richness and strangeness tie the tongue of a traveller who would report them. And while he is there it is dangerous for him to ask too many questions, lest the gates should be shut and the keys be lost...."  Does this remind you of anything?  Read it here -  On Fairy Stories

3.) Nobel Lecture in Literature 1970 by Alexandr Solzhenitsyn Alexandr Solzhenitsyn delivered a speech to the Swedish Academy which is considered by some as the moral basis for literature.  Below are a few quotes and thoughts from the great writer. "One day Dostoevsky threw out the enigmatic remark: "Beauty will save the world". What sort of a statement is that? For a long time I considered it mere words. How could that be possible? When in bloodthirsty history did beauty ever save anyone from anything? Ennobled, uplifted, yes - but whom has it saved? There is, however, a certain peculiarity in the essence of beauty, a peculiarity in the status of art: namely, the convincingness of a true work of art is completely irrefutable and it forces even an opposing heart to surrender...." "So perhaps that ancient trinity of Truth, Goodness and Beauty is not simply an empty, faded formula as we thought in the days of our self-confident, materialistic youth? If the tops of these three trees converge, as the scholars maintained, but the too blatant, too direct stems of Truth and Goodness are crushed, cut down, not allowed through - then perhaps the fantastic, unpredictable, unexpected stems of Beauty will push through and soar TO THAT VERY SAME PLACE, and in so doing will fulfil the work of all three? In that case Dostoevsky's remark, "Beauty will save the world", was not a careless phrase but a prophecy? After all HE was granted to see much, a man of fantastic illumination. And in that case art, literature might really be able to help the world today? It is the small insight which, over the years, I have succeeded in gaining into this matter that I shall attempt to lay before you here today."  Read the Nobel Lecture in Literature here.

4.) On Becoming a Novelist by John Gardner. Gardner talks of the life of the writer and the teacher.  He takes his hard earned lessons and shares with those who aspire to be a writer.  Writer and teacher are one in this simple and yet edifying work. "Finally, the true novelist is the one who never quits." John Gardner 

5.) The Handbook of Good English by Edward D. Johnson. Let us begin with the fundamentals of fiction.  Good fiction must be well written.  All writers or would-be published authors need to master: grammar and syntax, punctuation, diction, sentence variety, paragraph structure, breaks, chaptering, and more. A fine reference book is The Handbook of Good English by Edward D. Johnson. 

In His Peace and Grace,

Peter Mongeau Founder and Publisher


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