Amy’s up earlier than I am – dratted time zones – and she’s first mentioning that Godspy has an interview with David Scott, author of The Catholic Passion: Rediscovering the Power and Beauty of the Faith.

She excerpted one quote; I’ll excerpt another:


In addition to John Paul II, which writers have influenced you the most over the years?

In high school and college I read tons of fiction and poetry. I don’t do much looking back, but if I did I think I’d find that Dostoevsky and Melville, who were my favorites, first stirred the religious impulse in me. The Confidence Man and The Idiot were huge for me at one time. When I was coming back to the church, of course, it was John Paul, especially the first two social encyclicals, and the trilogy on the Trinity. Ratzinger’s two letters on liberation theology were important. I read Neuhaus’ Naked Public Square when it first came out. That was powerful. It changed my orientation to the culture and opened my eyes to a whole dimension of the faith that I’d never thought about before.

Dorothy Day was probably my biggest influence. I spent an entire winter in a library every night reading and photocopying everything she ever wrote in The Catholic Worker. A lot of that went into a book I did a few years back. She showed me how Catholicism could be a total way of life. Because she was such an incredible reader and was always writing about what she was reading, she was my gateway into this whole world of Catholic culture-novels, social theorists, artists, poets, philosophers. I wanted to read everything she read. And I’m still trying. In recent years, Daniélou, De Lubac, and Ratzinger helped lead me deeper into the church fathers and the treasures of the liturgy. Mauriac’s novels and prose remain important. At the moment, I’m on an Evelyn Waugh kick.


What the poor devil doesn’t know is that what he’s calling “an Evelyn Waugh kick” is really, most likely, the first throes of an Evelyn Waugh addiction. But leave that aside for the moment. I think it augers well for Scott that he can cite Dorothy Day and Richard Neuhaus as influences without even bothering to note the differences in their political bents.


  1. Adam DeVille says

    An addiction indeed. Mine began innocently enough–as all such declines into debauchery do–by picking up *Brideshead Revisited* several years ago and I never looked back. I now own every book he ever wrote, his letters, his diaries, all three major biographies ever written about him (the Douglas Lane Patey one is far and away the best), and a number of smaller scholarly works about him. I’ve even published two articles myself about him and am at work on a third. And still the addiction does not feel quite spent!

  2. Matthew Lickona says

    Thanks for the tip – I’ve never even seen the Patey bio, much less read it. All I’ve got is volume two of the Stannard [sp?].

  3. Adam DeVille says

    Douglas Lane Patey, *The Life of Evelyn Waugh: A Critical Biography.* http://www.abebooks.com (which I seem single-handedly to keep in business) brings up several copies for only a few kopeks. Martin Stannard is not bad, but tends to be a bit too psychoanalytical (and unhelpfully so) in most places, and does not understand Waugh’s faith fully or correctly. Patey is clearly a Catholic or at least extremely well-informed and sympathetic to the Church and to Waugh’s faith.

  4. Plato's Stepchild says

    In between eviscerating ShadowPlay and reading W.H. Auden, I recommend the following Waugh site for those of you who are addicts in serious need of a hit:


    “To show false Art what beauty was of yore.” – Sonnet 68

  5. Plato's Stepchild says

    “To read a page of Waugh is to revel in a cool, patrician, Augustan craftsmanship which is a world away from the Hemingway tradition.”

    Anthony Burgess

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