Hey, weren’t we going to do a Korrektiv Summer Reading Klub on that one book we published? Because the Hren is singing about it over at The Fine Delight:
In his “Address to Artists,” Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI wrote that “an essential function of genuine beauty, as emphasized by Plato, is that it gives man a healthy ‘shock,’ it draws him out of himself, wrenches him away from resignation and from being content with the humdrum—it even makes him suffer, piercing him like a dart, but in so doing it ‘reawakens’ him, opening afresh the eyes of his heart and mind, giving him wings, carrying him aloft.” Notice that, for Pope Emeritus Benedict, art is not intrinsically evangelical or doctrinal. Contrarily, for many “Catholic Arts” means “Art as Apologetics.” If a piece of fiction is not Newman’s Apologia (which is of course a great work when measured by its own aims), it cannot be called Catholic fiction. These are the folks for whom even the writings of Flannery O’Connor might not be fit for the Catholic curriculum. I wondered if perhaps Dana Gioia had simply not read Bird’s Nest in Your Hair, a brilliant novel by Brian Jobe, who is a sort of successor to Walker Percy and whose work may well go toe-to-toe with the novels of Milan Kundera. Of course, Jobe’s deeply Catholic novel revolves around characters caught up in the, how shall we call it, adult film industry, and the prose is not puritanical. And so, for many Bird’s Nest in Your Hair is average postmodern pagan fare. But Gioia even notes Anthony Burgess as a “Catholic Writer,” and if Burgess makes the cut, so does Brian Jobe.