Thursday, October 17, 2013

Poets who came home

This enjoyable article at National Catholic Register tells of five notable poets of the 20th century who converted to the Catholic faith: Wallace Stevens, Claude McKay, Oscar Wilde, Sally Read, and Roy Campbell. Very much worth a look.

In the combox there, one trollish reader condemned all tales of deathbed conversions to Catholicism (e.g., Stevens's and Wilde's) as propaganda, because the supposed convert is dead, and we can no longer ask him or her to verify the story. The trouble with this line of reasoning is that if we followed it uniformly, we would believe almost nothing about the past. Before photography and audio recording became widespread, there was simply no other source of knowledge about a distant or past event than the testimony of someone who was there — a witness. Since this may be obvious even to the aforesaid reader, I suspect that the rule is to apply only to events which might be dangerously pro-Catholic.