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Thursday, November 02, 2006


Cristina A. Montes

I received a copy of "Literary Converts" three birthdays ago, and I highly recommend it!


I hope Joseph Pearce is right about the future.

Sandra Miesel

A point that has troubled me about this book since it came out is the inclusion of Tolkien as a "convert." JRRT and his younger brother were received into the Church as small boys because their mother was converting. This did not represent a deep personal decision or spiritual journey. Is Caryll Houselander, who also became Catholic as a young child, to be considered a literary convert?

Carl Olson

Pearce never describes Tolkien as a convert, since, of course, he wasn't one. But since Tolkien was a key part of the Christian literary revival of the first half of the 20th century, which is the focus of Pearce's book, it is natural that Tolkien would appear in the book, especially in regard to his influence on C.S. Lewis.

Brian John Schuettler

As Pirce writes himself in Tolkien: Man and Myth...
"J.R.R. Tolkien, author of the world's best-seller The Lord of the Rings, qualifies, technically, as a "literary convert" because of his reception into the Church as an eight-year-old following his mother's conversion to the faith. It could be said, therefore, that he joins the ranks of the literary converts by creeping in through the back door or, perhaps more correctly, through the nursery door. With beguiling ambiguity he is neither a cradle Catholic nor a full-blown convert, but a charming mixture of the two — a cradle convert. Part of the confusion, Carl, stems from the comment Pierce makes in the interview in listing converts to the Church."

Having read Pierce's biography and his book Tolkien: A Celebration and also the published Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien it is, to my mind, impossible to separate him from C.S. Lewis's spiritual conversion and therefore he has a direct connection that appropriately places him in Pierce's Literary Converts book. It was always a source of sadness for Tolkien, from what I read, that Lewis never entered the Catholic Church and yet, ironically, by the grace given Lewis, he himself would be the source of so many conversions to the Church.

Brian John Schuettler

Sorry about that....if I only had an editor or a brain!
Delete the sentence that begins..."Part of the confusion..."

Cristina A. Montes

I agree with all the comments above. JRRT, technically, is a convert albeit a "cradle convert". Furthermore, "Literary Converts", more than just highlighting individual conversion stories a la "Surprised by Truth" (although the individual conversion stories in "Literary Converts" are no less inspiring), discusses a trend and a literary movement in which JRRT played a part.

Ed Peters

I converted when I was three weeks old. Now THAT'S a cradle convert. JRRT was an old guy of 8.

Cristina A. Montes

"I converted when I was three weeks old. Now THAT'S a cradle convert. JRRT was an old guy of 8."


My grandparents wanted me to be baptized the week-end of the parish feastday, when the bishop would be there, so that I could also be confirmed on the same day (and also for sentimental reasons, I guess). My parents were new parents so they just rode along. My mother, however, thought that the parish feastday was too far off and gave me emergency baptism. When I was brought to church on the day that my grandparents wanted for my baptism, my parents forgot to tell the bishop that I was given emergency baptism, so the matter and form of the sacrament were repeated on me. I was three weeks old during the "second baptism". Am I a cradle revert? :)

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