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Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Ricardo Leal

Great to read a post like this and learn Claudel will be set loose on stage in NY. His works were widely known and influential among average learned Catholics in Brazil some decades ago, when French was more of a second language than English around here (I´m writing from Brasilia). In a conference in Sao Paulo somewhere in the 1950´s, Etienne Gilson talked about two streams in French literature: one leading from Abelard to Paul Valery and the other from Saint Bernard to Georges Bernanos. Alceu Amoroso Lima, a Brazilian essayist, then noticed Claudel is obviously in this second stream. And with what "grandeur"! Steiner and de Lubac have made the point.

Charles E Flynn

At, search for:

author: Paul Claudel

keywords: English

Ricardo Leal

1) Just for the record, Hans urs von Balthasar readers will remember he thought of literature as one of the "theological places" in our time. 2) Those who can manage some Spanish might be interested in Argentinian scholar Cecilia Ines Avenatti de Palumbo´s "La Literatura en la Estetica de Hans Urs von Balthasar", ed. Secretariado Trinitario, Salamanca, 2002. One of her epigraphs comes from Claudel: that which is beautiful draws people together, that which is beautiful comes from God ("Ce qui est beau réunit / Ce qui est beau vient de Dieu"). 3) Ignatius´ page on Balthasar is well worth a calm visit, by the way. 3) HUB spent enough time with Claudel´s works to translate him to German. On the classic "Satin Slipper" , for instance, he says not only that it displays a "retrospective panorama of the whole of tradition" (somewhere in "The Glory of the Lord"; better check it out), but that it alone among the French author´s works compares to Dante concerning the treatment of the "reciprocal conditioning between love and personal actions on the world" (ibidem; I´m quoting from Avenatti) . 5) HUB´s preface to the "Satin Slipper" is apparently not available in the web; but if I´m not mistaken, those with an interest in Claudel and easy access to good libraries can browse it in Communio´s Spring 1999 English edition (the odd Portuguese reader out there can check the November/December 2002 Portuguese edition, dedicated to "Deus na Literatura").

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