The Lost Voices of the Catholic Literary Revival
The novels of Evelyn Waugh and Graham Greene often focus on the solitary figure of a priest or layman in spiritual combat with the world around him. By contrast, the lost novels of Catholic women are usually situated in families and parishes and in the institutional communities in which the writers themselves first encountered the faith: schools and convents. Almost wholly unrecognized by scholarship on the Catholic novel are the frequent depictions of female religious life. The women writers of the Catholic Literary Revival were in their own time well-known and well-read, with no shortage of best-selling authors among their ranks. Most predated and greatly influenced Waugh and Greene. They wrote from a more diverse range of social and political positions than Waugh and Greene, and were often more radical in their use of nineteenth- and twentieth-century literary innovations. Their works are set in locations male writers never considered, and they often posed very different questions about how a person can find their way in a fallen world.