London: The Dropmore Press, 1949. Limited edition. Quarto (10 5/8 inches tall), original brick red cloth, spine and front board lettered in gilt, top edge gilt, uncut, original dust wrapper, original buff card slipcase with printed paper spine label. Book Fine, light foxing and toning to dust wrapper, slipcase with one closed tear and peeling to label. About Fine. Item #1256
"REVEALED TRUTH DOES NOT MERELY CLAIM THE HOMAGE OF OUR INTELLECTS, IT SATISFIES THE ASPIRATIONS OF OUR HEARTS"
Limited edition of Ronald Knox's Occasional Sermons—Selected and Introduced by Evelyn Waugh—one of only 550 copies printed by The Dropmore Press. An exceptional copy complete in the scarce original dust wrapper and slipcase.
A gifted speaker and writer, Monsignor Ronald Knox's style "has an absolute clarity and simplicity which pass into the restraint and reserve of his devotional writings. A master of prose, he remains compulsively readable to those who read him, but he has yet to be rediscovered as a master of the spiritual life" (ODNB). Edited by Evelyn Waugh, who, as Knox's sole literary executor, would later write a definitive biography of his close friend ("who was always the 'special preacher' on great occasions") after his death in 1957. Waugh added notes and a brief insightful Preface (dated, "Stinchcombe, July, 1948"), characterizing the waning influence of the Orator: "It has not been a propitious age for the fame of a preacher. Microphone and magazine have largely usurped the place of the pulpit, but the sermon remains a classic literary form, long anterior to the essay or the novel. The libraries of our grandparents bear witness to the esteem in which they—indeed in which every previous age—held it. Mgr. Knox is almost alone to-day as the scion of this long and illustrious descent."
Waugh's "purely personal selections of the most notable of Mgr. Knox's achievements in a single field of his art today" are comprised of eleven sermons: 1. Success (Sermon at the Church of St. Edward the Confessor), 2. Homage (The Coronation of King George VI), 3. Greatness (Requiem Mass of Abbot Matthews), 4. Truth (Conversion of John Henry Newman), 5. Light (Conversion of John Henry Newman), 6. Zeal (Conversion of Frederick William Faber), 7. A.M.D.G. (Anniversary of Campion Hall), 8. Individuality (Meeting of the British Association), 9. Life (Wedding at Brompton Oratory), 10. Permanence (Sermon at the Old Palace, Oxford), and 11. Heroism (War Memorial at Wimbledon College).
Time and again, Knox summons the ancient memory of Catholic England, as in a panegyric (in the presence of the assembled Hierarchy) to commemorate the conversion of John Henry Newman: "For us Catholics, truth is something homelier and friendlier than bare intellectual conviction. Revealed truth does not merely claim the homage of our intellects, it satisfies the aspirations of our hearts. What Newman gained in 1845 was not the mere saving of his own intellectual honesty, it was a system of spiritual values which lit up the world for him; not a cold glare but a warm blaze, a Kindly Light which made the darkness more congenial than the garish day he loved once" (Truth. The Official Panegyric, pronounced on October 9th, 1945 at the Birmingham Oratory). Loosely inserted in this copy is a newspaper cutting from The Tablet (dated, October 1951) including Knox's article "On Rebuilding a Church." First edition, first impression, number 116 of only 550 copies printed. Waugh. The Life of the Right Reverend Ronald Knox (1959).