New York: Sheed and Ward, 1941. Early printing. Small octavo, original beige cloth, red top edge, original dust jacket. Small owner inkstamp to front pastedown, short closed tear and gentle toning to the rear panel, chipping to spine head of still bright and unclipped dust jacket. Very good indeed. Item #480
"THE WORLD, THE ORDINARY WORLD OF EVERYDAY, HAS ALWAYS BEEN, AND IS NOW, THE BEST SCHOOL OF SUFFERING" Rare early printing of Caryll Houselander's first book, published by Sheed and Ward in the early days of the Second World War.
Houselander was evidently scraping by as a freelance artist and writer when she was "discovered" by Frank Sheed and Maisie Ward. This War is the Passion is a collection of articles taken from the Grail Magazine (the author is credited on the title page as "Frances Caryll Houselander"). The meditations relate the violence and suffering of the war to the violence of Christ suffering for humanity, a theme to which Houselander would return again and again. With a Foreword by the American Jesuit Leonard Feeney. Father Feeney's remarks reinforce the image of a fragile mystic experiencing visions in the middle of the London Blitz: "here is a book written by a young English girl while the guns were blazing. And it is full of nervous courage and impatient heroism. It scintillates with little sparkles of charm and tenderness which only an intensely spiritual person can achieve." The book appears to be a first printing, likely clad in a second-issue dust jacket: the headline atop the front panel ("Caryll Houselander's famous book of London under siege") implies an earlier incarnation. Approbations.