London: Dropmore Press, 1949. Limited edition. Quarto (10 5/8 inches tall), original black morocco, top edge gilt, uncut. Fine. Item #925
"TO BE A SON OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, TO BE AN ALUMNUS OF OXFORD UNIVERSITY, IS TO BE HEDGED ABOUT WITH MEMORIES. IT IS AN UMBILICAL CORD JOINING YOU TO YOUR PAST" Deluxe limited edition of Ronald Knox's Occasional Sermons—one of only 50 copies signed by Monsignor Knox. Edited by Evelyn Waugh with his 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: Success, Homage, Greatness, Truth, Light, Zeal, A.M.D.G., Individuality, Life, Permanence, Heroism. Time and again, Knox summons the ancient memory of Catholic England, as in a panegyric to commemorate the conversion of John Henry Newman, in the presence of the assembled Hierarchy: "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). From an overall edition of 550 copies, this copy is numbered "4" and signed "R A Knox" in ink on the limitation page (bound opposite the title page). Without scarce original dust wrapper or original cardboard slipcase. A superb copy.