Academic journal article Christianity and Literature

Lionel Basney Award

Academic journal article Christianity and Literature

Lionel Basney Award

Article excerpt

Francois Mauriac once asked, unforgettably, "What if [...] God had left a living, almost blinding mark of His presence in the world: the human face?" Nathan Bracher, in his winning essay on "The Cold-War Christian Humanism of Francois Mauriac," not only renders the novelist-journalist's ironic, yet profoundly compassionate, Christian humanism but also points up many striking ways in which this conservative French Catholic of the early and middle twentieth century remains a prophet for our own times. Bracher's portrait of a benevolent but unsparing advocate for humanity in the face of terrible atrocity is especially welcome at this moment, when humanism, having largely rejected its essential Judeo-Christian associations, is nonetheless frequently derided by self-styled post-humanists as closeted religion or mere sentiment. Bracher also reminds us of how, despite great American, British, and Canadian sacrifices in World War II, France's neutralism was born of its own postwar humiliation and of the rivalry between the ideologically driven U.S. and U.S.S.R., making French gratitude to "les Anglophones" less than overwhelming. …

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