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The Fine Delight: Postconciliar Catholic Literature Paperback – April 16, 2013

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Editorial Reviews


In The Fine Delight, we have a thorough and thoughtful piece of scholarship that encourages this ability to be an informed, engaged Catholic reader of texts that stand in a wide variety of relationships to the concept of the "Catholic writer." It celebrates the Catholic contribution to contemporary literature, not in a triumphalist vein, but with reason and patient exposition that will appeal to readers both inside and outside the Church. -- Dappled Things

Ripatrazone's strength lies in a close textual analysis of significant works. In the chapter "A Literary Sacrament," he illustrates Dubus's talent for peeling back the fabric of ordinary life to reveal the workings of grace and mercy. His close investigations into Mariani's poetry reveal a similar ability to "sacramentalize the mundane." -- First Things

Where are all the Catholic writers? is a popular question these days. In his beautifully realized new book The Fine Delight, Nicholas Ripatrazone offers an answer: they are among us, writing. With skill and care, he explores the artistry of three superb writers--Ron Hansen, Paul Mariani, and Andre Dubus--as well as several other contemporary Catholic authors. In the process he reveals . . . how reading can be sacramental, enabling us to discover God's presence in our modern world.
--James Martin, SJ, author of The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything

The Fine Delight is a text of scholarship and personal consideration of American literature that is marked by and built from postconciliar Catholic thought. Nicholas Ripatrazone has written a highly readable study of the work of writers whose beliefs vary widely, but who share a living engagement with the Word. This book itself is just such an engagement. It will inspire more informed and curious reading.
--Alice Elliott Dark, author of In the Gloaming: Stories

Nicholas Ripatrazone offers an insightful interrogation into the theological and aesthetic strategies of contemporary Catholic writers--novelists, poets, and essayists writing in the last fifty years. Aware that the Catholic imagination is not static, he suggests helpful ways to understand how post-Vatican II writers situate their faith in light of their artistic vision. A timely book, Ripatrazone helps extend the critical and pastoral implications of a Catholic literary aesthetic.
--Mark Bosco, SJ, author of Graham Greene's Catholic Imagination --Wipf and Stock Publishers

About the Author

Nick Ripatrazone is the author of three books: Oblations (prose poems, 2011), This Is Not About Birds (poems, 2012), and This Darksome Burn (novella, 2013). His writing has received honors from Esquire, The Kenyon Review, and ESPN: The Magazine. He teaches literature at Rutgers University.

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More About the Author

Nick Ripatrazone's newest book is GOOD PEOPLE, a collection of short stories (Foxhead Books 2014). He is also the author of two novellas, THIS DARKSOME BURN (Queen's Ferry Press) and WE WILL LISTEN FOR YOU (CCM Press). His other books include THE FINE DELIGHT: POSTCONCILIAR CATHOLIC LITERATURE (Cascade Books) and two books of poetry, OBLATIONS and THIS IS NOT ABOUT BIRDS (Gold Wake Press). His writing has appeared in Esquire, The Kenyon Review, Shenandoah, and has been featured at NPR. His website is

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