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Caryll Houselander: Essential Writings (Modern Spiritual Masters) Paperback – October 31, 2005
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"Caryll Houselander saw every person as part of the 'whole Christ, ' even as Nazi bombs convulsed the neighborhood around her. With her untimely death in 1954, she was nearly lost to history. Wendy wright's thoughtful selection of the reclusive Englishwoman's writings allows us to recover this wartime mystic's exquisite spirituality for the twenty-first century."
About the Author
Wendy M Wright is a professor of theology at Creighton University in Omaha. Her books include Heart Speaks to Heart: The Salesian Tradition, Sacred Heart and Francis de Sales: Introduction to the Devout Life.
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Dr. Wright, in addition to well chosen excerpts from Houselander's books and letters, includes letters and comments from friends that convey her "zany," fun-loving, eccentric, artistic character. This biographical material is hard to come by, as "A Rocking Horse Catholic," Maisie Ward's biography, "Caryll Houselander: That Divine Eccentric"; and Ward's "Letters of Caryll Houselander" are all out of print. Dr. Wright cites interesting recent criticism and examinations of Houselander's thought. I have one disagreement with Dr. Wright and one correction. First is her questioning if the "truth" about Houselander's affair with Sidney Reilly will ever be known in view of a letter by Houselander's sister saying that Caryll was a person who sometimes confused her own impressions with reality. (Dr. Marie Anne Mayeski, editor of "A Rocking Horse Catholic: A Caryll Houselander Reader," gives Ward as the source for the information on this affair.) Andrew Cook, in his 2004, 2nd edition, of "Ace of Spies: The True Story of Sidney Reilly" states that Houselander had a 2-year affair with Reilly, who provided her with a financial allowance; Cook's source is a letter written by Houselander's brother-in-law, now in the Notre Dame archives which Dr. Wright also utilized. Second, the correction: Cook cites Houselander's birth certificate in his notes, and the date is September 29, 1901. Houselander writes in her memoir that she was born on St. Michael the Archangel's Day, which is September 29. Maisie Ward and Drs. Wright and Mayeski all give the erroneous date of October 29, 1901!
Cook concludes his excellent book with the previously unknown details of Reilly's death and ends with the poem Houselander wrote in Reilly's memory. Cook's book also has a lovely photo of Houselander as a young woman.