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January / February Issue– Broken Images and Handfuls of Dust: Literature in the Twentieth Century

January / February Issue– Broken Images and Handfuls of Dust: Literature in the Twentieth Century

Sample Content from Our Latest Issue Table of Contents Sample Article Catholic Realism and Fantasy in the Twentieth Century Are...
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November/December issue: Beauteous Truth

November/December issue: Beauteous Truth

Sample Content from Our Latest Issue Table of Contents Sample Article Love, Reason and Imagination: Samuel Schirra Interviews Joseph Pearce...
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July/August Issue: Faith and Fantasy: Chesterton, Tolkien, Lewis, Rowling and Other Tellers of Tall Tales
May / June Issue — The Mere Genius of C. S. Lewis

May / June Issue — The Mere Genius of C. S. Lewis

Sample Content from Our Latest Issue Table of Contents Sample Article The Great Divorce: A Novel Answer to an Immodest...
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Lent and Literature

Great books can help and guide us on our Lenten pilgrimage... Lent and Literature - Joseph Pearce (jpearce.co)
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Benedict XVI and the Call to Holiness

The sanity and sanctity of a greatly missed pope...  Benedict XVI and the Call to Holiness - Joseph Pearce (jpearce.co)
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JFK’s Other Assassination

The shocking assassination of a Catholic leader, authorized by President Kennedy, three weeks before Kennedy's own assassination... JFK's Other Assassination...
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The St. Austin Review

The St. Austin Review (StAR) is an international journal of Catholic culture, literature, and ideas. In its pages, printed every two months, some of the brightest and most vigorous minds around meet to explore the people, ideas, movements, and events that shape and misshape our world.

Broken Images and Handfuls of Dust: Literature in the Twentieth Century

Sample Article Catholic Realism and Fantasy in the Twentieth Century

Are realism and fantasy really (or only “fancifully”) opposed to one another, as modern academia—even, and perhaps especially, Catholic academia—seem so often to propose? I have wondered about this question for practically my whole reading life, but it seems to me that these two great literary movements are not opposed but rather pointing to the same reality. Dismissing the fundamental connection between the two genres—or worse, denigrating one in order to promote the other—is at best dangerous and at worst truly harmful. Although magical realism, a literary style that blurs the line between fantasy and reality, is one solution, I would propose that the Catholic notion of paradox will better serve our end. Chesterton famously observes that a paradox is an apparent contradiction that actually conveys a deeper, and often overlooked, truth. To that end, I want to share a little story of how I grew to see these two seemingly opposing literary genres as being in harmony with one another. In particular, when a work of fantasy is compared to a work of realism within the confines of the Catholic understanding of art and literature, fantasy and realism become, in a very real sense, beautifully the same.

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