Question from a Reader

This reader has been looking for an answer to his question for sometime now. Let’s see if we can help him. I was unable to think of anything. Perhaps one of my serious readers can answer for him.
I have been reading my way through what could loosley be called the “Canon” of Catholic fiction . Authors like Flannery O’Connor, Evelyn Waugh, Walker Percy, Graham Greene, George Bernanos, Francois Mauriac, Ron Hanson, etc., etc., etc.

I guess I use the word “Catholic” authors (although the authors themselves didn’t want to be typecast), as authors who wore their faith on their sleeve, so to speak, either implicitly or explicitly, in their writing.

I was wondering if you were aware of any fiction authors who wear their Orthodox Christian spirituality on their sleeve in the same way as the authors listed above.

There seems to be an endless source of Orthodox non-fiction, but a dearth of Orthodox influenced fiction.

The best I have been able to come up with (and their orthodoxy and commitment to their faith varies from book to book) are authors like Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Nickolay Gogol, Nickolay Leskov, Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, and Nikos Kazantzakis.

Can you make any suggestions to expand that list of authors whose Orthodoxy shines through in their writing (with available English translations)?

1 Comment

  1. Most of the authors your correspondent mentions on the RC side wrote in English. Roman Catholics have a history of English writers reaching pretty much all the way through English history. Further, RCism has existed as a minority faith in many English-speaking countries long enough that RCism as a distinct influence on writing can be distinguished more clearly.

    Orthodox have only the earliest Anglo-Saxon Christian writings to point to (e.g., St. Caedmon), whose work is incomprehensible without translation into Modern English. As such, I don't think Orthodoxy has been in Modern English long enough to have a "canon" formed.

    The RCC has the advantage here not only of a long history among English-speakers but also of having existed in cultures which took to prose fiction in an earnest way. (Notice that the only "canon" one could attempt to come up with for Orthodox writers are all Russians—a literary culture profoundly and deliberately influenced by the West.)

    I think it may be a century or two before enough Orthodox writers of fiction have started working that anything like a "canon" might be formed, especially in English.

    I've thought for a while about the idea of working up a novel, but I'm not likely to make it into any canons. 🙂

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