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IgnatiusInsight.com AUTHOR PAGE for DR. THOMAS HOWARD

Thomas Howard bio
Thomas Howard books published by Ignatius Press
Interviews and excerpts


Thomas Howard was raised in a prominent Evangelical home (his sister is well-known author and former missionary Elisabeth Elliot), became Episcopalian in his mid-twenties, then entered the Catholic Church in 1985, at the age of fifty.

Dave Armstrong writes of Howard: "He cites the influence of great Catholic writers such as Newman, Knox, Chesterton, Guardini, Ratzinger, Karl Adam, Louis Bouyer, and St. Augustine on his final decision. Howard's always stylistically-excellent prose is especially noteworthy for its emphasis on the sacramental, incarnational and ‘transcendent’ aspects of Christianity."

Like C.S. Lewis, who he greatly admires and has written about often, Howard is an English professor (recently retired, after nearly forty years of teaching), who taught at Gordon College and then at St. John's Seminary. He is a highly acclaimed writer and scholar, noted for his studies of Inklings C.S. Lewis (Narnia & Beyond: A Guide to the Fiction of C.S. Lewis [2006, 1987]) and Charles Williams (The Novels of Charles Williams [1991]), as well as books including Christ the Tiger (1967), Chance or the Dance? (1969), Hallowed be This House (1976), Evangelical is Not Enough (1984), If Your Mind Wanders at Mass (1995), On Being Catholic (1997), and The Secret of New York Revealed.

Thomas Howard books published by Ignatius Press:



The Dove Descending: A Journey Into T.S. Eliot's "Four Quartets"

T.S. Eliot is considered by many to be the most important and influential poet of the 20th century and his Four Quartets is perhaps his finest poem and greatest literary achievement. Dove Descending is a journey into the beauties and depths of Eliot's masterpiece written by Dr. Thomas Howard, bestselling author, professor and critic.

In his line-by-line commentary, Howard unravels the complexities of the sublime poem with such adept adroitness that even its most difficult passages spring to life. During his many years as a professor of English and Literature, Howard taught many classes about Four Quartets and developed what he calls "a reading" approach to its concepts that renders the poem’s meaning more lucid for the reader. Dove Descending reunites the brilliant insights of a master teacher whose understanding and love of Eliot’s writings are shared here for the great benefit of the reader.

Dove Descending
is the first in-depth exposition of Eliot's masterwork ever published and the fruit of Howard's many years of teaching Eliot and his unique understanding of the complexities of the great poem. It is a must-have book for fans of T. S Eliot, and anyone who wants to understand his greatest work.


Chance or Dance: A Critique of Modern Secularism

Contrasting the Christian and secular worldviews, Howard refreshes our minds with the illuminated view of Christianity as it imbued the world in times past--showing that we cannot live meaningful lives without this Christian understanding of things. An inspiring apology for Christianity, and a stirring critique of secularism.

"This is, quite simply, the best book on the medieval mind that I have ever read. It is Tom Howard at his best, the quintessential Howard, the heart of his vision and that of Christendom for nineteen centuries until the cruel restraints of modern secularism emptied the cosmos of color, heroism, and passion. If I could have everyone in our culture read just ten books, this would be one of them." -- Peter Kreeft

"Some rare books really explains things, how they are. This book is one. Howard's poetic, reflective reminder of how we see the image of God in all things because each is made in the Word is a book that genuintely teacher and inspires." -- Fr. James V. Schall, S.J.


Evangelical Is Not Enough: Worship of God in Liturgy and Sacrament

In this deeply moving narrative, Thomas Howard describes his pilgrimage from Evangelicalism (which he loves and reveres as the religion of his youth) to liturgical Christianity. He soon afterward became a Roman Catholic. He describes Evangelicalism with great sympathy and then examines more formal, liturgical worship with the freshness of someone discovering for the first time what his soul had always hungered for. This is a book of apologetics without polemics. Non-Catholics will gain an appreciation of the formal and liturgical side of Catholicism. Catholics will see with fresh eyes the beauty of their tradition. Worship, prayer, the Blessed Virgin, the Mass, and the liturgical year are taken one after the other, and what may have seemed routine and repetitive suddenly comes to life under the enchanting wand of Howard's beautiful prose.

Howard unfolds for us just what occurs in the vision and imagination of a Christian who, nurtured in the earnestness of Protestant Evangelicalism, finds himself yearning for "whatever-it-is" that has been there in the Church for 2000 years. It traces Howard's soul-searching and shows why he believes the practices of the liturgical Church are an invaluable aid for any Christian's spiritual life. Reminiscent of the style and scope of Newman, Lewis and Knox, this book is destined to be a classic.

"The question, What is the Church? becomes, finally, intractable; and one finds oneself unable to offer any very telling reasons why the phrase 'one, holy, catholic, and apostolic', is to be understood in any other than the way in which it was understood for 1500 years." -- Thomas Howard


If Your Mind Wanders At Mass

Distractions, fatigue, boredom at Sunday worship-maybe we experience these because we don't fully appreciate what's going on at Mass. Howard's profound and practical look at the liturgy focuses our wandering minds. It reminds us that at Mass the veil separating earth and heaven lifts, so that we stand with angels and saints in the presence of God Most High.

"Every Catholic needs this book. I need this book." -- Scott Hahn

"Howard's reflective guidance is just what we need after many years of busy ways of getting into a participate mode. He shows us how to pay attention and let the wonder of the Eucharist touch our souls." -- Rev. Alfred McBride, O.Praem., Author, Celebrating the Mass

"A book that will be treasured by anyone who wants to get more out of Mass. A gem in any age, it is especially valuable today when people are given so few sound, practical helps for understanding and appreciating the divine gift that is the Mass." -- James Akin, Author, Mass Confusion: The Do's and Don't of Catholic Worship

"Howard provides an essential but missing piece in our equipment: a contemporary step by step, prayer by prayer, guide through the Mass, founded on firm orthodoxy, sensitive to the meaning of the liturgy as it has been given to us, and expressed in his vivid prose for which he is justly famous." -- Steven Clark, Author, Catholics and the Eucharist


Narnia and Beyond: A Guide to the Fiction of C.S. Lewis

Regarded as one of the best authorities on the fiction of C.S. Lewis, Thomas Howard presents in this work brilliant new insights into Lewis' fiction and helps us to see things we may not have seen nor appreciated before. Focusing on Narnia, the space trilogy and Til We Have Faces, Howard explores with remarkable clarity the moral vision in the imaginary world of the master storyteller Lewis.

"AT LAST! A book about C.S. Lewis that doesn't sound like a term paper, a book that is a joy to read, a book written with Lewis's own passionate power with words. Mercurial magic. A feast for the spirit. Without question the best book yet written about the works of C.S. Lewis." -- Peter Kreeft, Author, C.S. Lewis for the Third Millennium

"A SPLENDID BOOK, one of the very best critical works on Lewis's fiction." -- George Sayer, Author, Jack: The Life of C.S. Lewis

"Tom Howard reads Lewis carefully and brings to his reading a special excitement that is uniquely his own. His treatment of That Hideous Strength is the best I have read." -- Paul Ford, Author, Companion to Narnia


On Being Catholic

In his first full-length book since converting to Roman Catholicism over ten years ago, Thomas Howard presents his wonderful, refreshing insights on the "glad tidings" of the deeper meaning of Catholic piety, dogma, spirituality, vision and practice, rendered in his unique style of prose for which he is well-known. The book's chapters take the form of lay meditations on Catholic teaching and practice, opening up in practical and simple terms the richness at work in virtually every detail of Catholic prayer, piety, liturgy and experience.

"Tom Howard has done it again. With gentle and compelling wisdom, he shows the Catholic faith for what it is, the grandeur of the biblical gospel and a reflection of the immensity of God's wisdom and grace. On Being Catholic is an apologetic and literary gem." -- Scott Hahn, Author, Rome Sweet Home

"Would it be brash to say that Thomas Howard is an American counterpart of C.S. Lewis? I think not. Thomas Howard's intelligent, literate and erudite approach to the experience of faith and all of the challenges that faith brings will be enlightening to anyone who takes the Gospel seriously." -- Fr. Benedict Groeschel, C.F.R.

"Written with the realistic intelligence of a living faith, this book is a refreshing and renewing document. A beautiful book of great relevance and lasting value . . . so truly Catholic it makes one rejoice greatly." -- Most Rev. Christoph Schönborn


The Secret of New York Revealed

Howard reveals his unique writing gifts and original insights as a young married man recalling the amazing variety of experiences he had during his years living in New York City. He presents a sort of wide-eyed response on the part of a new, young husband to the great, twinkling kaleidoscope of New York, playing off the thousand diversions offered by that incredible city (opera, ballet, dining, sports, social life, etc.) against an increasingly strong awareness that the hidden mysteries of domestic fidelity, marriage, fatherhood, and routine duties, are at the "Center" around which New York life whirls.

This is a timely book about the unique mixture of human and spiritual experiences that make up life in a great, complex city, confronting tensions that are timeless and ubiquitous. Illustrated.

"Poets make you see; philosophers make you think. Satirists make you laugh. Tom Howard's book artfully combines all these talents. He makes us share the wealth of his experiences in the flamboyant and crazy city called the melting pot. He is the herald of eternal values constantly threatened by the appeal of novelty." -- Alice von Hildebrand, Author, Soul of a Lion

"I often think that Saint Augustine might have had a mystical insight into places like New York when he wrote that the city of God and the city of Man are 'inextricably intertwined' until the end of the world. Tom Howard speaks for many when he sees this so clearly realized on the sidewalks of New York." -- Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel, C.F.R.


Lead, Kindly Light: My Journey to Rome

Through his prolific and highly regarded writing, Thomas Howard's name is familiar to Protestants and Catholics alike, but many have never heard the story of his conversion to Catholicism. With grace, charm, and wit, Dr. Howard describes his journey from Evangelicalism to Anglicanism, and finally, to the Church of Rome. In a world saturated with fashionable unbelief, Howard's testimony inspires and informs. Fr. Richard Neuhaus calls it "a marvelously engaging remembrance."

"Dr. Howard is keenly aware that there are many reasons why one might become a Catholic, some of them very attractive reasons. But he knows that the only consideration that 'will stand up when the foundations are shaken [is] whether something is true or not.'" -- Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, From the Foreword


Thomas Howard Interviews and Book Excerpts:

"I never thought I wanted to be a writer" | An Interview with Dr. Thomas Howard (April 30, 2007)
Catholic Spirituality | Thomas Howard | From The Night Is Far Spent
Reading T.S. Eliot's "Four Quartets" | An Interview with Dr. Howard about Dove Descending: A Journey Into T.S Eliot's Four Quartets
Thomas Howard and the Kindly Light | An Interview with Dr. Howard about his book, Lead, Kindly Light
An Hour and a Lifetime with C.S. Lewis | An IgnatiusInsight.com Interview with Dr. Thomas Howard
"Tradition" | Chapter 14 of On Being Catholic | Thomas Howard
The Quintessential – And Last – Modern Poet | Fr. George William Rutler | The Foreword to Dove Descending: A Journey Into T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets, by Thomas Howard
• Quotes from several of Thomas Howard’s books can be read here.









   




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