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Published in Doctrine & Life, vol.69, no. 5, May-June 2019


FRENCH literature of the twentieth century was blessed by the r work of writers who were explicitly Catholic while also adorning the cuIturallife of their country. Anew collection by the French Dominican publishing house, Editions du Cerf, of the epistolary correspondence between four of France's best known Catholic literati - Georges Bernanos, Paul Claudel, Francois Mauriac and Jacques Maritain - reveals serious rifts and, at times, a definite lack ofChristian charity in the sentiments these men shared with one another.1 The correspondence centres on Maritain's exchanges with the other three, which is most probably due to the fact that he and his wife Ra'issa were seriously revered and much consulted figures in cultural circles in France at the time when the other writers were at the peak of their powers.