A Historian and His World: A Life of Christopher Dawson

1st Edition

Christina Scott

Published January 30, 1991
Reference - 240 Pages
ISBN 9781560000136 - CAT# Y346924
Series: Library of Conservative Thought

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As a historian of ideas, Christopher Dawson was one of the most distinguished Catholic thinkers of the twentieth century. He was a scholar of immense erudition, a writer of great style and fluency, and the first Stillman Professor of Roman Catholic studies at Harvard. It is in the field of the history of ideas that he achieved his most lasting influence. This biography by Christina Scott, Dawson's daughter, is a sensitive portrait of a complex and fascinating scholar.

The author's first-hand knowledge and her access to unpublished family memoirs has enabled her to paint a convincing picture of the basic personal security provided by Dawson's private life, his friendships, and his deep Christian faith-a personal security all too often required as a bulwark against the vicissitudes and disappointments of his public life. Dawson's Catholicism proved a problem to advancement in his academic career; and when public recognition of his true stature finally came, in the form of the Stillman Chair, it came late in life and in a country other than his own.

Christina Scott shows that Dawson is best understood as he himself interpreted his historical subjects-in the context of "the spiritual world in which he lived, the ideas that moved him, and the faith that inspired his action." Dawson was not a historian of ideas for their own sake; he had a passionate belief in their liberating power. A Historian and His World will be of interest to intellectual historians, historians of religion, and students of modern Catholic thought. This is the first publication of the Dawson biography in the United States. It is graced by a postscript written by Christopher Dawson reflecting upon the meaning of his work.

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