Sunday, January 30, 2011

Ralph McInerny and the Wisdom of Fiction

From Daniel McInerny at his blog HIGH CONCEPTS a eulogy of this prolific father, Ralph McInerny, perhaps the most prolific Catholic author of fiction, non-fiction, and philosophy of the last few hundred years.  Click HERE for the entire post at Daniel's blog.


In Dante and the Blessed Virgin my father articulates a truth that served as one of the most formative principles of his life as both philosopher and writer of fiction. That truth concerns what he follows Aristotle in calling “poetry,” Aristotle’s name for the genus of storytelling, of fiction. About storytelling, my father says this in Dante and the Blessed Virgin:
We become involved in stories because their characters are in some way ourselves. They are our better or worse selves, but not too much the one way or the other. We follow an imagined version of the choices that make up any human life, choices that matter. We are what we do, and characters in a story reveal who they are by their actions and choices. In real life, bounders succeed and the innocent suffer; they do in fiction, too, but the story makes sense of that in a way real life never does. Any story worth reading again will tell us something about the human condition we recognize as true” (21).
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