My general reaction is that in comparison with the literary intellectuals of the early and mid twentieth century, we live in a world populated by intellectual pygmies. Like I previously noted with respect to Pearce's book Literary Giants, Literary Catholics, all the usual suspects are here: Oscar Wilde and his death bed conversion, G.K. Chesterton, Robert Hugh Benson, Eric Gill, Siegfried Sassoon, Ronald Knox, Evelyn Waugh, Graham Greene, Roy Campbell, Malcolm Muggeridge and others. Pearce does not confine his book to converts to the Roman Catholic Church however, and also includes those atheists or agnostics who became High Church Anglicans like T.S. Eliot, C.S. Lewis and Dorothy L. Sayers.
Almost all of the literary converts who survived into the nineteen sixties and seventies were appalled at the changes in the Church following the Second Vatican Council. They were especially upset at what they felt was the banal translation of the sacred liturgy from Latin into the vernacular. Many, like Evelyn Waugh, also prophesied that the watering down of the liturgy would lead inexorably to the decay of the faith and moral life of the faithful. There are many who believe that this was a correct assessment.
Literary Converts is a great read and a great intellectual tour de force. The breadth and depth of Professor Pearce's knowledge of twentieth century literature and the history of the Church is truly impressive. Highly recommended.
Professor Joseph Pearce