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The Diary of a Country Priest: A Novel [Paperback]

By Georges Bernanos & Remy Rougeau (Introduction by)
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Item Number 147790  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   304
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.03" Width: 5.25" Height: 0.83"
Weight:   0.7 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 2002
Publisher   Da Capo Press
ISBN  0786709618  
EAN  9780786709618  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
In this classic Catholic novel, Bernanos movingly recounts the life of a young French country priest who grows to understand his provincial parish while learning spiritual humility himself. Awarded the Grand Prix for Literature by the Academie Francaise, The Diary of a Country Priest was adapted into an acclaimed film by Robert Bresson. A book of the utmost sensitiveness and is a work of deep, subtle and singularly encompassing art. New York Times Book Review (front page)

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More About Georges Bernanos & Remy Rougeau

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Georges Bernanos (1888-1948), one of the twentieth century's most powerful and idiosyncratic writers, was also the most original Roman Catholic writer of his time. Singularly ambiguous, mysterious, and highly paradoxical, "Monsieur Ouine" was first published in 1943. Of Bernanos's eight novels, it was the one that he himself dubbed his "great novel." This is the first English translation of the definitive 1955 French edition. William S. Bush is a professor emeritus of French at the University of Western Ontario and is known internationally for his volumes in both French and English on Georges Bernanos.

Georges Bernanos was born in 1888 and died in 1948.

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Product Categories
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Hope, Always There is Hope!  Dec 17, 2007
This book is about the search for hope, a search that involves every living human being. It deserves a second reading, slower than the first, when one is older and personally more familiar with the material, especially that in the climactic scene of Chapter 5. Bernanos is often compared to Dostoevsky, but he is much closer to Camus. One cannot read about this country priest, especially when he speaks of his passion for personal journal writing, without realizing that this is Bernanos himself describing his struggles and passions.

It is unfortunate that this book is labeled a religious novel, thus turning away many secular readers. Just as Dostoevsky was often thought a nihilist because of his brilliant writings on atheism, Bernanos could be thought one lost to despair because of his insights into the human condition. Camus says that one must invent hope if it does not exist; Bernanos does this with the country priest's diary. He leaves no doubt, however, that his hope is sincere and real.
A Form of Christian Ministry  Oct 20, 2007
Diary of a Country Priest is both a literary and religious classic. I read this novel as part of a class on the theology of priesthood.

Our country priest is a man that one might find to be weak or non-effective. This is the view of this priest with the eyes of the world. He must been seen through the eyes of the Christian as the "Other Christ." He is a man who goes beyond himself to do the mission he has been given. One sees how grace transforms and builds upon the priest's nature. He is also a man who wants to live out the life of a pastor, in the image of the Good Shepherd, leading and ministering to his flock, even while bearing his crosses. This novel provides a form of the Catholic priesthood and perhaps for all Christian ministers.

It is a good story as well. One caution is that it is fiction written in the form of a diary. This means that the narrator is unreliable, not omniscient, so sometimes it is difficult to figure out what is going on all the time. Be patient with the style. While sometime difficult, I find that the style works very well and reading this book provides a certain satisfaction.
A Communist reviews The Diary  Aug 15, 2007

I don't know if you could call this a review but it is a story about an old friend of mine, born to Communist organizers during the Depression, in a Southern state. To protect his privacy, as best I can, I will call him Jim.

Jim, an avid reader and a fine writer, retained his political birthright throughout his life. He was a very soft-spoken, sensitive, man of high integrity and concern for the plight of the mass of men. I have seen his eyes tear up when he would discuss injustice. I was younger than Jim in many ways but he would always listen with respect and patience to my banal obervations, seldom putting forth his own opinions. Jim treated everyone like this.

It is difficult to describe Jim's religious beliefs as he never put his forth with any vehemence or showed disrespect for those of others. I would say that he was an agnostic, maybe an atheist. I don't think he knew either. I always had the impression that he wished he could believe but just couldn't.

Jim would devour books and when I would sometimes ask him to name his favorite book he would say, "well, after The Diary...this is my favorite book". I must have asked him this question a dozen times before the light went on to ask him just why it was his favorite book. (Although a Catholic, I only had a vague notion of the book thinking it was about a young man who escaped to a seminary to avoid a woman who was chasing him).

Jim then told me his story. It was in the fifties and he had just been released from a federal penitentiary after serving time on a trumped-up charge. He headed for New York City and found himself in a strange city despondent and broke. One night to keep out of the cold he went into a Catholic church and was getting warm when he noticed a book he was unfamiliar with: The Diary of a Country Priest. He started to read it and then said to himself that he was going to steal the book. Jim then went to an all-night Hayes & Bickfords and finished the book in one sitting. After he finished the book, he had what can only be described as a mystical experience. He spoke of experiencing a wave of warmth flooding over his body and said that he felt he would never be afraid again.

In spite of the experience, Jim never embraced any religious belief system but remained a seeker.

required reading for the religious  Jan 26, 2007
Last year marked the 70th anniversary of Bernanos's powerful tale of a young and earnest parish priest in rural France who feels that he is a total failure. From a merely human perspective he is not mistaken. As is fitting, we never learn his name. The entire novel is a diary in which he confides his doubts and loneliness, his sense of futility, struggles with a sense of vocation ("Keep marching to the end, and try to end up quietly at the roadside without shedding your equipment."), powerlessness in the face of suffering, clashes with clergy colleagues, the history of his own family dysfunction, and even disgust with his own body due to chronic stomach pains and an impoverished diet. He knows he is physically clumsy and socially awkward. He describes his parishioners as bored, boring, and petty. They gossip about him as a "secret drinker" and a womanizer, both of which are laughable. The priest loves his flock; he visits every home every year, and he prays for them. He has a keen sense of history and his own obscure role to play. He is an astute observer of the weakness, frailty and fallenness of human nature, especially his own. By the time he dies of stomach cancer at a young age, Bernanos has painted a portrait of what we realize is a genuine saint. On his deathbed at the end of the book the priest confesses, "Does it matter? Grace is everywhere." Every person in ministry ought to read this book, but perhaps not until you turn fifty or so.
A masterpiece of psychology and spirituality  Jul 2, 2005
I picked this book up on a whim while at a train station. I needed something to read, and being a seminarian/Catholic geek/what have you, the title caught me.

This book struck me both as a psychologist, and as a seminarian. On the psychological level, it is a beautifully written psychological profile, of a passive agressive personality.

However on the spiritual level, it is much much more! We encounter a young country priest, whose soul is so pure, that by contrast, the failings of his parishioners seem enormous. At times he seems to be one that seems the splinter in his brother's eye before seeing the log in his own, but at other times, it becomes clearly evident that despite his flawed techniques, it is the young priest that is on the right track.

This is a beautifully written novel about a soul yearning to love God and draw others into that love but at the same time contending with the effects of a broken and fallen humanity. I highly recommend it.

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