Monday, March 16, 2020

John Loughery

John Loughery is the author, with Blythe Randolph, of the new biography, Dorothy Day: Dissenting Voice of the American Century. From his Q&A with Deborah Kalb:

Q: You write of Dorothy Day, "In the end, no category of common experience will neatly and precisely define this woman." Why did the two of you decide to write a biography of Dorothy Day?

A: The book was Blythe Randolph's idea and she enlisted me as coauthor when I completed my previous book. Blythe had long been an admirer of Dorothy for her progressive social work.

I don't think that her Catholicism was of particular concern to Blythe (who is Episcopalian), while the overlap of the progressive politics and the Catholicism was of interest to me as I was raised Catholic (and have, since completing the book, returned to the Church, though that is a long story in itself).

My previous book, Dagger John: Archbishop John Hughes and the Making of Irish America, which came out in 2018 from Cornell University Press, was about another Catholic figure, but a person of a radically different temperament.

He was very institution-minded, tough as nails, not a pacifist at all. He fought the nativist bigots in the 1830s and 1840s who were burning Catholic churches; he built Saint Patrick's Cathedral; he supported the Union cause during the Civil War and helped Lincoln personally in many ways.

But I was intrigued to write about a 20th-century Catholic figure who spoke to me in a very different way.

There simply is no other modern-day American, no one I can think of, who is at all like Dorothy Day in combining...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue