A Canticle for Walter Miller

Ignatius Insight published a good piece on Walter Miller Jr.'s A Canticle for Leibowitz for it's 50th anniversary.

The question Miller asks the reader and himself: can man escape Original Sin? Or, will man, doomed, carry it wherever he goes, whether it be into the American West or into the new frontier of space? And, if so, can man do anything by his own will to attenuate the great evils of which he is not only so capable, but seemingly so desirous?

Canticle is one of the most thought provoking books I have ever read. I don't remember whether I read it before or after becoming a Catholic, but I do remember that I was struck by the book's peculiar combination of pessimism and hope. Canticle is one of the few Catholic millennial novels, and Miller's post-apocalyptic future is all the grimmer for his unflinching look at our capacity for self-destruction.

However, that capacity is somehow mitigated in mysterious ways by Providence, even at the End of the World. Miller's novel is rich enough to reward repeated readings, so I shall have to return to it soon.

h/t Peter Sean Bradley