Renowned Author Joseph Pearce Joins Faculty

by Thomas More College on July 12, 2012

In the quickly approaching fall semester, Thomas More College will welcome as the new Writer-in-Residence Joseph Pearce, the renowned biographer of Catholic literary giants G. K. Chesterton, J.R.R. Tolkien and Hilaire Belloc.

Joseph Pearce will offer courses in the Humanities, as well as advise students who are working on Junior Projects or Senior theses.  His guidance will likewise be available to students who wish to improve their writing skills. 

Pearce has worked extensively on numerous projects throughout his career.  He has authored books exploring the affiliations of Shakespeare and C.S. Lewis with the Catholic Church.  He has hosted a series on EWTN about Shakespeare’s Faith and is currently filming special documentaries for the network about Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings.  He is the co-founder and co-editor of the St. Austin Review, an international magazine dedicated to reclaiming Catholic culture, and is the series editor of the Ignatius Critical Editions.  In addition to all these accomplishments, he has been a privileged speaker at universities and colleges throughout the world.

As a youth, Pearce was involved with the National Front, a white nationalist party in his native England.  He wrote violent and scathing articles for Bulldog, the Front’s associated magazine, which he developed and edited.  In fact, his comments were so provocative that he was imprisoned twice by the British authorities.

Despite his explosive behavior and agnosticism, Pearce encountered and yielded to saving grace.  After reading the works of G.K. Chesterton—who would become a literary hero for him—he began to look differently on his radically violent lifestyle.  The illuminating ideas discussed by Chesterton, ideas wholly new to young rebel, became the basis for Pearce’s conversion to Roman Catholicism in 1989.

Pearce enters a curriculum at Thomas More College which includes a three-semester sequence of writing courses.  Students first study the wisdom and eloquence of the great minds of Western civilization.  Taking what they have learned, the students then try their hand at writing short stories and metered poems by following the models of the previously studied texts.  In later courses, skills for writing persuasive essays are formed by the standards of classical rhetoric.

In his commencement address to the College’s graduating class of 2011, Pearce reflected on the transcendent nature of the True and the Beautiful.  These divine attributes, he said, have the power to touch and transform a sinner even as far from a life of grace as he once was.  His views accord with those of the College, whose motto, Caritas Congaudet Veritati, translates as “Charity rejoices in the Truth.”

“At Thomas More College, it is our goal to guide students to a contemplation of the truth,” said Dr. William Fahey, President of the College. “That contemplation is fostered in a special way in academia, but our hope is that by cultivating the cultural life of the College through the presence of figures like Joseph Pearce and Paul Jernberg, students will be more disposed to carry the treasures of the classroom into all aspects of life and community.”

Pearce joins a committed faculty with other well-known scholars and artists, including David Clayton, Artist-in-Residence, and Paul Jernberg, Composer-in-Residence.

Professors and artisans of various crafts come to the College in order to develop each student’s God-given talents.   They share the same dedication to building a culture of art and beauty in the fullness of the Catholic tradition, the same tradition which brought forth the renowned works of Michelangelo, Dante and Mozart.  It is hoped that through these culturally enriching endeavors, Thomas More College will be in a position to transform community life by fostering an authentic appreciation for beauty.

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