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Friday, February 14, 2020

And now Charis rejoices...

Saw a St. Valentine in a glass coffin last year in Stephansdom in Vienna.
He had the fanciest curled-toed shoes!
Medieval images of love 


Releasing pre-publication comments from Makoto Fujimura, John Wilson, Augustine Wetta, Emily Barton, and Fiorella De Maria (novelists/painter-writer/editor), together with the flap copy book description and a note from Clive Hicks-Jenkins on the updated page for my wild Puritan adventure, Charis in the World of Wonders, out in March from Ignatius. 


The ever-thoughtful John Wilson has a new essay up at First Things, and it includes lovely comments on Charis in the World of Wonders. And he calls my illuminator "the incomparable Clive Hicks-Jenkins." I may have to call him Clive the Incomparable from now on...

You may read the whole essay, "Desiderata," at First Things, and here is the much-to-be-desired Marly-and-Clive paragraph for your perusal:

A writer I greatly admire and have sometimes written about, Marly Youmans, has a new book coming late in March from Ignatius Press: Charis in the World of Wonders, with cover art and illustrations by the incomparable Clive Hicks-Jenkins. This novel, set in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, should occasion a piece that tackles the whole sweep of Youmans’s work. She’s not part of any fashionable faction, and much as I would be delighted and surprised to see it receive generous attention in the New York Times Book Review and other such outlets, I am mainly hoping that First Things, Commonweal, Image, and other kindred publications will not let this opportunity pass.
The morning began with icefall that has coated every twig, needle, and leaf of summer. And it has continued onto a remarkably thick and beautiful snowfall. But such encouragement makes me feel warm and cosy...


  1. I don't know how Anglicans count it, but for the Roman Catholic church, this is the Feast of Sts. Cyril and Methodius. I'm not sure when St. Valentine was lost custody. Still, for a writer the day should be significant, given the brothers' work in alphabet creation and translation.

    1. Actually, it turns out that I did check the Anglicans, and they do honor the brother:

    2. Poor St. Valentine! He is regarded as apocryphal, isn't he? I suppose that's why Cyril and Methodius took over. But you know, sometimes an apocryphal saint is important and says a great deal to us now, so I don't know that they weren't a bit premature in tossing him. Look at St. George, who supposedly died at Lydda before the time of Constantine, and all the apocryphal acts (and repeated deaths) attributed to him...and the murkiness that surrounds his identity. And yet he is an important symbol with many meanings...

  2. I'd have hated being a mediaeval lover. They're frequently depicted with their head turned through ninety degrees. Can't help thinking that crick-in-the-neck was an inevitable part of post-sexual congress in those days. Better than The Black Death though.

    1. And what about those turned-up toes? And the magnificent, peculiar hats? Might have made the crick worse...

      Nature is determined of late to remind us about plagues...

  3. I'm back among the living, and now I'm going to find and buy your book. Best wishes from the Gulf coast:

    1. Grand! I'm glad you are among us again... Shall catch up.

    2. Looked when I flew back from California but saw no blog...

    3. Hmm ... perhaps this:


Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.