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Latin Clerk: The Life, Work and Travels of Adrian Fortescue Paperback – 29 Dec 2011

3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 308 pages
  • Publisher: James Clarke and Co Ltd (29 Dec. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718892747
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718892746
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.8 x 23.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,380,620 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


'It is not possible to do justice here to what Aidan Nichols has done in this book ... This is a very fine study of a fascinating, brilliant and complex man'
--The Revd Peter McGeary in Church Times, 16 March 2012

''Adrian Fortscue is now remembered best as the cynosure of rubricians, whose Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described had a samizdat thrill in the colleges and seminaries of the 1980s, and is now once again the definitive vade mecum for every MC's Extraordinary Form needs. […] Aidan Nichols' new book is a comprehensive overview of Fortescue's writings, and of his liturgical work at mission for which he was responsible in Letchworth Garden City, or Rivalis Villa as he called it.'' --Robin Ward in New Directions, March 2012

' Aidan Nichols' work rescues Fortescue from any suggestion of obsessive liturgical pedantry, and presents instead a compelling picture of an exemplary priest, a meticulous scholar and a lively, adventurous and humorous man. (...) Aidan Nichols' work succeeds admirably in presenting a more rounded picture of Doctor Fortescue than the image that one has if one only knows him as the author of a ceremonial guide. Fortescue was the model of the priest scholar, comparatively uncommon then as now, and very much a man of his time, throwing himself into controversies and parish life with equal energy. ' --Dom Benet Watt OSB in The Downside Review, Vol. 130, No. 458, January 2012

'This biography is both enlightening and entertaining. It illuminates Fortescue's key insights, many of which remain just as true today as they were during his lifetime. But it also paints a vivid picture of Fortescue and his greatness. From reading Nichols's book, it becomes clear that Fortescue was a brilliant, eccentric, and colorful character. [...] Overall, 'The Latin Clerk' does an impressive job of capturing both the essence of the man and a particular epoch in Catholic history.' --Anthony Dragani in The Catholic Historical Review, Vol. 98 (4), October 2012

"...'The Latin clerk', as Fortecuse called himself, well deserves the sympathetic presentation of his life and work that Aidan Nichols has given in this informative and readable book..." --Hugh Wybrew, The Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Vol. 64/1, January 2013.

Fortescue emerges from Nichols's study as a bold scholar who was unafraid to push boundaries, especially when prompted by historical-critical method, as well as an adventurer who trekked fearlessly across inhospitable and hostile terrain in his quest to understand the ecclesiologies and liturgies of ancient Christendom in their real breadth and diversity. --David Grumett, Reviews in Religion & Theology, March 2013

...This book is elegantly written with comprehensive footnotes and is a joy to read... --Anglo-Catholic History Society Newsletter, May 2013

'…Nichols is surely to have the final word [on Fortescue].' --Peter Allott, The Tablet, 26th January 2013

About the Author

Aidan Nichols O.P is the author of forty books, including the recent G.K. Chesterton, Theologian (2009), and From Hermes to Benedict XVI, Faith and Reason in Modern Catholic Thought (2009). A member of the Dominican Order, he now resides in Blackfriars, Cambridge.

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Anyone (such as myself) looking for a biography of Fortescue should stop right here - this is not that book! Whereas it has been advertised as a biography, it contains only the slightest of biographical sketches, rather it is an extended essay on Fortescue's extensive work and travels and a miscellenary of his thinking/ writing on various issues.

With regards to the brief biographical sketch, it is a shame that Nichols does not make more of the life of Fortescue; whereas he provides a short ancestry for Fortescue, he tells us nothing of his early life, other than a few short observations, similarly with his time in seminary and early curacies is skipped over in a few pages. This is a real shame as Fortescue (alongside Percy Dearmer) who, despite being a Roman Catholic, was an eminent liturgist who has done much to inform by Roman and Anglo-Catholic liturgy, e.g. at such shrines as All Saints, Margaret Street in London, a Church whose Church life has been described as: "music by Mozart, choreography by Fortescue, decor by Comper, but libretto by Cranmer".

Interestingly Fortescue's best known work `Liturgies of the Roman Rite Described' is coming back into vogue given Pope Benedict's relaxing of the rules governing the use of the "Extraordinary" Form, the Mass Rite used prior to the introduction of Novus Ordo or New Order of the Mass in the 1960s, which itself has been revised and updated in the Roman Missal promulgated in Advent 2011.
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