The Ignatius Critical Editions


  Ignatius Critical Editions – Classic Literature, Critical Reading

What is the ‘Ignatius Critical Editions’ Series?

Ignatius Critical Editions is a new series of books from the respected Ignatius Press publishers. The goal of the series is to counter the troubling trend in critical editions of classic literary works – which is to apply an agenda of modernism and post-modernism to the reading of these works and discount the traditional approach. The Ignatius Critical Editions series aims, instead, to concentrate on critical examinations informed by our Judeo-Christian heritage.

Each book in the series includes the full text of a literary work, as well as an introduction to the text and contemporary literary criticism to foster understanding and discussion of the meaning of the literature. Some titles may also include classic critical essays. The books are ideal for professors and teachers who would like to use the literature within their classrooms. However they are also great for any individual who wishes to read and understand the great works of Western Civilization.

Why Was the Ignatius Critical Editions Series Created?

From an interview with the editor of the Ignatius Critical Editions (ICEs), Joseph Pearce, an author and a professor at Ave Maria University in Florida:

The idea for the Ignatius Critical Editions arose from the frustration I felt at the pernicious nonsense that is published as 'criticism' in the standard critical editions of great works of literature. Specifically I was annoyed at the plethora of feminism, 'queer theory' and 'gender studies' that is seemingly omnipresent in mainstream editions. I resented ordering these editions as set texts for my students at Ave Maria University. Why should my students be affronted with this rubbish? Such were my thoughts and this was the genesis of the idea for the ICEs. . . It seemed to me that what was needed was a new range of critical editions in which tradition-oriented criticism would take precedence over the fads and fashions of postmodernity. Such a series would offer a real choice to Christian and other non-secularist professors and students.”

The Problem with Modernism

The Catholic Encyclopedia describes the error of modernism:

It is nothing less than the perversion of dogma. Manifold are the degrees and shades of modernist doctrine on the question of our relations with God. But no real modernist keeps the Catholic notions of dogma intact. Are you doubtful as to whether a writer or a book is modernist in the formal sense of the word? Verify every statement about dogma; examine his treatment of its origin, its nature, its sense, its authority. You will know whether you are dealing with a veritable modernist or not, according to the way in which the Catholic conception of dogma is travestied or respected.

On the other hand, as the publisher of the ICE series describes, “The Ignatius Critical Editions represent a tradition-oriented alternative to popular textbook series such as the Norton Critical Editions or Oxford World Classics, and are designed to concentrate on traditional readings of the Classics of world literature. . . Edited by acclaimed literary biographer Joseph Pearce, the Ignatius Critical Editions will ensure that traditional moral readings of the works are given prominence, instead of the feminist, or deconstructionist readings that often proliferate in other series of 'critical editions'. As such, they represent a genuine extension of consumer-choice, enabling educators, students and lovers of good literature to buy editions of classic literary works without having to 'buy into' the ideologies of secular fundamentalism.”

About the Editor

Joseph Pearce, who conceived the idea for the Ignatius Critical Editions, is the editor of the series and has written the introductions to some titles in the line. He is a professor of

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