"Faith is required of thee, and a sincere life, not loftiness of intellect, nor
deepness in the Mysteries of God."
—Thomas à Kempis
This is, in fact, a book about two men, since, due to his strong personality and his close relationship to Georges Bernanos, the author plays an important part in it. "I wanted to draw only a summary portrait," he says, "but I know that even the most successful portrait reveals as much about the painter as it does about his subject. I do not deny the particularly subjective character of this book." Therefore, and because biographical data concerning Bernanos is scarce, both men need to be introduced briefly here.
Georges Bernanos was born in 1888 in Paris and died in 1948 in Neuilly. He was married and had six children; one of his sons fought with Franco in the Spanish Civil War, two with the Allies in World War II. Bernanos left France in 1938 for Morocco, then went to Brazil. He returned to France in 1946. The minor fortune he had made with his early novels was soon spent, but thanks to a devoted friend the family managed to live moderately well. However, the fact that he had been absent from France during the time of her worst humiliation and that he had not been active in the Résistance seems to have troubled him in later years, although he never said as much. He was very much...