Only two people have had the good fortune to have their biographies written by Evelyn Waugh, and they were both Catholic priests. One was Saint Edmund Campion, the sixteenth-century Jesuit. The other was Ronald Knox (1888–1957)—and who was he? Forty years after Knox’s death, Waugh’s biography of 1959 is out of print, known to few, and has had only one substantial supplement, Penelope Fitzgerald’s The Knox Brothers (1977). Is there any case for a new biography, and what would such a book add to its predecessors?

In 1945 Knox preached a sermon to commemorate the centenary of the conversion of John Henry Newman (whose life overlapped with his by two years). In the course of it, he said:

The kind of fame and of opportunity which Newman had when he was an Anglican were of a more enjoyable sort than the fame and opportunity he enjoyed when he was a Catholic; and he must...

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