Philosopher Ralph McInerny's autobiography published

Author: Arts and Letters


“I Alone Have Escaped to Tell You: My Life and Pastimes,” an autobiography by Ralph McInerny, professor of philosophy and Michael P. Grace Professor of Medieval Studies at the University of Notre Dame, has been published by the University of Notre Dame Press.

McInerny’s narrative includes his upbringing in Minnesota; education at Saint Paul Seminary and a decision to forego ordination to the priesthood; a singularly happy marriage; the heartbreak of a child’s death; the richness of family life; and his career at Notre Dame as a philosopher, editor and publisher, and novelist.

According to Michael Novak, George Frederick Jewett Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, McInerny’s book is “a charming, bittersweet, witty, evocative, even romantic reminiscence of a wonderful life” whose readers should “be prepared to weep a little, and laugh a little.”

Another reviewer, Jude P. Dougherty of The Catholic University of America, called the autobiography “the kind of book that future historians of culture will regard as a primary source. Modest and unassuming, McInerny fails to do justice to his own role in the intellectual life of the Church, a role as important as that of Chesterton and Belloc in a previous generation.”

McInerny, who holds degrees from the St. Paul Seminary, the University of Minnesota, and Laval University, has taught at Notre Dame since 1955. A past director of the Medieval Institute and of the Jacques Maritain Center, he is the author of numerous works of philosophical scholarship and popular fiction. His books include “The Question of Christian Ethics,” “Aquinas on Human Action,” “The Very Rich Hours of Jacques Maritain,” “Characters in Search of Their Author,” the Father Dowling mysteries, and “Irish Gilt,” the latest of a series of mysteries set on the Notre Dame campus.

Originally published by Michael O. Garvey at on April 24, 2006.