Gardiner, Harold Charles

views updated


Editor, journalist, author; b. Washington, D.C., Feb. 6, 1904; d. Denver, Colorado, Sept. 3, 1969, the son of Ignatius and Lillian (Bechtel) Gardiner. He graduated from Gonzaga High School, Washington, D.C., and entered the Society of Jesus on Aug. 14, 1922, at St. Andrew-on-Hudson, Poughkeepsie, New York. He subsequently spent two periods of philosophical (192629) and theological (193236) study at Woodstock College, Maryland, in the course of which he earned his A.B.,M.A., and S.T.L. degrees. In between (192931), he taught Latin, Greek, and English literature at Canisius College in Buffalo.

Gardiner was ordained to the priesthood on June 21, 1945. After a year (193637) of study in ascetical theology at Tronchiennes, Belgium, he began graduate studies in English literature at Cambridge University, and received his Ph.D. in 1941. In the summer of 1940 he joined the editorial staff of America, the Jesuit-edited national Catholic weekly review, in New York City. He served as literary editor of America from 1940 to May 1962, when he took a leave of absence to become a staff editor, with responsibility for all materials dealing with literature, of the 15-volume New Catholic Encyclopedia, then in preparation in Washington, D.C. After completing this task in 1966, he took on the editorship of Corpus Books until his death. In addition to his work as an editor and author, Gardiner lectured widely before university audiences and on radio and television. From 1948 to 1962, he was chairman of the editorial board of the Catholic Book Club. He also served frequently as a consultant to publishers and film directors.

Gardiner promoted literary excellence among Catholic authors and pioneered the formulation of a new understanding among Catholics of the relation between morality and literature, art and the censor. His books include: Mysteries' End (1945), The Great Books (ed. 4 v., 194753), Fifty Years of the American Novel (ed., 1951), Norms for the Novel (1953), Imitation of Christ (tr. and ed., 1955), Edmund Campion (1957), Catholic Viewpoint on Censorship (1958), American Classics Reconsidered (ed., 1958), In All Conscience (1959), Movies, Morals and Art (jt. auth., 1961).

[d. r. campion]