Wilfrid Sheed and Reynolds Price died this week, two writers known for work in a range of genres and a refined technique. Both also explored themes of flawed, wounded characters haunted by Christianity and perpetually seeking solace there.
Sheed came out of the urbane Catholic tradition, raised in London and New York by his Catholic publishing parents. Price was a product of rural North Carolina. Although Price enjoyed considerable popular success as a novelist and short-story writer, he, like Sheed, wrote for an audience of aesthetic sensibility. Yet both understood and loved popular culture and explored aspects of it in their work. Reading their obituaries in the New York Times, I felt that Sheed and Price were members of the same tradition, old-style "men of letters" with wide interests.