Joseph Pearce in 2007
|Born||1961 (age 53–54)
East London, England
Joseph Pearce (born 1961) is an English-born writer, and as of 2014[update] Director of the Center for Faith and Culture at Aquinas College (Tennessee) in Nashville, TN. Previously he had comparable positions, from 2012–2014 at Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in Merrimack, NH, from 2001–2004, at Ave Maria College in Ypsilanti, Michigan and from 2004–2012 at Ave Maria College in Ave Maria, FL. He is known for a number of literary biographies, many of Catholic figures. Formerly aligned with the National Front, a white nationalist political party, he converted to Roman Catholicism in 1989, repudiated his earlier views, and now writes from a Catholic perspective. He is a co-editor of the St. Austin Review and editor-in-chief of Sapientia Press. He also teaches Shakespearian literature for Homeschool Connections, an online Catholic curriculum provider.
At the age of fifteen he joined the National Front (NF), a far-right political party opposed to a multi-racial and multi-cultural England. He was closely involved in NF organisational activities and first came to prominence in 1977 when, at the age of sixteen, he set up Bulldog, the paper of the organisation. Bulldog became associated with some of the most virulent NF propaganda. In 1980, Pearce became editor of Nationalism Today, in which he argued vehemently in favour of racial preservation, producing a pamphlet entitled Fight for Freedom! on this theme in 1982. Due to the White Supremacist nature of his articles, Pearce was twice prosecuted under the Race Relations Act of 1976, and served prison time in 1982 and 1985–1986. During his first prison term, Pearce read the writings of George Orwell and became a member of the NF's Political Soldier wing, which advocated Strasserism.
Pearce was also a member of the Orange Order and, between 1978–1985, a frequent visitor to Northern Ireland. During his visits, he established close and friendly relationships with the Ulster Defence Association leader Andy Tyrie, Ulster Freedom Fighters leader John McMichael and Ulster Volunteer Force member George Seawright.
In 1979, Pearce was invited to a debate about immigration on BBC Radio 1 alongside a member of the Anti-Nazi League and Stiff Little Fingers frontman Jake Burns. Pearce has written that he remembers little of the debate, "beyond the obvious vituperative exchanges between me and the equally acrimonious young person who represented the Anti-Nazi League."
After the broadcast, Pearce was astonished when Burns invited him to share a pint at a local pub. During their drink, Burns, who was known for, "seeking peace in Northern Ireland while I was preaching total war," attempted to gently persuade Pearce to reconsider his opinions. Pearce has called this encounter with Burns as one of many, "lights of clarity that led the way out of the darkness."
Despite his sympathy for the Loyalists, Pearce rebuffed all attempts to recruit him into the violent aspect of the Troubles. He has written, "For all my extremism, I had no desire to kill anybody, or to have someone kill anybody for me."
Pearce has also written, "In spite of my own unwillingness to become too directly involved in the terrorist operations in Northern Ireland, I was very aware, as were the leaders of the UVF and UDA, that National Front members serving with the Army in Northern Ireland were smuggling intelligence information on suspected IRA members to the Loyalist paramilitaries. This information included photographs of suspected IRA members, the type of car they drove and its registration number, and other useful facts. I have little doubt that this information was used by the UVF and UDA to target and assassinate their enemies."
Pearce attributes his subsequent religious conversion from a culturally-Protestant agnosticism to Roman Catholicism in part to reading G. K. Chesterton, whose biography he later wrote. He now repudiates his former views, saying that his racism stemmed from hatred, and that his conversion has completely changed his outlook.
As a Catholic author, he has focused mainly on the work of Catholic English writers, such as J. R. R. Tolkien, G. K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc. His book Literary Converts, published in 1999, captures this interest and showcases the process of conversion of many writers who became convinced Catholics. Pearce has also promoted the social doctrine of the Church, in particular Distributism as a Catholic economic system. His main contribution in this area has been his book Small is Still Beautiful, which takes up the theme proposed earlier by E. F. Schumacher in his book Small is Beautiful.
- Skrewdriver: The First Ten Years-The Way It's Got to Be!. London: Skrewdriver Services. 1987.
- Wisdom and Innocence: A Life of G. K. Chesterton. London: Hodder & Stoughton. 1996. ISBN 0-340-67132-7.
- The Three Ys Men. London: Saint Austin Press. 1998. ISBN 1-901157-02-4.
- Tolkien: Man and Myth. London: HarperCollins. 1998. ISBN 0-00-274018-4.
- Literary Converts: Spiritual Inspiration in an Age of Unbelief. London: HarperCollins. 1999. ISBN 0-00-628111-7.
- Pearce, Joseph, ed. (1999). Tolkien: A Celebration. Collected Writings on a Literary Legacy. London: Fount. ISBN 0-00-628120-6.
- Pearce, Joseph, ed. (1999). Flowers of Heaven: 1000 years of Christian Verse. London: Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 0-340-72220-7.
- Solzhenitsyn: A Soul in Exile. London: HarperCollins. 1999. ISBN 0-00-274040-0.
- The Unmasking of Oscar Wilde. London: HarperCollins. 2000. ISBN 0-00-274042-7.
- Bloomsbury and Beyond: The Friends and Enemies of Roy Campbell. London: HarperCollins. 2001. ISBN 0-00-274092-3. Published in the United States as Unafraid of Virginia Woolf: The Friends and Enemies of Roy Campbell. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books. 2004. ISBN 978-1-932236-36-1.
- Small Is Still Beautiful. London: HarperCollins. 2001. ISBN 0-00-274090-7. Published in the United States as Small Is Still Beautiful: Economics as if Families Mattered. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books. 2006. ISBN 978-1-933859-05-7. (Book Review and Summary)
- Campbell, Roy (2001). Pearce, Joseph, ed. Selected Poems. London: Saint Austin. ISBN 1-901157-59-8.
- Old Thunder: A Life of Hilaire Belloc. London: HarperCollins. 2002. ISBN 0-00-274096-6.
- C. S. Lewis and the Catholic Church. San Francisco: Ignatius Press. 2003. ISBN 0-89870-979-2.
- Literary Giants, Literary Catholics. San Francisco: Ignatius Press. 2005. ISBN 978-1-58617-077-6.
- The Quest for Shakespeare: The Bard of Avon and the Church of Rome. San Francisco: Ignatius Press. 2008. ISBN 1-58617-224-7.
- Divining Divinity: A Book of Poems. Kaufmann Publishing. 2008. ISBN 978-0-9768580-1-0.
- Through Shakespeare's Eyes: Seeing the Catholic Presence in the Plays. San Francisco: Ignatius Press. 2010. ISBN 978-1-58617-413-2.
- Bilbo's Journey: Discovering the Hidden Meaning in The Hobbit. Charlotte, NC: Saint Benedict Press. 2012. ISBN 978-1-61890-058-6.
- Shakespeare on Love. San Francisco: Ignatius Press. 2013. ISBN 9781586176846.
- Race with the Devil: My Journey from Racial Hatred to Rational Love. Charlotte, North Carolina: St. Benedict Press. 2013. ISBN 978-1-61890-065-4.
Joseph Pearce is the host of the EWTN television series The Quest for Shakespeare based on his book The Quest for Shakespeare: The Bard of Avon and the Church of Rome. The show concentrates on the evidence that Shakespeare was a Catholic and consists of thirteen episodes. Also on EWTN, Pearce was the host for a special hour-long program broadcast Dec. 14, 2014, titled "Tolkien: Elves, Hobbits, and Men ". Pearce emphasized some elements of "The Lord of the Rings" which in his opinion are based on Tolkien's strong Catholicism. For example, he draws a parallel between Boromir's death scene and the sacrament of penance. The program broadcast again Dec. 16, 2014.
- Joseph Pearce, "Race with the Devil"
- Searchlight, December 1984.
- Pearce (2013), pages 108–109.
- Pearce (2013), pages 112–113.
- Searchlight magazine, February 1986.
- Pearce (2013), pages 140–141.
- Pearce (2013), pages 140–141.
- Pearce (2013), page 112.
- Pearce (2013), page 111.
- Pearce (2013), pages 113–116.
- Kate Duffern, Review of Literary Converts. Catholic Insight, 1 May 2001.
- Small is Still Beautiful
- The Quest for Shakespeare. EWTN website, Accessed 5 May 2009.
- Personal site
- Autobiographical page
- Saint Austin Review
- Clips of Joseph Pearce speaking about his conversion: 1, 2
- Joseph Pearce speaks about his conversion
- The Quest for Shakespeare, EWTN's page for the TV show