George Townshend, A Life
by David Hofman
The biography of the sometime Canon of St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin and Archdeacon of Clonfert who renounced his orders to proclaim the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh.
This biography of a great Irishman is the story of a man with a vision. It reveals the response of a sincere Christian, who reached high rank in the ecclesiastical hierarchy, to the modern and rapidly advancing Bahá'í Faith. George Townshend renounced his Orders in the Church ‘in order to be loyal to Christ as I know Him’ and to proclaim publicly that the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh is the long-awaited ‘return’ promised in the Gospel.
At the age of seventy he willingly accepted all the hardships this entailed.
The story itself is adventurous and of wide-ranging interest. George Townshend's years in Utah, where he was ordained in Salt Lake City; his academic career in Sewanee, Tennessee where he became Associate Professor of English at the University of the South; his long years near Ballinasloe, County Galway, where he was incumbent of Ahascragh and Archdeacon of Clonfert; to the last decade in a small bungalow outside Dublin -- this forms the outward pattern of a great life. But it is the inner spiritual striving, the modesty, the courage, the relentless persistence in pursuit of his vision which compel our admiration. His literary accomplishment, insufficiently realized as yet, is dealt with in some detail. A leader writer for The Irish Times between 1900 and 1904, he achieved recognition with The Altar on the Hearth (1927) and more widely with The Genius of Ireland (1930). His love for Ireland and his conviction of her great destiny in the reshaping of the world, were powerful motivating forces, which lent vigour and beauty to much of his writing, both prose and poetry. His later and larger works, related to the Bahá'í Faith, have gradually become more widely known and have been translated into a number of languages, and his services to the Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith, especially in the literary field, are here recounted for the first time.
The first edition lamented the lack of information available about George's Oxford days and his early manhood prior to his emigration to the United States in 1904. This lacunna has been lavishly repaired by a spate of new documents and information contributed by George's son Brian, which form the basis for the revisions in this new printing. There is further enlightenment about George's resignation of his Orders. This revised edition will be given the same warm welcome as was given to the original, which rapidly sold out.
23.4 x 15.6 cm (9.25 x 6 in)