Miller, Walter M. Jr.: A Canticle for Leibowitz

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Study Guide for Walter M. Miller, Jr.: A Canticle for Leibowitz (1959) Introduction Although A Canticle for Leibowitz was published as a book in 1959, one version of it was written earlier. The first section, also entitled A Canticle for Leibowitz (now Fiat Homo And He Created Man ) appeared in 1955, the second section appeared as And the Light Is Risen (Fiat Lux Let There be Light ) the next year, and the conclusion appeared in 1957 as The Last Canticle (Fiat Voluntas Tua Thy Will Be Done ), all in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. When he reworked the material for the novel, Miller made substantial changes and addtions. Although he published a few stories before and after, and wrote most of a sequel to Canticle, at his death this remained his only successful work. A sequel, Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman was almost finished when he committed suicide, and was completed by Terry Bisson and published in 1997. Canticle is widely considered a classic, has never been out of print, and is widely taught in science fiction courses. Written during the height of 50s concern over the danger of nuclear war, Canticle was the most literarily successful science fiction novel written on the subject until Russell Hoban`s Riddley Walker (1980, now out of print). Part of the novel`s success derives from its richly realized setting, a post-holocaust America where scraps of pre-war knowledge are gathered and preserved by a Catholic Church which no longer understands that ...

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