J. Blue is a mysterious man. Charming and carefree, he goes from rags to riches after the inheritance of an unexpected fortune, only to forgo money and power for the love of Lady Poverty. This life of service leads him to embrace fully his Christian faith—loving the unlovable, instructing the ignorant, and remembering that it is by grace that we are saved. In this new edition of Myles Connolly’s 1928 novel, which features a special Preface by Connolly’s own daughter, readers can again encounter the mystery of “Mr. Blue.” Stephen Mirarchi’s Introduction places the book in historical context and explains its literary structure, and his exhaustive Notes reveal Connolly’s sharp command of his craft. Readers will see more clearly than ever before how “Blue made one believe almost anything is possible,” especially a life of joyful self-giving.
About the Author
Myles Connolly (1897–1964) was a Hollywood writer and producer with more than forty film credits to his name and several others uncredited. He published a collection of short stories and four novels.
Stephen Mirarchi is Assistant Professor of English at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. He has published numerous articles in academic journals, popular magazines, and newspapers.
Praise for Mr. Blue
“This little book is a gem. It is a gem not simply because it is of great value, which it is, but because it is rare. It is rare because it depicts sanctity with such unassuming ease. It is easy to depict evil. It is easy to let the shadow of darkness fall. It is much more difficult to show the flickering faith that brings light to the darkness. In Mr. Blue, Myles Connolly succeeds as few other writers have done. In the character of Mr. Blue, Connolly has shown us the sanity which is sanctity in its true brilliance. In doing so, he outshines all but the finest writers. For this, he should be treasured as should this little gem of a book which he has given us as a priceless literary gift.” ~Joseph Pearce, Aquinas College
“Mr. Blue is as much a parable for our times as it was for Myles Connolly’s original audience. The “happiest man alive”—he who insists on living free from the burden of accumulated wealth and social status; he who willingly chooses to be “God’s Fool,”—confounds the staid and respectable in every generation. Yet we can’t help but being drawn to such rare and courageous figures. The notes by Dr. Stephen Mirarchi for this new edition help readers put this slender novel in context; importantly, they elucidate the connection between Blue and his antecedents St. Francis of Assisi and Henry David Thoreau. As the skeptical narrator admits, Blue “made one believe almost anything is possible,” and Blue’s story continues to inspire today.” ~Mary Reichardt, University of St. Thomas (Minnesota)
“The narrator of this timeless novel finds Mr. Blue to be strange yet inspiring. So too will the reader. Mr. Blue is a St. Francis of the city—in love with a world redeemed by the Incarnation, and ever mindful of creation’s ordinary beauties, especially the Christ-like visage of each person he meets. This new edition includes superlative notes that will illuminate Blue’s contemporary Catholic world for any reader.” ~Paul J. Contino, Pepperdine University
“Christ’s Church occurs as he comes to dwell in us, silently and without fanfare he enters the soul to make of each Christian another himself. This is the key to understanding the simple but evocative 1928 novel by Miles Connelly, Mr. Blue. In this new edition, Professor Stephen Mirachi has provided us with the introductory background and the running notes which help explain the unique structure of Connelly’s Mr. Blue, and why this work deserves not only to be kept in print but to be read and assimilated by all those who look to serve Jesus Christ in the least of his brothers and sisters.” ~Fr. David Vincent Meconi, S.J., Jesuit Hall at Saint Louis University
“At last! A popular classic is given its due with the full scholarly treatment. The informative notes will help introduce a new generation to one of the most mystical, marvelous, and magnetic characters in all of fiction. A refreshing ride with Mr. Blue and his Chestertonian wisdom and innocence.” ~Dale Ahlquist, President, American Chesterton Society
“Some ninety years out from its original publication, Mr. Blue still seems ever young, and ever new. It’s a brilliant novel of a saint and a holy fool, which sends ideas off in all directions, and if only it had first appeared in Russian or French, it would certainly have a distinguished place in the literary canon. As it is, it remains an American spiritual classic. It’s a pleasure to see this latest version, with its thoughtful introduction.” ~Philip Jenkins, Distinguished Professor of History, Institute for Studies of Religion, Baylor University
“A summer must-read… With the benefit of Mirarchi’s excellent annotations throughout the novel, you will understand why it was Connolly, and not Fitzgerald, who wrote the definitive novel of the Roaring 20s… This new edition shows that the fallen away materialism of the world Fitzgerald portrays in The Great Gatsby, as morally bankrupt as the country was to become financially, is not the last word.” ~ZENIT