This impassioned work, written from 1933 to 1935 while he was successively ambassador to the United States and Belgium, marks a pivotal point in the career of the French poet and playwright Paul Claudel, one of the most important and accomplished literary figures in European history. With this book, Claudel commenced his profound commentaries on Scripture and on the deepest mysteries of the Catholic faith. In these works (10 of the 30 volumes in Claudel’s collected writings)–and particularly in this first one, a meditation on the last seven words of Christ–Claudel unpacks the cruciform meaning of the Christian life. He always claimed that form of existence as the source of his poetry and drama, making this book a hermeneutic key to the vision animating all of Claudel’s literary art. As D.C. Schindler makes clear in his new introduction (a major reassessment of Claudel’s art and faith), Claudel in this at times disturbing book resembles nothing so much as the great Patristic Fathers in their imaginative recovery of analogical meaning within Scripture and in the myriad of create things.