A Canticle for Leibowitz is a post-apocalyptic science fiction novel by American writer
Walter M. Miller, Jr., first published in 1960. Set in a Catholic monastery in the desert of the Southwestern United
States after a devastating nuclear war, the story spans thousands of years as civilization rebuilds itself. The monks
of the fictional Albertian Order of Leibowitz take up the mission of preserving the surviving remnants of man's scientific
knowledge until the day the outside world is again ready for it. A Canticle for Leibowitz is based on three short stories
Miller contributed to The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. It is the only novel published by the author during his
lifetime. Considered one of the classics of science fiction, it has never been out of print and has seen over 25 reprints
and editions. Appealing to mainstream and genre critics and readers alike, it won the 1961 Hugo Award for best science fiction novel.
Inspired by the author's participation in the Allied bombing of the monastery at Monte Cassino during World War II, the novel
is considered a masterpiece by literary critics. It has been compared favorably with the works of Evelyn Waugh, Graham
Greene, and Walker Percy, and its themes of religion, recurrence, and church versus state have generated a significant
body of scholarly research. Miller's follow-up work, Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman, was published posthumously in 1997.