Literary Converts: Spiritual Inspiration in an Age of Unbelief

Overview

The twentieth century has been marked by both belief and unbelief. While church attendance has declined, the lives of many of the more salient figures of our times have been influenced and inspired by Christianity.

Literary Converts is a biographical exploration into the spiritual lives of some of those figures. It takes us on ajourney into the deepest beliefs of some of the great writers in the English language -- from G. K. Chesterton to ...

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Overview

The twentieth century has been marked by both belief and unbelief. While church attendance has declined, the lives of many of the more salient figures of our times have been influenced and inspired by Christianity.

Literary Converts is a biographical exploration into the spiritual lives of some of those figures. It takes us on ajourney into the deepest beliefs of some of the great writers in the English language -- from G. K. Chesterton to Evelyn Waugh, Edith Sitwell to Siegfried Sassoon.

Many will be intrigued to know more about what inspired their literary heroes; others will find the association of such names with Christian belief controversial. Whatever our viewpoint, Literary Converts touches on some of the more important questions of the twentieth century, making it a fascinating read.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This erudite book vividly contrasts the faith that marked the lives of many of Great Britain's more prominent writers of the 20th century with the unbelief that, the author believes, largely marked their times. Many of the book's "converts" began life as Anglicans and then converted to Roman Catholicism, though some, such as C.S. Lewis and T.S. Eliot, remained with the Church of England. Pearce is at his best when he situates writers within the frameworks of a changing Church and a changing world. For example, he claims that the Catholic Church's move away from the Latin mass hastened the emotional deterioration that directly preceded Evelyn Waugh's death. Pearce suggests that because of communist attacks on Catholics in Spain, Scottish poet Roy Campbell supported Franco and was somewhat sympathetic to Nazism. In discussing the post-World War II era, Pearce loses some of his focus: too many minor figures, including Ronald Knox and novelist Robert Hugh Benson, crowd the stage and detract from his more compelling descriptions of such deeply influential authors as G.K. Chesterton, Waugh, Eliot and Graham Greene. Despite its flaws, this volume nonetheless will edify and absorb the reader. (Mar.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780898707908
  • Publisher: Ignatius Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2000
  • Pages: 452
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 1.33 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Preface
1 Wilde Through the Looking-Glass 1
2 Belloc, Baring and Chesterton 9
3 The Archbishop's Son 17
4 The Bishop's Son 30
5 Dawson and Watkin 38
6 Benson's Cambridge Apostolate 45
7 The Attraction of Orthodoxy 50
8 Religion and Politics 56
9 Knox and Benson 72
10 Knox and Chesterton 88
11 War and Waste Land 102
12 Poetry in Commotion 117
13 Graham Greene: Catholic Sceptic 135
14 Waugh and Waste Land 146
15 Controverting Converts 166
16 Chesterton and Baring 185
17 War and Rumour of War 199
18 War of Words 214
19 Nuclear Reactions 233
20 Cultivating Culture 253
21 A Network of Minds 267
22 Militants in Pursuit of Truth 280
23 Spark and Sitwell 292
24 Alec Guinness 305
25 Sassoon and Knox 314
26 Contra Mundum 324
27 Ringing Out the Old 344
28 Small is Beautiful 362
29 Muggeridge: Pilgrimage and Passion 380
30 Ends and Loose Ends 399
31 Painting God Greene 410
32 Celtic Twilight 427
Index 447
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2001

    Is the Struggle Over?

    A bright mind fashions a brilliant argument which traces a world becoming ever more secularized as it loses it way from religion, which provided the cradle and shape for civilization. In Literary Converts:Spiritual Inspiration in an Age of Unbelief, Joseph Pearce has developed an argument which should stimulate minds --religious or atheistic. Perhaps the theme of the book is best underscored in comments Christopher Dawson offered in l949 in the final paragraph of an essay about T.S. Eliot's 'Notes Towards the Definition of Culture': ' (The) planners of modern society have come to exercise a more complete control over the thought and life of the whole population than the most autocratic and authoritarian powers of the past ever possessed. In this situation the work of men like Mr. T.S. Eliot who are able to meet the planners and sociologists on their own ground without losing sight of the real spiritual issues may be of decisive importance for the future of our culture.' One example of that decline as seen by Dawson, a friend and student of C.S. Lewis,is expressed in an interview the author had with Dawson in l996 as to how Lewis would react today to the victory of the modernists in the Anglican Church: 'It's difficult to imagine what he would make of today's Church of England. The Church of England is such a pathetic ghost nowadays...You can't agree with it or disagree with it. There's nothing there.' The immense research involved is staggering. What a cast of literary and other prominent figures Pearce weaves together: G.K. Chesterton, T.S.Eliot, Siegfried Sassoon, J.R.R. Tolkien, Hiliare Belloc,Evelyn Waugh, C.S.Lewis, Graham Greene, Dorothy Sayers, Christopher Dawson, Alfred Noyes, Malcom Muggeridge and a host of others. This book deserves a reading and a place in every library.

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