Modern Catholic Novel

Overview

In this comprehensive overview of masterpieces of the genre in Europe, Theodore P. Fraser concentrates on writers from France (Bernanos, Mauriac, Julien Green, Gilbert Cesbron, Jean Sulivan), England (G. K. Chesterton, Greene, Waugh, David Lodge, Spark), and Scandinavia and Germany (Sigrid Undset, Gertrud von Le Fort, Elisabeth Langgasser, Boll). Beginning with a look at the genre's origins and development in nineteenth-century France, Fraser stresses how Charles Peguy's concept of the sinner being at the heart ...
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Overview

In this comprehensive overview of masterpieces of the genre in Europe, Theodore P. Fraser concentrates on writers from France (Bernanos, Mauriac, Julien Green, Gilbert Cesbron, Jean Sulivan), England (G. K. Chesterton, Greene, Waugh, David Lodge, Spark), and Scandinavia and Germany (Sigrid Undset, Gertrud von Le Fort, Elisabeth Langgasser, Boll). Beginning with a look at the genre's origins and development in nineteenth-century France, Fraser stresses how Charles Peguy's concept of the sinner being at the heart of Christianity is itself at the heart of virtually every Catholic novel and is axiomatic in every plot. The traditional Catholic novel, Fraser argues, was built on a set of deeply held religious convictions: that there was a "hidden God" as identified by Pascal, and that this God pursued the erring soul ("The Hound of Heaven" in Francis Thompson's metaphor); that there was an essential, Augustinian antagonism between flesh and spirit; that the suffering of one individual, however unjust, could serve the purpose, in the divine economy, of redeeming the soul of another; and that the Catholic world of sign and symbol reflects another, invisible reality. Fraser insightfully examines how the notion of the absurd as a humanistic form of rebellion formulated in the existential philosophy of Albert Camus in the early 1950s dealt a severe blow to the traditional Catholic novel: he uses the doubts that plagued Greene about his faith in the late 1950s as an example of the spiritual malaise that led to Vatican II and the Church's opening its windows, ushering in not only new ideas but a new vantage point for the Catholic novel.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805745146
  • Publisher: Cengage Gale
  • Publication date: 8/28/1994
  • Series: World Authors Series
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.83 (h) x 0.89 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Prologue
Ch. 1 Origins and Development in Nineteenth-Century France 1
Ch. 2 France: Georges Bernanos, Francois Mauriac, Julien Green, Gilbert Cesbron 23
Ch. 3 England: Early Catholic Novelists, Evelyn Waugh, Graham Greene 67
Ch. 4 Scandinavia and Germany: Sigrid Undset, Gertrud von Le Fort, Elisabeth Langgasser 114
Ch. 5 The 1950s and 1960s: From Conflict to Convergence with the Modern World 143
Notes and References 187
Selected Bibliography 195
Index 207
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