The Operation of Grace: Further Essays on Art, Faith, and Mystery

The Operation of Grace: Further Essays on Art, Faith, and Mystery

by Gregory Wolfe


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The Operation of Grace: Further Essays on Art, Faith, and Mystery by Gregory Wolfe

The Operation of Grace collects a decade’s worth of essays by Gregory Wolfe taken from the pages of Image, the literary journal he founded more than a quarter century ago. As he notes in the preface, his Image editorials, while they cover a wide range of topics, focus on the intersection of “art, faith, and mystery”. Wolfe believes that art and religion, while hardly identical, offer illuminating analogies to one another – art deepening faith through the empathetic reach of the imagination and faith anchoring art in a vision beyond the artist’s ego. Several essays dwell on how aesthetic values like ambiguity, tragedy, and beauty enlarge our understanding of the spiritual life. There are also a series of reflections that extend Wolfe’s campaign to renew the neglected and often misunderstood tradition of Christian humanism. Finally, there are sections that contain more personal meditations arising from Wolfe’s involvement in nurturing and promoting the work of emerging writers and artists. The Operation of Grace demonstrates once again why novelist Ron Hansen has spoken of Wolfe as “one of the most incisive and persuasive voices of our generation”.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781625640574
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Publication date: 10/27/2015
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Gregory Wolfe is editor of Image, one of America's leading quarterly journals. He serves as Writer in Residence and Director of the low-residency MFA in Creative Writing program at Seattle Pacific University. His literary imprint, Slant Books, is published by Wipf & Stock. Wolfe's books include Beauty Will Save the World, Intruding upon the Timeless, Malcolm Muggeridge: A Biography, and Sacred Passion: The Art of William Schickel. He has served as a judge for the National Book Awards.

Table of Contents

Preface: A Metaphorical God ix

Prologue: Returning to the Cave 1

The Cave and the Cathedral 3

Art Speaks to Faith 9

The Wound of Beauty 11

The Tragic Sense of Life 17

Singularly Ambiguous 23

Strange Pilgrims 27

Secular Scriptures 31

Shouts and Whispers 35

Fully Human 39

Faith Speaks to Art 45

Thirty Seconds Away 47

Religious but Not Spiritual 53

Current Event 59

East and West in Miniature 63

Picturing the Passion 69

Why the Inklings Aren't Enough 75

Art and Faith in the Public Square 79

The Culture Wars Revisited 81

Always Now 87

Two-Way Traffic 91

Keeping a Private Address 95

Conservative Elegies 101

Poetic Justice 107

Christian Humanism: Then and Now 113

Looking for a Renaissance 115

Giotto's Ratio 121

Follies Worldly and Divine 127

The King's Great Matter… and Ours 131

Becoming the Other 139

Words and the Word: The Writing Life 145

The Humiliation of the Word 147

Stalking the Spirit 151

The Operation of Grace 157

Who's Afraid of Geoffrey Hill? 163

The Poetry of Exile 169

Scenes from a Literary Life 175

The Voice of This Calling 177

Scenes from an Editorial Life 183

The Four Cultures 189

Mugg, Hitch, and Me 195

Breath 201

Acknowledgments 207

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