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Catholic Literature and Culture 1907-1970

Volume 69, Issue 3, Summer 2017
Unorthodox Orthodoxies

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Displaying: 1-6 of 6 documents

1. Renascence: Volume > 69 > Issue: 3
Jamie Callison, Introduction
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2. Renascence: Volume > 69 > Issue: 3
Heidi Hartwig, The End of the Affair: A Modernist Conversion Narrative
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Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair is a modernist conversion narrative that exposes cultural tensions around the post-War era’s preponderance of Catholic conversions. Like narratives written to vindicate the conversions precipitated by the Oxford Movement in the previous century, The End of the Affair explains how characters come to a certain belief that is largely derided by the prevailing culture. In contrast to the rational deliberation of these earlier models, conversion to Catholicism in this novel is distinguished by its irrationality, through a structure of over-determination, a rhetoric of imitation, metaphors of touch and contagion, and suggestions of supernatural intervention. Attending to the thematic of conversion highlights elements of the novel obscured by reading it as either a secularist novel or a moral theological novel — namely, elements that are particular to the hermeneutics of conversion narratives in depicting a character’s dynamic evolution from one set of beliefs to another.
3. Renascence: Volume > 69 > Issue: 3
Jean Ward, Marian Aspects of Four Quartets
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This article focuses on the Marian inspirations in T. S. Eliot’s poetry, especially in Part IV of “The Dry Salvages”, which differs importantly from the fourth part of all the other Quartets in that it is worded as a prayer rather than a reflection or meditation, and still more interestingly, is addressed directly and unequivocally to the Virgin Mary. The discussion reveals how Eliot's recourse to Marian elements and prayers unsettles the comfortable middle-of-the-road Anglicanism of which the Four Quartets have been accused. This, however, is done not by calling on the high intellectual resources of Catholic theology and philosophy but by foregrounding that aspect of ordinary Catholic devotion that was for centuries foremost in Catholic-Protestant debate, and so perhaps giving voice to a yearning for something long absent from the mainstream of religious expression in English.
4. Renascence: Volume > 69 > Issue: 3
Henry Mead, Modernist Myths of the Fall: F.R. Tennant and T.E. Hulme
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This paper focuses on the doctrine of Original Sin, perhaps the most problematic of theological principles for radical writers seeking forms of liberation and progression. Stephen Mulhall has noted the doctrine seems to underpin even the most radically atheistic of modern thought, including that of Nietzsche. Proceeding on this logic, this paper looks at the contrasting attitudes to fallenness expressed by the Edwardian theologian F.R. Tennant, and the modernist writer T.E. Hulme, contrasting the liberal and conservative stances of theological and cultural ‘modernism’ respectively. It examines how these writers’ ideas responded to the debate between science and religion, ideas of vitalism, crowd psychology, and political populism, and ends by noting how the motif of the Fall occurs across a range of modernist texts by writers of various or no religious faith, reflecting the wider resonance of the idea in Western culture.
5. Renascence: Volume > 69 > Issue: 3
Laura McCormick Kilbride, The Catholic New Left: Language, Liturgy, and Literature in Slant Magazine 1964-1970
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What kind of language might reach and shape readers for revolution — where ‘revolution’ is revealed in the divine humanity of Christ? This essay considers this question as it was pursued in the journal of the Catholic Left, Slant, between 1960 and 1970. Considering how far the attempt to think a specifically catholic poetics might depart from contemporary radical English thinking, specifically the New Left, I begin by exploring the ways in which key words, such as language, liturgy and literature, are transformed when they enter the Catholic debate. I go on to explore these concerns by considering two poems from 1967-8. Throughout, I am concerned with the question of how far the cultural programme of Slant might be said to have a poetics, a question which prompts us to consider our ambitions for how we read and write today.
6. Renascence: Volume > 69 > Issue: 3
Paul Robichaud, Avant-garde and Orthodoxy at Ditchling
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The early twentieth century saw the rise of various movements and communities in response to a perceived crisis in a western modernity that many contemporaries viewed as decadent and in urgent need of social, cultural, and spiritual renewal. In Britain in particular, several groups of traditional artisans expressed their rejection of modernity by leaving the city to form small artistic communities. Such community experiments often had their roots in the nineteeth-century Arts and Crafts movement, a background shared by the founding members of the community at Ditchling in Sussex — Eric Gill, Douglas (Hilary) Pepler, and Edward Johnston — but augmented by an increasing commitment to Roman Catholicism on the part of Gill and Pepler. The Ditchling group’s commitments to traditional handicrafts and the Church made their relationship to modernism tentative and difficult, but some members at least were familiar with artistic developments in the wider world. In particular, Eric Gill would reject modernism at Ditchling, while David Jones would embrace it to assert his artistic and spiritual independence.