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The Church and Literature


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Christianity and the book have been closely intertwined since the religion's very beginning. The Word itself takes a variety of literary forms: apologetic and polemic texts, sermons, poems, hymns, spiritual autobiography and Christian philosophical reflection. Likewise, many genres of novel, theatre and travel-writing often deal with Christian themes. This volume explores some of the ways in which the Church has both shaped and featured in the literature of different periods, with a particular emphasis on British literature in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
The understanding of literature invoked here is a catholic one, reflecting the universality of Christianity itself, and allowing the exploration of a range of forms of writing emerging in the course of the Church's history. Among the authors discussed are Thomas More, John Milton, Isaac Williams, W. E. Heygate, Charles Dickens, Benjamin Disraeli, Edna Lyall, Silas and Joseph Hocking, Robert Browning, Charles Williams, Canon Patrick Augustine Sheehan, Dame Rose Macauley, D. H. Lawrence, W. H. Auden and Ellis Peters. Through this wide-ranging and impressive collection, The Church and Literature illuminates the enduring relationship between the Church and literary creation. Both literary scholars and historians with an interest in Christian culture will find this book invaluable.

PETER CLARKE is Reader in Medieval History at the University of Southampton.

CHARLOTTE METHUEN is Lecturer in Church History at the University of Glasgow.

Contributors: Daniel Anlezark, Clyde Binfield, John Boneham, Philip Broadhead, David Brooks, Renie Choy, Thomas N. Corns, Eamon Duffy, David N. Dumville, Jessica Lee Ehinger, Benjamin L. Fischer, Sarah Foot, Sheridan Gilley, Crawford Gribben, Bernard Hamilton, Colin Haydon, George Herring, Kathleen Jaeger, Oliver Logan, Judith Maltby, Stuart Mews, Katharine K. Olson, George Oppitz-Trotman, W. B. Patterson, Salvador Ryan, Andrew Sanders, Mark Smith, Martin Spence, John Took, Caroline Watkinson, Peter Webster, Martin Wellings, John Wolffe


A feast for anyone interested in religious history and a rich storehouse for anyone wishing to read about the latest thinking on any of the topics discussed. CONTEMPORARY REVIEW

This feast of a book takes us outside familiar conventions and offers much needed historical perspective. CHRISTIANITY TODAY


First Published: 24 May 2012
13 Digit ISBN: 9780954680992
4 black and white illustrations
Pages: 530
Size: 21.6 x 13.8
Binding: Hardback
Imprint: Ecclesiastical History Society

Details updated on 05 Oct 2015


  • 1  Introduction
  • 2  Seeking Meaning Behind Spistolary Clichés: Intercessory Prayer Clauses in Christian Letters
  • 3  Gregory the Great: Reader, Writer and Read
  • 4  Was Anyone Listening? Christian Apologetics against Islam as a Literary Genre
  • 5  Frivolity and Reform in the Church: The Irish Experience, 1066-1166
  • 6  Ecclesiology on the Edge: Dante and the Church
  • 7  'No milkless cow': The Cross of Christ in Medieval Irish Literature
  • 8  'Y Ganrif Fawr'? Piety, Literature and Patronage in Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century Wales
  • 9  The Biblical Verse of Hans Sachs: The Popularization of Scripture in the Lutheran Reformation
  • 10  Thomas More's Confutation: A Literary Failure?
  • 11  Staging Vice and Acting Evil: Theatre and Anti-Theatre in Early Modern England
  • 12  William Perkins's The Arte of Prophecying: A Literary Manifesto
  • 13  Milton's Churches
  • 14  Anti-Catholicism and Obscene Literature: The Case of Mrs. Mary Catherine Cadiere and its Context
  • 15  English Convents in Eighteenth-Century Travel Literature
  • 16  A Novel Resistance: Mission Narrative as the Anti-Novel in the Evangelical Assault on British Culture
  • 17  Reserve and Physical Imagery in the Tractarian Poetry of Isaac Williams [1802-65]
  • 18  W. E. Heygate: Tractarian Clerical Novelist
  • 19  A Writer or a Religious? Lady Georgiana Fullerton's Dilemma
  • 20  Writing the Sabbath: The Literature of the Nineteenth-Century Sunday Observance Debate
  • 21  The Pastor Chief and other Stories: Waldensian Historical Fiction in the Nineteenth Century
  • 22  The Jesuit as Villain in Nineteenth-Century British Fiction
  • 23  Christian Dickens
  • 24  Disraeli's Novels: Religion and Identity
  • 25  Breadth from Dissent: Ada Ellen Bayly ['Edna Lyall'] and her Fiction
  • 26  'Pulp Methodism' revisited: The Literature and Significance of Silas and Joseph Hocking
  • 27  Some Popes in English Literature c. 1850-1950
  • 28  Jesuit Pulp fiction: The Serial Novels of Antonio Bresciani in La Civiltà Cattolica
  • 29  Canon Patrick Augustine Sheehan, Priest and Novelist
  • 30  'Oh dear, if only the Reformation had happened differently': Anglicanism, the Reformation and Dame Rose Macaulay [1881-1958]
  • 31  The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lord Chamberlain and the Censorship of the Theatre, 1909-49
  • 32  The Trials of Lady Chatterley, the Modernish Bishop and the Victorian Archbishop: Clashes of Class, Cultures and Generations
  • 33  The Cloister and the Crime: Medieval Monks in Modern Murder-Mysteries
  • 34  Piety and Polemic in Evangelical Prophecy Fiction, 1995-2000

The Church and the Book

The Church and the Book

The Use and Abuse of Time in Christian History

The Use and Abuse of Time in Christian History