The classics have always occupied a place in the hall of education, yet some Christians tend to lean either towards a Puritanical dismissal of art as "irreligious", or they twist the arts into altered, pro-Christian mediocrity. Invitation to the Classics expounds upon what it means to have a Christian view of literature, including its benefits, aesthetics and place in culture. Classics from a variety of authors including Homer, Sophocles, Plato, Dante, Shakespeare, Pascal, Swift, Emerson, Dickens, Tolstoy, Lewis and others are all viewed with an in depth literary and biographical assessment. Each author is introduced with literary analysis of their most famous works, impact upon time, posterity and "Issues to Explore" discussion questions. 384 pages, indexed, softcover.
Motivation and direction for reading and understanding the great authors and works of Western culture.
Louise Cowan is a professor of literature at the University of Dallas and a cofounder of the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture. She is the author of two books and of numerous essays on literary and educational topics.
Os Guinness is a senior fellow with the Trinity Forum and the author of many books, including The American Hour, God in the Dark, and Answering the Call.
This work examines 50 of the great classic texts of Western literature from a
Christian perspective. Cowan (literature, Univ. of Dallas) and Guinness (The
Call, Word Books, 1998) compiled criticisms for each classic--including works
by Homer, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Dostoyevsky, and Yeats--from an
expert in the field. Each section demonstrates how the work relates to
Christian doctrine, and topics for further study are included at the end.
Unfortunately, these works lean heavily toward male authors, as in most
discussion of the great works in Western literature, and the editors confuse
their purpose by touching on too many varied ideas while attempting to explain
why these works are important from a Christian perspective. Recommended only
for public and academic libraries with strong literature and religion
departments.--Kim Woodbridge, "The Scientist," Philadelphia
For over a decade, university teachers, politicians, literary critics and
preachers have argued about the educational role of the literary classics of
the Western world. While some have contended that the works themselves are full
of immoral teachings and should be banned from libraries and school curricula,
others have argued that the stereotypical portrayal of certain characters has a
pernicious effect on readers and leads to classism, sexism and racism. Still
others, like authors of this lively collection, believe that the classics are
indispensable for an understanding of Western society and human nature.
Guinness and Cowan gather over 50 brief essays by a number of respected
Christian literary scholars that extend invitations to readers to experience
anew or for the first time the wonder and the beauty of selected classics. Each
essay contains a biographical and historical sketch, a summary of the work
being considered, suggestions and bibliographies for further study and
questions raised by the text about the interaction of Christian faith and
society. The selections range from the Iliad to Machiavelli's The Prince,
Flaubert's Madame Bovary and Rushdie's The Satanic Verses. Genres covered range
from Shakespeare's plays and Milton's epic poetry to Martin Luther's
theological writings and Alexis de Tocqueville's travel writings. (Sept.)
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