The Climate of Faith in Modern Literature

December 2, 2020
The Climate of Faith in Modern Literature

The arts of the word—poetry, drama, and fiction—are here thesubject of an intense critical and theological examination by tendistinguished Christian scholars and men of letters. The purpose oftheir combined effort is to work out systematically andcomprehensively, for both students and every-day readers, aChristian perspective on the landscape of modern literature.The theological community has only recently begun to look closelyat the imaginative and intellectual vanguard of contemporaryliterature and to recognize its testimony to man's spiritualcondition.The Climate of Faith in Modern Literature extends the mood ofrecognition into a concern for rapprochement and dialogue betweenChristianity and the arts. Students of literature are already awareof this new concern, closely related to the reinstatement ofreligious themes and images in recent literature and the renascenceof existential thinking in literary criticism.To facilitate the study, the opening chapters of this book definethe fundamental terms of the dialogue, opening both Christian faithand literary art to each other's scrutiny and allegiance. Thefollowing chapters focus on studies and discussions of specificworks, both "secular" and avowedly religious, and their testimonyabout human existence. Christian drama is treated from theprofessional viewpoint of the director of T. S. Eliot's plays, E.Martin Browne. One chapter is then devoted to the voice of the poetin the city today and another to the peculiar problems and pitfallsthat endanger the Christian artist in our time. Finally thesymposium is drawn to a close by the projection of a "hope forliterature" in years to come, by the notable Christian author, ChadWalsh.The perilous and the promising, the degrading and the sublime, thewhole assemblage of faces and masks in contemporary poetry, drama,and prose, all are explored with an urgency and audacity that mayeven touch on the prophetic.Nathan A. Scott, Jr., who is known as a pioneer in the coordinatedstudy of theology and literature, provides the critical backgroundas well as much of the inspiration.