Author: Brian Sudlow

This book is a comparative study of the French and English Catholic literary revivals of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These parallel but mostly independent movements include writers such as Charles Péguy, Paul Claudel, J. K. Huysmans, Gerard Manley Hopkins, G. K. Chesterton and Lionel Johnson. Rejecting critical approaches that tend to treat Catholic writings as exotic marginalia, this book makes extensive use of secularisation theory to confront these Catholic writings with the preoccupations of secularism and modernity. It compares individual and societal secularisation in France and England and examines how French and English Catholic writers understood and contested secular mores, ideologies and praxis, in the individual, societal and religious domains. The book also addresses the extent to which some Catholic writers succumbed to the seduction of secular instincts, even paradoxically in themes which are considered to be emblematic of the Catholic literature.

Theology, politics, and Newtonian public science

This book explores at length the French and English Catholic literary revivals of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These parallel but mostly independent movements include writers such as Charles Péguy, Paul Claudel, J. K. Huysmans, Gerard Manley Hopkins, G. K. Chesterton and Lionel Johnson. Rejecting critical approaches that tend to treat Catholic writings as exotic marginalia, the book makes extensive use of secularisation theory to confront these Catholic writings with the preoccupations of secularism and modernity. It compares individual and societal secularisation in France and England and examines how French and English Catholic writers understood and contested secular mores, ideologies and praxis, in the individual, societal and religious domains. The book also addresses the extent to which some Catholic writers succumbed to the seduction of secular instincts, even paradoxically in themes that are considered to be emblematic of Catholic literature. Its breadth will make it a useful guide for students wishing to become familiar with a wide range of such writings in France and England during this period.

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The Mystery of the Charity of Charles Péguy (1983)
Jeffrey Wainwright

‘ Ah, les mots, mon vieux, les mots! ’ 1 Take that for your example! But still mourn, being so moved: éloge and elegy so moving on the scene as if to cry ‘in memory of those things these words were born.’ (10) After the long, shifting account of Charles Péguy in Hill’s poem, what are we to take from him? What sense is to be made, for what will he

in Acceptable words
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Essays on the poetry of Geoffrey Hill

Geoffrey Hill has said that some great poetry ‘recognises that words fail us’. This book explores his struggle over fifty years with the recalcitrance of language. It seeks to show how all Hill's work is marked by the quest for the right pitch of utterance whether it is sorrowing, angry, satiric or erotic. The book shows how Hill's words are never lightly ‘acceptable’ but an ethical act, how he seeks out words he can stand by—words that are ‘getting it right’. It is a comprehensive critical work on Geoffrey Hill, covering all his work up to Scenes from Comus (2005), as well as some poems yet to appear in book form.

Jeffrey Wainwright

, Nzeogwu and Fajuyi who died in the Nigerian–Biafran war. The nature of ‘speech acts’ which, and in which circumstances, can be said to be ‘performative’, that is commit the speaker to a specific action, is the subject of Hill’s painstaking discussion of the philosopher J. L. Austin in the essay ‘Our Word Is Our Bond’ ( LL pp. 138-59). I discuss this in a later essay in connection with The Mystery of the Charity of Charles Péguy , but it includes Hill’s rigorous discussion of Austin’s contention that words uttered in a poem ‘would not be

in Acceptable words
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Brian Sudlow

poetry of Paul Verlaine and of Charles Péguy all represent major contributions to the French literary canon. In England, the poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins, the pamphlets of G. K. Chesterton and the novels of Robert Hugh Benson signify the most important revival in Catholic literary production perhaps since Thomas More and Robert Southwell in the sixteenth century. Such are the importance and scope of these two literary trends that the authors involved have attracted considerable critical interest individually and collectively. France

in Catholic literature and secularisation in France and England, 1880–1914
Brian Sudlow

d’Ancien Régime. Ils jouaient la Révolution française, mais ils étaient d’Ancien Régime.’ 21 It was a singular position and one which is characteristic of the thought of Charles Péguy. What it shared with the principles of monarchism, however, was its desire to re-associate the political structures of France with Christianity. The dechristianisation of France was at stake. Democracy and monarchy in England In some ways the English Catholic authors approach politics in less divisive ways than their French

in Catholic literature and secularisation in France and England, 1880–1914
Brian Sudlow

). 30 Brunetière, Cinq lettres sur Ernest Renan , p. 97. 31 Rette, Sous l’étoile du matin , p. 18. 32 Adolphe Retté, Treize Idylles diaboliques (Paris: Bibliothèque artistique et littéraire, 1898). 33 Lalouette, La Libre Pensée , pp. 189–203. 34 Griffiths, The Reactionary Revolution , p. 64. 35 Charles Péguy, ‘Eve’ in Œuvres poétiques complètes (Paris: Gallimard, 1948 [1913]), pp. 705–946 (p. 862). 36

in Catholic literature and secularisation in France and England, 1880–1914
Clio, Eurydice, Orpheus
Graham Holderness

sing.’ With this prescient anticipation of what we have come to know as ‘the end of history’, Spenser approaches that point of realisation where a classical muse in antique costume must have begun to seem increasingly irrelevant to the incipient experience of modernity. Much later Clio was to evolve into a wholly demystified figure, the ‘poor old woman, devoid of eternity’ who for Charles Péguy summed

in Shakespeare’s histories and counter-histories
Brian Sudlow

. While such symbolism is clearly a theatrical device for Claudel, it is also redolent of an anti-secular metaphysic that asserts the existence of things beyond the ken of positivism or scientism, as well as the insufficiency of positivist or idealist modes of human knowledge. The same convictions underpin the thought of Charles Péguy who, while believing firmly in the invisible, chooses instead to insist on the incarnational character of spiritual truths at the heart of Christianity. For Péguy, the temporal and the eternal are associated with each other not in a

in Catholic literature and secularisation in France and England, 1880–1914