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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Neil Cornwell

slightly lesser extent, as well as Hodgson), but he also makes fleeting appearances elsewhere, under music and seer. He might also be a ‘seer’ in other senses as well; commonly regarded as a ‘prophet’, he was acclaimed, in a famous study of 1902 by the decadent writer D.S. Merezhkovsky, as ‘the “seer” of a transcendental spiritual world, whose works were prophetic and revelatory in that they penetrated “the illusoriness of the real” ‘. 4 The French decadent, J.-K. Huysmans (or at least his protagonist Durtal), in 1891, for that matter, looking for ‘the Spiritual

in Odoevsky’s four pathways into modern fiction
Brian Sudlow

In Les Foules de Lourdes written twelve years after Zola’s novel, J. K. Huysmans accuses Zola not of incredulity but of failing to consider his arguments carefully enough. Huysmans was not swept away by the spectacle of Lourdes; he lamented the commercialism, deprecated the occasional hysteria, and complains about the pilgrims who gathered around the Bureau de Consultations (where purported miracles were investigated by doctors of different philosophies and faiths), acclaiming everyone who entered as a beneficiary of a cure. 14 At the same time he constantly

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

of Adolphe Retté. A onetime anarchist and debauchee, Retté’s conversion brings him many interior trials which indicate the difficulty he felt in breaking out of buffered individuality. His attempt to submit his emancipated will to the will of God leads him to experience moral weakness, the sense of being lost in the world and even personally-motivated malicious urges which drive him to attack in print J. K. Huysmans, the decadent-turned-Catholic novelist. 10 In Du Diable à Dieu Retté stands back from his former self and describes in detail the war that wages

in Catholic literature and secularisation in France and England, 1880–1914
A critical exchange between Émile Zola and Édouard Manet
Lauren S. Weingarden

photograph) or a creative re-presentation of the real? Ensnared in the painter’s play with pictorial devices, we should now ask, to what degree does Manet as the ‘analytic observer’ conform to the naturalist painter that Zola configured? Before answering this question, I would like to insert a critical vignette which mirrors the (cultural) para-iconotext that I previously defined. In J. K. Huysmans’s 1877 review of Manet’s Nana, the writer conflated the painting and novel to produce a third dimension of meaning and provocation in the social imaginary.41 The painting had

in Ekphrastic encounters
Brian Sudlow

. 180. 7 Marianne H. Chalmers, ‘Patterns of Desecularisation: A Comparison of Religious Renewal in the Works of Léon Bloy and J.-K. Huysmans’ (PhD dissertation, Reading University, 1989), p. 176. 8 Robb, The Discovery of France , p. 116. 9 Baumann, L’Immolé , 1, p. 136, and 2, p. 83. 10 Ibid ., 2, p. 94. 11 Brunetière, Cinq lettres sur Ernest Renan , p. 92. 12 Huysmans, Les Foules de Lourdes , p. 310

in Catholic literature and secularisation in France and England, 1880–1914
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Angela Carter and European Gothic
Rebecca Munford

femme fatale and her innocent victims’ ( 1986 : 22). This Gothic imagining of femininity anticipates the vilification of nature and idealisation of artificiality in the decadent Gothic of the fin de siècle – in, for example, J.-K. Huysmans’s À rebours (Against Nature) ( 1884 ) – as well as the sadistic violence and Gothic symbolism of Villiers de L’Isle-Adam’s, Contes Cruels ( Cruel Tales

in Decadent Daughters and Monstrous Mothers
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Brian Sudlow

is essential, therefore, that the leading French and English Catholic writers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries should receive some attention. In France these include the novelist, diarist and cantankerous beggar Léon Bloy, the playwright and diplomat Paul Claudel, the aesthete-turned-ascetic J. K. Huysmans and the journalist and poet Charles Péguy. On the English side, they include the journalist, essayist and poet Hilaire Belloc, the journalist, polemicist and novelist G. K. Chesterton and the Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins (a precursor

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

–236. 7 Charles Péguy, ‘L’Argent’ in Œuvres en proses complètes III , ed, by Robert Burac (Paris: Gallimard, 1992 [1913]), pp. 785–847 (p. 790). 8 Péguy, ‘Un nouveau théologien’, p. 438. 9 J. K. Huysmans, Sainte Lydwine de Schiedam (Paris: Maren Sell, 1989 [1901]), pp. 46–47. 10 Graham McMaster, Scott and Society (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981); Marcus Waithe, William Morris’s Utopia of Strangers: Victorian Medievalism and the Idea of Hospitality (Cambridge: D. S

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