[Milton-L] "the only great Christian writer this nation has
jamesrovira at gmail.com
Thu Jan 21 15:00:37 EST 2010
I wouldn't disagree with most of what you write below, Larry. Perhaps we
should distinguish between orthodox writers and orthodox writings?
Generalities about authors implies a predetermined judgment of their entire
creative output. Generalities about types of writing is another matter, and
still complicated, but at least allows us to deal with individual works.
On Thu, Jan 21, 2010 at 3:02 PM, Dr. Larry Gorman <larry at eastwest.edu>wrote:
> My own evaluation would differ. I don’t consider Tolkien or Lewis or
> Bunyan great imaginative writers, and I find Tolkien most interesting when
> explore the heroic rather than the Christian ethos. I’m not a big fan of
> Brecht, nor am I a communist, but I would think his orthodoxy as a writer is
> suspect. I’m not at all sure that Eliot’s writing profited from his
> orthodoxy, although perhaps orthodoxy made Ash Wednesday and The Four
> Quartets possible.
> If orthodoxy doesn’t impede or help the creative writer, it is irrelevant
> to the text, and discussing it is a form of refined gossip. When I think of
> a writer’s orthodoxy, I think of the story, not the stated belief. What I
> state seems the shell of my beliefs.
> My assumption is that orthodoxy by its very nature moves one from the
> imaginative to the doctrinaire. Religion can be more than an ideology, but
> it can and does easily degenerate. Orthodoxy is the degenerate tendency of
> religion. Religions require it: It allows them to define themselves.
> (Definitions are limiting and structuring.) Someone like Flannery O’Connor
> obviously found orthodoxy important in her own life, although she did have a
> taste for Teilhard de Chardin. But Wise Blood or The Violent Bear It
> Away—they are the products of an imagination obsessed with Christian
> images. I believe the writer when she tells me that she tried to structure
> them in an orthodox way. I don’t know that she succeeded.
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