[Milton-L] "the only great Christian writer this nation has produced"

James Rovira 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.

Jim R

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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