Christianity in Twentieth-Century Literature Criticism: Christianity And Twentieth-Century Literature - Essay

Alfred Cismaru (essay date 1963)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Religion: A Focal Point in French Literature,” in Renascence, Vol. XVI, No. 1, Fall, 1963, pp. 42-7.

[In the following excerpt, Cismaru contends that twentieth-century French literature is deeply involved in religious issues, whether its aim is to affirm or deny the existence of God.]

The appeal of theological concepts and Christian values to the post-war reading public in France is evident in the widespread acceptance of such writers as Jacques and Raïssa Maritain, Simone Weil, Gabriel Marcel, and, of course, Claudel, Bernanos, and Mauriac. The continuing popularity of these authors is also evidence that they have captured the prevalent but often...

(The entire section is 2900 words.)

Richard J. O'Dea (essay date 1966)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Allen Tate's ‘The Cross,’” in Renascence, Vol. XVIII, No. 3, Spring, 1966, pp. 156-60.

[In the following excerpt, O'Dea explains that Allen Tate's “The Cross,” while possessing religious subject matter is not a religious poem.]

There is a place that some men know, I cannot see the whole of it Nor how I came there. Long ago Flame burst out of a secret pit Crushing the world with such a light The day-sky fell to moonless black, The kingly sun to hateful night For those, once seeing, turning back; For love so hates mortality Which is the providence of life She will not let it blessed be But curses it with mortal strife, Until beside...

(The entire section is 2419 words.)

Peter Milward, S.J. (essay date 1968)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Sacremental Symbolism in Hopkins and Eliot,” in Renascence, Vol. XX, No. 2, Winter, 1968, pp. 104-11.

[In the following excerpt, Milward compares and contrasts Hopkins and Eliot, concluding that both are representatives of Catholic Christianity though their poetic sensibilities are completely different.]

The question of the contribution of Christianity to modern English Literature is an exceedingly complex and difficult one to answer. The simplest and perhaps most satisfactory way of dealing with it is to show how the Christian faith unites the work of two poets who seem to have little in common beyond their faith and their influence on the present...

(The entire section is 3694 words.)

Doris Grumbach (essay date 1971)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Christianity and Black Writers,” in Renascence, Vol. XXIII, No. 4, Summer, 1971, pp. 198-212.

[In the following excerpt, Grumbach discusses the views of certain black authors on Christianity, concentrating on the Black Manifesto and its central point of the tremendous wealth of the white Christian Churches and synagogues in America.]

Churchmen in America were astonished when, on May 4, 1969, James Forman arrived at Riverside Church in New York City armed with a copy of the Black Manifesto, drawn up some months before by the National Black Economic Conference in Detroit. It was a shocking document, and the aim was to thrust it upon religious America...

(The entire section is 6598 words.)

James M. Kee (essay date 1990)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “‘Postmodern’ Thinking and the Status of the Religious,” in Religion & Literature, Vol. 22, Nos. 2 & 3, Summer-Autumn, 1990, pp. 47-61.

[In the following excerpt, Kee examines how postmodern critics address the historical traditions that bear witness to the mystery of the divine-human relationship.]

For many literary critics interested in the relationship between religion and literature, the theoretical developments of the last twenty-five years have appeared threatening. So-called “postmodern” critics have challenged the historical criticism which sought to establish the continuity of nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature with...

(The entire section is 5760 words.)