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

Wilfred Louis Guerin (essay date 1962)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Christian Myth and Naturalistic Deity: The Great Gatsby,” in Renascence, Vol. XIV, No. 2, Winter, 1962, pp. 80-9.

[In the following excerpt, Guerin examines Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, focusing on the novel's two patterns of symbolism wherein Fitzgerald contrasts both the East with West and Christian myth with naturalistic deity.]

Although two patterns of symbolism carry the major portion of the theme of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, only one has received adequate attention. That pattern contrasts the American East with the West and Mid-West; the other concerns a grail quest in a waste land, over which presides a...

(The entire section is 4745 words.)

Robert T. Denommé (essay date 1963)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “The Viper's Tangle: Relative and Absolute Values,” in Renascence, Vol. XVIII, No. 1, Autumn, 1963, pp. 32-9.

[In the following excerpt, Denommé examines Mauriac's The Viper's Tangle, contending that it is not a novel concerned with relative values but rather a work concerned with absolutes and ideals.]

When Jean-Paul Sartre published his critical appraisal of François Mauriac's La Fin de la nuit (The End of Night) in the February, 1939 issue of La Nouvelle Revue Française, he berated the novelist for restricting the freedom of his characters by assuming the role of the omniscient author. Because Mauriac imposed a fixed...

(The entire section is 3980 words.)

Leo J. Hertzel (essay date 1964)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “The Look of Religion: Hemingway and Catholicism,” in Renascence, Vol. XVII, No. 2, Winter, 1964, pp. 77-81.

[In the following excerpt, Hertzel discusses how Hemingway's extensive knowledge of Catholicism can be found in his work even though his fiction has no supernatural dimension.]

No one can deny that Ernest Hemingway writes of modern despair. Cleanth Brooks in The Hidden God, a recent study of modern writers, says: “The Hemingway hero finds in the universe no sanctions for goodness; he sees through what are for him the great lying abstract words, like glory, patriotism, and honor; and he has found that the institutions that...

(The entire section is 2087 words.)

Richard J. O'Dea (essay date 1968)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Faulkner's Vestigal Christianity,” in Renascence, Vol. XXI, No. 1, Autumn, 1968, pp. 44-54.

[In the following excerpt, O'Dea proposes that Faulkner's Christianity is seen through his emphasis on Christian virtues rather than in dogmatic statements or symbols.]

In the dark woods of the modern novel, Faulkner is one of the few novelists who writes from a perspective of hope. He writes of violence, of human stupidity, of cruelty, of greed, of a brooding sense of evil in the universe, but in the midst of all this dark turmoil gleams a light, a hope that although most men fail, yet they are not doomed to failure and that in spite of all their petty vices and...

(The entire section is 5255 words.)

Sister Sheila Houle, B.V.M. (essay date 1970)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “The Subjective Theological Vision of Graham Greene,” in Renascence, Vol. XXIII, No. 1, Autumn, 1970, pp. 3-13.

[In the following excerpt, Houle argues that Graham Green's theological fixation weakens his novels and short stories.]

In his essay on Henry James in The Lost Childhood and Other Essays, Graham Greene writes: “In all writers there occurs a moment of crystallization when the dominant theme is plainly expressed, when the private universe becomes visible even to the least sensitive reader.” In 1953, when interviewed by reporters from the Paris Review, Greene made a similar remark about himself: “Every creative writer worth...

(The entire section is 5403 words.)

R. V. Young (essay date 1987)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Catholic Science Fiction and the Comic Apocalypse: Walker Percy and Walter Miller,” in Renascence, Vol. XL, No. 2, Winter, 1987, pp. 95-110.

[In the following excerpt, Young compares and contrasts the work of Walker Percy and Walter Miller, contending that both have authored science-fiction novels in the sense that science fiction deals with the effects of science on the human condition.]

According to one prominent science fiction writer, science and technology together constitute the “dominant” object of worship of the modern world. “To put it simply,” he remarks, “science is a god-thing: omniscient, omnipotent, master of that terrible trinity...

(The entire section is 6460 words.)

Robert A. Kantra (essay date 1992)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Undenominational Satire: Chesterton and Lewis Revisited,” in Religion & Literature, Vol. 24, No. 1, Spring, 1992, pp. 33-57.

[In the following excerpt, Kantra examines G. K. Chesterton and C. S. Lewis, concentrating on their roles as religious satirists and Christian apologists.]

The intricate affinities of G. K. Chesterton and C. S. Lewis are nowadays often mentioned though still undefined. In the always unfinished business of literary theory, among proponents of religion and literature, and between religion or literature, Chesterton and Lewis can be seen to provoke much dysfunctional sympathy. I have been pondering anew what looks like...

(The entire section is 10716 words.)

John J. Murphy (essay date 1992)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Willa Cather and the Literature of Christian Mystery,” in Religion & Literature, Vol. 24, No. 3, Autumn, 1992, pp. 39-56.

[In the following excerpt, Murphy discusses Willa Cather and her belief in literature filled with mystery, free of “literalness.”]

Contemporary literary climates seem alien to what I have to say about the writings of Willa Cather. There is a presumption of universal disbelief. The author of a recent book I was asked to review on rhetorical strategies of reticence in selected women novelists begins with the premise that the notion of silence as “a divine meaning surpassing and enfolding ours … has about it a ring of pious...

(The entire section is 7819 words.)