(Janet Miriam) Taylor (Holland) Caldwell Charles Lee - Essay

Charles Lee

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Spacious, alive with the bustle of ancient times and places, and illumined by flashes of genuine lyrical intensity, "Dear and Glorious Physician" is the product of an obsession that has challenged Miss Caldwell's talents for more than forty years….

Armed both with insight and erudition, she movingly reconstructs St. Luke's search for God, universalizing his anguish for troubled men everywhere. With her we live his childhood, meet his family and friends, participate in his extraordinary education, admire his Apollonian beauty and his athletic prowess. We discover the amazing world of ancient medicine; we see him suffer evil and loss, and then, in torments of rage and pity, arrive at an affirmation of faith. In Miss Caldwell's resurrective prose St. Luke lives in his journeys both inward and outward; he lives as physician, son, wanderer, lover—and as a maker of miracles, all of them palpitatingly described. Finally, and this is the author's ultimate purpose, he lives as a tower of spiritual strength.

Miss Caldwell's novel hums with the activities of the older world…. The one serious complaint that many readers are likely to make is that the author's political observations are too strident, too frequent and too loaded with contemporary implications. But none can deny that she has written with unusual passion and success.

Charles Lee, "Inspired Apostle," in The New York Times Book Review (© 1959 by The New York Times Company; reprinted by permission), March 15, 1959, p. 34.