If you’ll remember last week I mentioned that you can’t read a fiction book with the expectation that it’s going to teach you something. Literature’s job isn’t to teach. And yet, inevitably, when it’s a good book, we learn something.
This is the second part of Fr. Gardiner’s work, he’s talking about good literature now. Not good Catholic literature. Not that what he says is the Catholic definition of what good literature is. Just. His opinion on literature.
As we’ve been making our way through the first half of the book – on how to judge a book – I thought it only fitting to move through Gardiner’s ideas on the Principles that make up good literature. He wrote the piece with the intention, at least in part, to prove that western tradition has not died out. He wrote this in 1946, and I can’t help but nod in agreement. Indeed, what they were saying then, is what they are saying now. Is western tradition dying out? Is it a lost cause in our literature?
Believe me, there are times when I am tempted to nod in whole hearted agreement! Yes!
But that wouldn’t be honest. My own opinion on the matter, is that it isn’t lost. Maybe buried sometimes, but not lost.
I’m postulating here – totally making it up – and you shouldn’t attribute any of what I am saying to Fr. Gardiner, S.J.
But see, if the western tradition is tied to Christianity and The Church…and if The Church was founded by Jesus…then…
See where I’m going here?
Is the western tradition sometimes attacked? Yep.
But will it flounder and shrivel up and die? Nope.
Back to Gardiner.
According to him, western tradition is
the force and vigor of Catholic letters, and in them is carried on the common body of principles, the common approach to criticism held by Catholic authors and readers alike.
We’re going to look, over the next couple of weeks, how:
Art is a Moral Activity
Literature is Fundamentally Religious
Art as Inspiration
Art a Means of Charity
I can’t wait! See you next Wednesday!