essays and reviews
essays and reviews
The heart of the book is Benjamin Jowett’s piece вЂњOn the Interpretation of Scripture.вЂќ Jowett, later master of Balliol College, Oxford, argued that the Bible ought to be read like any other book–in other words, our aim ought to be to recover the authors’ original meaning within their own context and not to expect that Genesis will accord with Newtonian astronomy. His suggestion that New Testament writers had changed the meaning of passages from the Psalms that appear in the Epistles radically implied that divine inspiration had nothing to do with their creative process. He added that Christians ought no longer to ignore the work of the nineteenth-century critics, but to welcome it. The вЂњhigherвЂќ critics, mostly Germans, had sought to confirm the events narrated in the Bible from independent sources–which implies, obviously, that the Bible’s accuracy can be doubted. All this had been said before, by those outside the Church; but these essayists were making the same arguments from inside the Church.
Left: Dean Liddell . Middle: Frederick Templet . Right: Benjamin Jowett . All three courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, London. [Click on images to enlarge them and for more information about them.]
As a reviewer Poe was direct, discriminating, and feared; as an essayist he was alert to any possibility that in literature there might be found a sense of unity missing from life. This volume restores an essential and often neglected part of our literary heritage.
This is the most complete one-volume edition of Poe’s essays and reviews ever published. Here are all his major writings on the theory of poetry, the art of fiction, and the duties of a critic: “The Rationale of Verse,” “The Philosophy of Composition,” “The Poetic Principle,” and “About Critics and Criticism.” Articulating Poe’s passion for technical proficiency and his theory of poetic method, these essays show why he so strongly influenced the French symbolists toward the end of nineteenth century and, through them, the poetry of T. S. Eliot and Hart Crane.
Although many historians and literary critics have identified Essays and Reviews as a pivotal text of high Victorianism, until now it has been almost inaccessible to modern readers. This first critical edition, edited by Victor Shea and William Whitla, provides extensive annotation to map the various positions on the controversies that the book provoked. The editors place the volume in its complex social context and supply commentary, background materials, composition and publishing history, textual notes, and a broad range of new supporting documents, including material from the trials, manifestos, satires, and contemporary illustrations.
Essays and Reviews is a collection of seven articles that appeared in 1860, sparking a Victorian culture war that lasted for at least a decade. With pieces written by such prominent Oxford and Cambridge intellectuals as Benjamin Jowett, Mark Pattison, Baden Powell, and Frederick Temple (later archbishop of Canterbury), the volume engaged the relations between religious faith and current topics of the day in education, the classics, theology, science, history, literature, biblical studies, hermeneutics, philology, politics, and philosophy. Upon publication, the church, the university, the press, the government, and the courts, both ecclesiastical and secular, joined in an intense dispute. The book signaled an intellectual and religious crisis, raised influential issues of free speech, and questioned the authority and control of the Anglican Church in Victorian society. The collection became a best-seller and led to three sensational heresy trials.
Rev. Baden Powell popularizes new understandings about the earth’s real history.
From “The Ascent of Science” (1998, Oxford University Press) by Brian L. Silver – (ISBN 0-19-511699-2 – Page 284):
“It is often forgotten that, at the time, not everybody regarded Darwin as the spearhead of the threat to faith. A couple of months after The Origin came out, a collection of articles on religion appeared, entitled Essays and Reviews (1860). Written almost entirely by Anglican clergymen, this adopted a very liberal stance. Miracles were downplayed and reason lauded. The uproar was, if anything, more impassioned than the response to Darwin. The Church was being attacked from within. Unsuccessful attempts were made to have the authors prosecuted for heresy”
Quite properly, like several of Dyer’s quixotically stoned adventures, this book seems constructed as a vague quest. You move through the unusually lit rooms of the author’s fascinations – with photographers ranging from Larry Burrows to Martin Parr – through “verbals” (including two pre-Out of Sheer Rage essays on Lawrence, which incongruously find Dyer in somewhat restrained and anonymous voice); you get to hear further improvised jazz themes, which pick up where Dyer’s sketchily definitive lives of the bebop artists, But Beautiful, left off, and you end up fully in the company of the author himself.
Geoff Dyer: ‘He is the arriviste who would have you believe he has never arrived.’ Photograph: Eamonn McCabe