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Anglo-Catholic in Religion: T.S. Eliot and Christianity [Paperback]

By Barry Spurr Dr (Author)
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Item Number 279101  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   200
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Dec 1, 2009
Publisher   James Clarke Company
ISBN  0227679873  
EAN  9780227679876  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
This is the first major study to reveal the full extent of T.S. Eliot's Anglo-Catholic belief and the ways in which it shaped his life and work during a period of nearly forty years until his death in 1965. Spurr examines Eliot's formal adoption of Anglo-Catholicism as the culmination of his intellectual, cultural, artistic, spiritual and personal development, and offers insightful analyses of the distinct influence its doctrinal principles had on his poetry.

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More About Barry Spurr Dr

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Barry Spurr has been a member of the Sydney University English Department for more than thirty years. Publishing widely on Renaissance and Modernist poetics, his previous books include "The Word in the Desert" (1995), "Lytton Strachey" (1995), and the acclaimed "Studying Poetry "(Palgrave Macmillan 2006), now in its second edition. His next book will be on T.S. Eliot's Anglo-Catholicism.

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > Roman Catholicism   [2524  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Protestantism > Anglican   [550  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
An Indispensable work  May 4, 2010
Barry Spurr's new book is the most significant work to appear on Eliot in recent years, and the most significant on Anglo-Catholicism since Colin Stephenson's 'Merrily on High'. Spurr has succeeded in showing that the subjects of T.S. Eliot and twentieth-century Anglo-Catholicism can not properly be understood without reference to one another. This is a major achievement. Eliot scholarship will never be the same, since all future work on Eliot must now refer back to the issues treated in this book, focusing as it does on the most profound forces that shaped and were shaped by Eliot's adult life and imagination. It is difficult to understand, after reading it, how any scholar or teacher of Eliot's poetry was able, in the past, to treat the subject of Eliot's faith without recourse to such a luminous guide. Spurr has filled the last major 'gap' in Eliot scholarship. Of decisive importance is Spurr's treatment of the reasons - cultural rather than strictly religious - why Eliot, who believed in the cause of reunion with Rome, did not himself become a Roman Catholic.
Enormous Contribution to Eliot Scholarship  Apr 21, 2010
I opened this book the day it arrived and did practically nothing but read it until I came to the last page. Barry Spurr has written exactly the book I hunted to no avail for years to help me understand Eliot's particular expression of the Christian faith and his involvement with the people, organizations, and informal groupings that comprised the Anglo-Catholic movement during his lifetime.

Research libraries are well supplied with volumes bearing titles that promise some explication of the theological, ethical, and artistic implications of Eliot's reception into the Anglican Church in 1927 but which in fact probe the poet's psychology or refer even his mature faith to the interest that Indian philosophy held for him as a graduate student or, even, question the authenticity of his Anglican avowal.

As Spurr asserts with gracious restraint, even works by otherwise accomplished and insightful scholars that mention Eliot's religion tend to reveal a disappointing lack of familiarity with the distinctive features of the Anglican faith and, within it, the Anglo-Catholic expression to which Eliot was committed. Here, finally, is a book that addresses Eliot's faith commitment directly and in accurate and illuminating detail.

Spurr has created a seamless narrative that pulls together the widely scattered traces of Eliot's life in the church and places those biographical details within the historical context of the Anglo-Catholic wing of the Church of England. We understand, at last, why among all the churches in London it was St. Stephens, Gloucester Road, that attracted Eliot. We understand Eliot's motivations for commenting on ecclesiastical matters in, for example, "Thoughts after Lambeth," and "Reunion by Destruction." In the access Spurr provides to the unpublished letters of Mary Trevelyan, we come to understand Eliot as a person with a stake in matters of theology and liturgy.

Spurr has firmly established why we need to understand Eliot's religion if we care about his poetry at all. And he has provided Eliot scholarship with the means to gain that understanding, a map of Eliot's life in the church by which relationships between his formation as a Christian and his intellectual and creative development may be discerned.
More than worth the wait -- deserves ten stars  Mar 23, 2010
Even in this not-exactly-poetic age, the poetry of T. S. Eliot is quoted in many contexts and continues to work in surprising ways. In my parish alone, there are several of us (myself included) who never thought we'd find ourselves in a church in a million years -- but here we are, and although Eliot's poetry is certainly not the only influence which got us there, we have all admitted that it was definitely a factor. Yet even the best of Eliot's biographers (Lyndall Gordon included), while definitely capable of covering his complex range of relationships, seem to be out of their comfort zone when it comes to covering his religion. Professor Barry Spurr has proven himself more than able to do so in this extraordinary book. It covers Eliot's Unitarian upbringing, his philosophical studies at Harvard and Oxford, and his controversial first marriage -- but mostly it concentrates with great depth of understanding and richness of detail on the history of Anglo-Catholicism, Eliot's gradual conversion and religious practices, and the effect of all this on his work. Perhaps the only slightly off-note comes at the end, when the author quotes historian Michael Yelton as stating that most Anglo-Catholic parishes now only preserve "some externals of Catholic worship with a wishy-washy theology overlaid with glutinous sentimentality". Spurr continues: "In other words, they have become like most contemporary post-Conciliar Roman Catholic parishes in theology and liturgy." It is one thing to mourn the loss of the traditional Anglican and Roman liturgies, as Spurr does so eloquently in his earlier book (The Word in the Desert). Time does not stop, and Eliot's Anglo-Catholicism (and, for that matter, Evelyn Waugh's Roman Catholicism) is no more, that is true. Yet those of us who drive many miles to parishes which do NOT fit the above description would have preferred at least some emphasis on the continuity of the Church against all odds. But this is a minor quibble with a book which provides such timeless and essential insight into the greatest poet of the 20th century and his religious milieu -- a stunning achievement.

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