Chesterton: The Nightmare Goodness of God
: The literary giant G. K. Chesterton is often praised as the "Great Optimist"-God's rotund jester. In this fresh and daring endeavor, Ralph Wood turns a critical eye on Chesterton's corpus to reveal the beef-and-ale believer's darker vision of the...
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The literary giant G. K. Chesterton is often praised as the "Great Optimist"-God's rotund jester. In this fresh and daring endeavor, Ralph Wood turns a critical eye on Chesterton's corpus to reveal the beef-and-ale believer's darker vision of the world and those who live in it. During an age when the words grace, love, and g ospel, sound more hackneyed than genuine, Wood argues for a recovery of Chesterton's primary contentions: First, that the incarnation of Jesus was necessary reveals a world full not of a righteous creation but of tragedy, terror, and nightmare, and second, that the problem of evil is only compounded by a Christianity that seeks progress, political control, and cultural triumph.
Wood's sharp literary critique moves beyond formulaic or overly pious readings to show that, rather than fleeing from the ghoulish horrors of his time, Chesterton located God's mysterious goodness within the existence of evil. Chesterton seeks to reclaim the keen theological voice of this literary authority who wrestled often with the counterclaims of paganism. In doing so, it argues that Christians may have more to learn from the unbelieving world than is often supposed.
Ralph C. Wood (Ph.D. University of Chicago) is University Professor of Theology and Literature at Baylor University, Waco, Texas. He serves as an editor-at-large for the Christian Century and as a member of the editorial board for the Flannery O'Connor Review.
His books include The Comedy of Redemption: Christian Faith and Comic Vision in Four American Novelists, The Gospel according to Tolkien: Visions of the Kingdom in Middle-earth, Contending for the Faith: The Church's Engagement with Culture, Flannery O'Connor and the Christ-Haunted South, and most recently Preaching and Professing: Sermons by a Teacher Seeking to Proclaim the Gospel .
His latest award is the Mary Ann Remick Visiting Fellowship, Center for Ethics and Culture, University of Notre Dame, where he is writing a book on G. K. Chesterton's Aesthetics and P. D. James's mystery novels during the academic year 2007-2008.
Koorong -Editorial Review.
- :<p>introduction</p><p>1. Man As Holy Monster: Christian Humanism, Evolution, And <i>orthodoxy</i></p><p>2. Patriotism And The True <i>patria</i>: Distributism, Hymns, And <i>christendom In Dublin</i></p><p>3. Militarism And The Church Militant: <i>lepanto</i>, Defense Of World War I, And "the Truce Of Christmas"</p><p>4. The Waning Of The West And The Threat Of Islam: <i>the New Jerusalem</i> And <i>the Flying Inn</i></p><p>5. Tyrannical Tolerance And Ferocious Hospitality: <i>the Ball And The Cross</i></p><p>6. The Bane And Blessing Of Civilization: Torture, Democracy, And <i>the Ballad Of The White Horse</i></p><p>7. The Nightmare Mystery Of Divine Action: <i>the Man Who Was Thursday</i></p>