Tending the Heart of Virtue
"Not since Chesterton have we seen such an open, affectionate, and brilliant analysis of fairy and fantasy tales. For parents, teachers, and clergy, here is a theological perspective on Beauty, Beast, Pinocchio, Bambi, Narnia, the Velveteen Rabbit (among others)--all as...
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"Not since Chesterton have we seen such an open, affectionate, and brilliant analysis of fairy and fantasy tales. For parents, teachers, and clergy, here is a theological perspective on Beauty, Beast, Pinocchio, Bambi, Narnia, the Velveteen Rabbit (among others)--all as seedlings in growing a child's garden of morals and virtues. It is a fresh, embracing, and enlightening view, and, I might add, long overdue."-- Jim Trelease, author of The Read-Aloud Handbook "Vigen Guroian's Tending the Heart of Virtue is a lucid, illuminating, and timely interpretation of the classics of children's literature. At a time when children are continuously assaulted by stories and products churned out by the morally vacuous purveyors of pop culture, Guroian reminds us just how essential great stories are in developing the human soul. Unlike many of the 'back to virtue' books on the market today, this study does not promote tales which are sentimental, didactic, or merely conventional. Rather, Guroian demonstrates that the best children's stories combine an almost mystical love of goodness with a high degree of dramatic realism. Here is a book that will not only evoke memories of beloved childhood reading experiences, but also spur us on ( as parents, teachers, and friends) to share these stories with the children we know and love."--Gregory Wolfe, coauthor of Books That Build Character "This is a book written primarily for parents, though it may be read with prophet by others. It builds upon and answers to current interest in moral education and the rearing of children. And certainly, for parents looking for ideas about where to start reading to their children, Tending the Heart of Virtue will prove a good place to begin."--The University Bookman
As the popularity of William Bennett'sBook of Virtuesattests, parents are turning more and more to children's literature to help instill values in their kids. Now, in this elegantly written and passionate book, Vigen Guroian provides the perfect complement to books such as Bennett's, offering parents and teachers a much-needed roadmap to some of our finest children's stories.
Guroian illuminates the complex ways in which fairy tales and fantasies educate the moral imagination from earliest childhood. Examining a wide range of stories--from "Pinocchio" and "The Little Mermaid" to "Charlotte's Web," "The Velveteen Rabbit," "The Wind in the Willows," and the "Chronicles of Narnia"--he argues that these tales capture the meaning of morality through vivid depictions of the struggle between good and evil, in which characters must make difficult choices between right and wrong, or heroes and villains contest the very fate of imaginary worlds. Character and the virtues are depicted compellingly in these stories; the virtues glimmer as if in a looking glass, and wickedness and deception are unmasked of their pretensions to goodness and truth. We are made to face the unvarnished truth about ourselves, and what kind of people we want to be.
Throughout, Guroian highlights the classical moral virtues such as courage, goodness, and honesty, especially as they are understood in traditional Christianity. At the same time, he so persuasively evokes the enduring charm of these familiar works that many readers will be inspired to reread their favorites and explore those they may have missed.
Vigen Guroian (Ph.D., Drew University) is a permanent Senior Fellow of the Russell Kirk Center and professor of religious studies in Orthodox Christianity at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville. Previously he was Professor of Theology and Ethics at Loyola College in Baltimore, Maryland. His many books include The Fragrance of God; Inheriting Paradise and Incarnate Love: Essays in Orthodox Ethics. His most recent release in 2010 was The Melody of Faith: Theology in an Orthodox Key.
Koorong -Editorial Review.