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Language, Faith, and Fiction
Rowan Williams explores the intricacies of speech, fiction, metaphor, and iconography in the works of one of literature's most complex, and most complexly misunderstood, authors. Williams' investigation focuses on the four major novels of Dostoevsky's maturity (Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, Devils, and The Brothers Karamozov). He argues that understanding Dostoevsky's style and goals as a writer of fiction is inseparable from understanding his religious commitments. Any reader who enters the rich and insightful world of Williams' Dostoevsky will emerge a more thoughtful and appreciative reader for it.
1 Christ against the Truth?
2 Devils: Being toward Death
3 The Last Word? Dialogue and Recognition
4 Exchanging Crosses: Responsibility for All
5 Sacrilege and Revelation: The Broken Image
"Williams’ examination of the extent to which Dostoevsky’s Orthodox context informed his work is . . . a welcome contribution to both literary and theological studies . . . . By considering the context of Eastern Orthodoxy in which Dostoevsky wrote, Williams enables the reader to look more perceptively into the depictions that emerge from Dostoevsky’s literary and religious imagination."
—David McNutt, Books & Culture, March 2010
". . . compelling and relentlessly focused . . . . [Dostoevsky] contains some of the most profound expositions of a truly spiritual existence that I have ever read."
—Roger S. Gottlieb, Tikkun, April 2009
"Combating the interpretation of Dostoevsky as preoccupied with the tension between belief and nonbelief, he argues the work is first and foremost a direct reflection of Dostoevsky's personal faith.... Recommended."
"This book is not at all what one expects it to be. Over five bold and compelling chaptesr, Rowan Williams performs a tour-de-force reading of Dostoevsky's major novels. Eschewing any easy or safe answers, Williams brings an impressive command of the critical and scholarly literature to bear on crucial matters of interpretation, on the theory of narratie, and on religion and literature. The result is a book that deserves to be read both by general readers and by specialists in a number of disciplines."
—Robert Bird, University of Chicago, Journal of Religion 2010 (90:3)
"After reading Williams’ book, we return to Dostoevsky with new insight on what it means to be human."
—N. T. Wright, Bishop of Durham
"Rowan Williams, archbishop of Canterbury... has produced what is to date certainly one of the finest books on Dostoevsky's religious vision. Brilliantly, Williams demonstrates the connection between this vision, yes, even faith, and the art that Dostoevsky created."
—Logos: A Journal of Eastern Christian Studies 50 (2009)
"Williams himself has presented a uniquely important and effective apologetic for the depth and timeliness of Dostoevsky's religious vision,especially where English-speaking theology is concerned, since this tradition (whether Roman Catholic or Protestant) has been remarkably slowto appreciate the rich theological resource represented by Dostoevsky's novels."
—Bruce Ward, Pro Ecclesia
Rowan Williams (Ph.D. Wadham College, Oxford) is the Archbishop of Canterbury. Having received his D. Phil. From Oxford, he held a variety of academic posts in Oxford and Cambridge, before leaving the Lady Margaret Professorship of Divinity at Oxford to be successfully Bishop of Monmouth and the Archbishop of Wales. He has published 12 books, including, most recently, Why Study the Past? (2005)Poems (2002), and Writing in the Dust: Reflections on the 11th September and Its Aftermath (2002).
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Other books by:
Books in Series:
The Making of the Christian Imagination
Betjeman - Writing the Public Life
Chesterton - The Nightmare Goodness of God
The Devil as Muse - Blake, Byron, and the Adversary
Dostoevsky - Language, Faith, and Fiction
George MacDonald - Divine Carelessness and Fairytale Levity
The Novel as Church - Preaching to Readers in Contemporary Fiction
Redemption in Poetry and Philosophy - Wordsworth, Kant, and the Making of the Post-Christian Imagination