Criticism As Dialogue
Walter Stein is a 'radical Christian humanist' - a term which he defines in his opening chapter. His aim is to test this standpoint in 'dialogue' with liberal humanist or Marxist approaches to literature and in relation to the great issues which literature embodies. The restatement is called for by the work of recent critics (such as Leavis) who insist that criticism is inevitably stultified by premature dogmatizing. Conceding this, Stein replies that in the end one does have to say what one lives by and judge accordingly. Thus every reader has to evolve an attitude towards tragedy, for here ultimate questions are posed, and must be faced. The book argues that there can be a specifically Christian attitude to tragedy. This is a thoughtful and original book. It is strenuous but rewarding, an important restatement of a classic point of view.
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