Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Edward Short's Newman Trilogy

Edward Short sent me this link to the T&T Clark blog about a presentation he'll be making in London this September and more information about his Newman Trilogy: Newman and His Contemporaries; Newman and His Family; and Newman and His Critics:

Edward Short on Newman and his Family, the 2nd volume in his trilogy on John Henry Newman
Edward Short will be delivering a talk intitled Newman and the Idea of Sanctity on the 5th of September, 8pm at St Wilfrid's Hall, The London Oratory, UK. Below he speaks about his second book in his trilogy on Cardinal Newman.
Newman and his Family is the second volume in my trilogy about the great priest, poet, satirist, novelist, educator, philosopher and theologian, John Henry Newman. If in the trilogy’s first volume, Newman and his Contemporaries, I looked at Newman and his friendships with Edward Pusey, John Keble, Emily Bowles, William Froude, and Lady Georgiana Fullerton, as well as his influence on such prominent Victorian figures as Thackeray, Matthew Arnold, Arthur Hugh Clough and Richard Holt Hutton, in my second book I look at Newman’s relationships with his immediate family.
These were close and complex relationships, and they were instrumental in shaping how Newman viewed not only English society in its social, intellectual, religious and moral aspects but himself and his evolving Christian faith as well. Accordingly, there are chapters on each of the parents and each of his five siblings, Charles, Frank, Harriet, Jemima and Mary. There is also a chapter on his nephew, John Rickards Mozley, with whom Newman entered into a fascinating exchange of letters in 1875. Mozley inherited something of the scepticism of late Victorian Cambridge, with, however, nagging reservations, and I discuss how in many ways he resembles other uneasy sceptics of that age—Henry Sidgwick most particularly. Then, again, I discuss how Mozley and Sidgwick corroborated Newman’s sense of the diffidence of doubt, which only strengthened his appreciation for the appeal of faith, even for those most dubious about the grounds for faith.
These are some of the intellectual and philosophical aspects of Newman’s familial relationships but in some of the other chapters, particularly those on Mary, Jemima, Harriett and Frank Newman I try to share with readers the deep love that Newman felt for his family, which, despite many trials, never wavered. In writing his mother from Lyons on his way back from the Mediterranean in July, 1833, Newman confessed how “The thought of home has brought tears in my eyes for the last two months.” The interrelated themes of home and love suffuse my book. So many of the differences that Newman experienced with his family and indeed with his contemporaries, especially after his conversion, arose as a result of conflicting ideas of home. And this, in turn, caused so much thwarted love! My book, then, as anyone familiar with the joys and sorrows of family life can see, is, in essence, a work of family history.  
Then he previews the third book that he's working on now:
Now I am at work on the third book of the trilogy, which is entitled Newman and his Critics. In this final volume, I show what an enormous debt Newsman owed his critics. After all, they forced him to defend himself, to defend his various positions on faith and reason, orthodoxy and liberalism, belief and unbelief. They put him on his mettle. Consequently, one of the underlying contentions of this final book of the trilogy is that if Newman had not done battle with so many of his contemporaries--in most cases, affable, charitable, constructive battle—he would never have become the great defender of the faith that he became. It was precisely because he spent so much time addressing those who did not share his faith—and among those we must number many in his own family—that Newman became such a compelling apologist.
The critics in my upcoming book include such lively, combative figures as Charles Kingsley and Sir James Fitzjames Stephen, as well as such former disciples as Mark Pattison and Anthony Froude. What is striking about these figures is how they hearken back to Newman’s brothers, Charles and Frank, who would never suffer their brilliant brother to persuade them of the tenability of faith, certainly not the Roman Catholic faith. In all three books, I have endeavored to show my readers that it is only by putting Newman in his immediate context, with his family and his contemporaries and his critics that we can begin to understand the full caritas and genius of the man.” 
I certainly look forward to seeing my review copy of Newman and His Family!

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