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Ironies of Faith: The Laughter at the Heart of Christian Literature [Hardcover]

By Anthony Esolen (Author)
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Item description for Ironies of Faith: The Laughter at the Heart of Christian Literature by Anthony Esolen...

In Ironies of Faith, celebrated Dante scholar and translator Anthony Esolen provides a profound meditation upon the use and place of irony in Christian art and in the Christian life. Beginning with an extended analysis of irony as an essentially dramatic device, Esolen explores those manifestations of irony that appear prominently in Christian thinking and art: ironies of time (for Christians believe in divine Providence, but live in a world whose moments pass away); ironies of power (for Christians believe in an almighty God who took on human flesh, and whose “weakness” is stronger than our greatest enemy, death); ironies of love (for man seldom knows whom to love, or how, or even whom it is that in the depths of his heart he loves best); and the figure of the Child (for Christians ever hear the warning voice of their Savior, who says that unless we become like unto one of these little ones, we shall not enter the Kingdom of God).
Esolen’s finely wrought study draws from Augustine (Confessions), Dante (The Divine Comedy), Shakespeare (The Tempest), and Tolkien (“Leaf, By Niggle”); Francois Mauriac (A Kiss for the Leper), Milton (Paradise Lost), and Alessandro Manzoni (The Betrothed); the poems of George Herbert and Gerard Manley Hopkins, and Edmund Spenser (Amoretti); Charles Dickens (A Christmas Carol), Dostoyevsky (The Brothers Karamazov), and the anonymous author of the medieval poem Pearl, among other works. Readers who treasure the Christian literary tradition should not miss this illuminating book.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Intercollegiate Studies Institute
Pages   350
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.15" Width: 6.34" Height: 1.5"
Weight:   1.88 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jun 15, 2007
Publisher   Intercollegiate Studies Institute
ISBN  1933859210  
ISBN13  9781933859217  

Availability  0 units.

More About Anthony Esolen

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Professor Anthony Esolen holds a Doctorate in Renaissance English Literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a Professor of English at Providence College, located in Providence, Rhode Island. He is the translator of the celebrated three-volume Modern Library edition of Dante s Divine Comedy (Random House). He is a Senior Editor for Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity, and his articles appear regularly in First Things, Catholic World Report, Magnificat, This Rock, and Latin Mass.

Anthony Esolen has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Modern Library Classics (Mass Market)
  2. Modern Library Classics (Paperback)
  3. Politically Incorrect Guides (Paperback)

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Humanities > Religious Studies > Christianity
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about Ironies of Faith: The Laughter at the Heart of Christian Literature?

Good book, but a little hard.  Jul 30, 2008
I bought this book based on an article I read in Memoria Press' "The Classical Teacher." I really liked the article, but I'm struggling to read the book. Although I have a Master's degree, it is not in the Classics and I have not read most of the works that are discussed in this book. I find myself having to read and re-read each paragraph and I'm not sure I will be able to finish it without first reading some of the classical literature. If you haven't read much of what is referenced in the reviews, it might be best to read the works of literature to be discussed first and then buy this book. I just love the topic and I think it is a great book for anyone who is more well-read than I am. :) (Somebody let me know when "Ironies of Faith for Dummies" is released. Ha-ha.)
Nourishing read!  May 28, 2008
I first discovered this work hearing Esolen interviewed by Ken Myers. Esolen intrigued me enough to order his book right away!

This book is nourishing! Ironies of Faith is more than just about irony. It's about seeing human foibles for what they are and how goodness, truth, and beauty run to the rescue in unexpected ways. Esolen writes with a fine and enjoyable pen, with lovely turns of phrases and superb quotability.

I wish more writers had Esolen's way of seeing. His work is not disposable. It is more spiritual than most of the "spirituality" best-sellers. The Christian imagination would foster better conversation and a better world!

If you want to know what the Christian imagination really looks like, you'll find it here. I read it slowly as every page is littered with nuggets.

As an itinerant speaker and apologist, I treasure works like these that create a fountain of resource and a vision to walk into.
A scholarly scrutiny that dares to define the virtually indefinable.  Jan 5, 2008
Anthony Esolen (Professor of English, Providence College) presents Ironies of Earth: The Laughter at the Heart of Christian Literature, a thoughtful examination of irony in Christian art and life. Ironies of time, power, and love are discussed, as are the insights and interpretations of classic authors: Augustine, Dante, Shakespeare, Tolkien, Mauriac, Milton, Herbert, Hopkins, Dickens, Dostoyevsky, and the anonymous author of the medieval poem "Pearl", among others. Esolen seeks to reveal the qualities of irony that deserve more than simply being pointed out - irony has the potential to transform worldviews and even bring redemptive laughter. A scholarly scrutiny that dares to define the virtually indefinable.

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