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Anglo-Catholic in Religion: T.S. Eliot and Christianity Paperback – 25 Feb 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 340 pages
  • Publisher: Lutterworth Press (25 Feb. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718830733
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718830731
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 1.8 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 563,398 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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"Spurr takes us on a wonderful journey to discover the byways, varieties, glories and contradictions of a brand of Anglicanism" --Times Literary Supplement, January 9, 2011

"Spurr's book is comprehensively excellent on the nature and history of twentieth century Anglo-Catholicism" --The Glass, Spring 2011

"the historical detail of Spurr's study that makes it essential reading for anyone interested in the sources of Eliot's religious belief and practice." --Commonweal, November 5, 2010

"TS Eliot certainly needs contextualising as a 20th century religious and specifically Anglo-Catholic poet...Spurr's superb study certainly succeeds in this respect." --The Melbourne Anglican, November 2010

"the reader finishes with a wish to go back to the writing itself - a compliment to a specialised and closely organised survey such as this."
--The Expository Times, October 2010

"Spurr has produced a scholarly and engaging book that sharpens and defines our understanding of Eliot's relationship with Christianity."
--Journal of Religious History, June, 2011

"Eliot once said, "I believe that all our problems turn out ultimately to be a religious problem" (p.175). Spurr demonstrates convincingly that Eliot believed what he said and also believed that his version of Anglicanism offered the best solution to those problems. Spurr's lucid, well-researched, judicious book should be prized by anyone who wants a better understanding of Eliot's complex religious views and the profound influence they had on his writings."
--Henry Hart, Anglican Theological Review, Vol 93:3

''Anglo-Catholic in Religion': T. S. Eliot and Christianity is a detailed and informative study [...] Spurr examines and elucidates 'the genesis, development and character of Eliot's Christianity and concludes that we cannot fully appreciate Eliot's work 'until we have learnt of his faith, the ground of his being.''
--Modernist Cultures, Vol 6, No 1, May 2011. Jeremy Diaper, University of Birmingham.

`There can be no doubt about it...this study of T.S. Eliot and Christianity by Barry Spurr is quite the best book on the man and his work that has yet appeared.'
--Peter Milward, The Heythrop Journal, vol 52, issue 6, Nov 2011

Much has been said about Eliot's religion, and sometimes by scholars who are sympathetic to his belief, but what
has been lacking is a comprehensive explanation of Anglo-
Catholic history, doctrine, practice, and culture. That
need is now met by Barry Spurr's "Anglo-Catholic in Religion":
T. S. Eliot and Christianity, and it is hard to imagine
that anyone could have done this essential work better.
The book is very welcome indeed...Having described Eliot's religious milieu, Spurr is able to explicate many of his writings in new and convincing ways...This is the kind of book that stimulates further work rather than foreclosing it.
--Ben Lockerd in 'Time Present' No. 73

'Spurr attends patiently to the specificities of the Anglo-Catholic movement as they inform Eliot's work - aspects that scholars have tended to ignore or misunderstand.... With aplomb, Spurr makes the comparatively subtle differences between Anglo-Catholicism in its early-twentieth-century heyday and contemporary Protestantism, Anglicanism, and Catholicism visible.... The later narrative chapters are invaluable.... Spurr offers a vivid portrait of Eliot's devotional life...[his] most compelling point may be his account of the emphasis of Anglo-Catholic devotion.... Having established Eliot as a poet of the incarnation, Spurr descends into brilliant readings of "Ash-Wednesday", The Rock, and Murder in the Cathedral, revealing their peculiar dependence on Anglo-Catholic practice. --John Xiros Cooper in Journal of Historical Biography Vol.9

Spurr s book is comprehensively excellent on the nature and history of twentieth century Anglo-Catholicism, on Eliot s reputation as an Anglo-Catholic, his observance of its practices, his associations within Anglo-Catholic circles, and its expressions in his creative work... [...] Spurr s study elucidates the history of Anglo-Catholicism, its differences from Roman Catholicism and from Protestant traditions. --Roger Kojecký, The Glass, Number 23, Spring 2011

About the Author

Barry Spurr is Associate Professor of English Literature in the University of Sydney. He has published extensively on Renaissance and Modernist poetry, religious literature and liturgical language. He is the author of books on studying poetry, Lytton Strachey's prose, poetry about the Virgin Mary and Anglican and Roman Catholic liturgical language reform (The Word in the Desert, The Lutterworth Press, 1995).

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By M. Friesenegger on 6 May 2010
Format: Paperback
In his latest book, Barry Spurr articulately explores the cultural, religious and liturgical milieu of the Anglo Catholicism of the 20th century, to which T.S. Eliot became attached. This ground breaking and definitive work provides deep insight into Eliot's life and poetry, and the influence of Anglo Catholicism on these. Spurr's expert and intimate knowledge of his subject matter is endlessly illuminating and fills a long-standing gap in the corpus of Eliotean scholarship.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Shortie Chapman on 15 July 2010
Format: Paperback
Spurr has pushed the boundaries in this study of T. S. Eliot's work in light of the poet's conversion to Anglo-Catholicism in the 1920's. However, Spurr does not stop at a depiction Eliot's own religious beliefs, instead exploring the larger impact on his personal life and, perhaps most importantly, his poetry.

This sympathetic and thoroughly-researched study means that Spurr has produced an unrivalled analysis of Eliot's place in religion, or perhaps religion's place in Eliot. Spurr manages to document the impact of Anglo-Catholicism on Eliot without reverting to criticism or moralisation, and this book is far from just being a literary guide for the Christian faith. An essential book for those willing to look past Eliot's literary legacy and explore his work in a spiritual and religious light.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Omnes Dicunt on 27 July 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a book which you CAN judge by its cover. In a lavish and detailed text, Spurr has provided a comprehensive and accurate study of Anglo-Catholicism as the foundation of Eliot's mature life and work. It is clearly the product of a professional lifetime's immersion in and love of Eliot's work combined with an exact knowledge of the intricacies and ambiguities of Eliot's chosen religious allegiance. While the focus is naturally upon Eliot, the book is also a marvellous narrative of how the Anglo-Catholic movement captured the imagination and enthusiasm of so many over several generations in the middle of the twentieth century. It is, therefore, both an illuminating literary study and a valuable historical resource.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By nonstop on 16 Oct. 2014
Format: Paperback
Spurr's book is a vacuous account full of mysogyny, racism, and ugly pillory of respected artists and leaders.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 6 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
More than worth the wait -- deserves ten stars 23 Mar. 2010
By D. Kovacs - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Even in this not-exactly-poetic age, the poetry of T. S. Eliot is quoted in many contexts and continues to work in surprising ways. In my parish alone, there are several of us (myself included) who never thought we'd find ourselves in a church in a million years -- but here we are, and although Eliot's poetry is certainly not the only influence which got us there, we have all admitted that it was definitely a factor. Yet even the best of Eliot's biographers (Lyndall Gordon included), while definitely capable of covering his complex range of relationships, seem to be out of their comfort zone when it comes to covering his religion. Professor Barry Spurr has proven himself more than able to do so in this extraordinary book. It covers Eliot's Unitarian upbringing, his philosophical studies at Harvard and Oxford, and his controversial first marriage -- but mostly it concentrates with great depth of understanding and richness of detail on the history of Anglo-Catholicism, Eliot's gradual conversion and religious practices, and the effect of all this on his work. This book provides timeless and essential insight into the greatest poet of the 20th century and his religious milieu that can't be found elsewhere -- a stunning achievement.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Enormous Contribution to Eliot Scholarship 21 April 2010
By K. Achar - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I opened this book the day it arrived and did practically nothing but read it until I came to the last page. Barry Spurr has written exactly the book I hunted to no avail for years to help me understand Eliot's particular expression of the Christian faith and his involvement with the people, organizations, and informal groupings that comprised the Anglo-Catholic movement during his lifetime.

Research libraries are well supplied with volumes bearing titles that promise some explication of the theological, ethical, and artistic implications of Eliot's reception into the Anglican Church in 1927 but which in fact probe the poet's psychology or refer even his mature faith to the interest that Indian philosophy held for him as a graduate student or, even, question the authenticity of his Anglican avowal.

As Spurr asserts with gracious restraint, even works by otherwise accomplished and insightful scholars that mention Eliot's religion tend to reveal a disappointing lack of familiarity with the distinctive features of the Anglican faith and, within it, the Anglo-Catholic expression to which Eliot was committed. Here, finally, is a book that addresses Eliot's faith commitment directly and in accurate and illuminating detail.

Spurr has created a seamless narrative that pulls together the widely scattered traces of Eliot's life in the church and places those biographical details within the historical context of the Anglo-Catholic wing of the Church of England. We understand, at last, why among all the churches in London it was St. Stephens, Gloucester Road, that attracted Eliot. We understand Eliot's motivations for commenting on ecclesiastical matters in, for example, "Thoughts after Lambeth," and "Reunion by Destruction." In the access Spurr provides to the unpublished letters of Mary Trevelyan, we come to understand Eliot as a person with a stake in matters of theology and liturgy.

Spurr has firmly established why we need to understand Eliot's religion if we care about his poetry at all. And he has provided Eliot scholarship with the means to gain that understanding, a map of Eliot's life in the church by which relationships between his formation as a Christian and his intellectual and creative development may be discerned.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
An Indispensable work 4 May 2010
By S. Mcinerney - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Barry Spurr's new book is the most significant work to appear on Eliot in recent years, and the most significant on Anglo-Catholicism since Colin Stephenson's 'Merrily on High'. Spurr has succeeded in showing that the subjects of T.S. Eliot and twentieth-century Anglo-Catholicism can not properly be understood without reference to one another. This is a major achievement. Eliot scholarship will never be the same, since all future work on Eliot must now refer back to the issues treated in this book, focusing as it does on the most profound forces that shaped and were shaped by Eliot's adult life and imagination. It is difficult to understand, after reading it, how any scholar or teacher of Eliot's poetry was able, in the past, to treat the subject of Eliot's faith without recourse to such a luminous guide. Spurr has filled the last major 'gap' in Eliot scholarship. Of decisive importance is Spurr's treatment of the reasons - cultural rather than strictly religious - why Eliot, who believed in the cause of reunion with Rome, did not himself become a Roman Catholic.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
An astonishing book. 11 Oct. 2010
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Anglo-Catholic in Religion: T.S. Eliot and Christianity is one of the most remarkable book I have ever read. It brims with respect and love of Christianity and a wonderful admiration of T.S. Eliot.
I am now consuming the poems and essays of Eliot with a deep level of understanding and joy.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Anglo-Catholicism and T.S. Eliot 9 Oct. 2010
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
New look at the influences on Eliot's work. His faith was the single greatest influence on his later work and others have just mentioned it in passing or gotten it completely wrong. Good job.
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