Faith and Doubt of John Betjeman: An Anthology of Betjeman's Religious Verse Hardcover – 10 Sep 2005
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Mention in London Review of Books, 21 September 2006
'anyone who wants to have his or her eyes opened to the presence of God in ordinary life or the significance of the transient and the mundane in the light of eternity would do well to read this anthology...these poems are often movingly honest about his perplexities or his inadequacies, but in the end a hope, often against hope, remains...This selection is thoroughly to be recommended'--Sanford Lakoff "Search " --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
Kevin Gardner is Professor of English Literature at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. He is now writing a scholarly monograph on Betjeman's Christian imagination.
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Top Customer Reviews
The themes in the anthology include death, spiritual doubts and fears, belief, vanity and hypocrisy in the church and the church in society and include many of his most well-known poems including "Slough" and "Diary of a Church Mouse."
This is an excellent book for those who want to study Betjeman's religious verse or who want to read the thoughts of one whose faith was often tested and unsure but who loved the Church of England as a vital part of England.
Far from being full of gushing sentimentality, the poems in this volume cover every aspect of Betjeman's faith, including his regular periods of doubt and uncertainty, his clearly stated fear of death, and his light-hearted exposure of the vanity and hypocrisy in his beloved Church of England. These themes are, of course, offset by many of his uplifting and widely-known poems which have contributed to his popularity.
The commentary provided by Kevin Gardner is helpful and instructive. Gardner himself (a resident of Waco in Texas) is both an Associate Professor of English Literature, and also an active member of his local church, and it is perhaps natural that the book grew out of his leading a study class in his church.
For the reader of poetry who wishes to have a selection of Betjeman's most openly religious works in one volume, this book represents an ideal place to start.
Why only four stars? Just a minor quibble: of the 85 poems in the volume, all but 17 are already to be found in Betjeman's Collected Poems, so if the commentary is not so important, you may wish to buy the more comprehensive collection
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Brilliant poetry - Blame the Vicar is a classic!
Well worth reading if you like John Betjeman.
This book offers some commonplace comments on Betjeman and a group of his poems. It may certainly be helpful for those quite unfamiliar with Betjeman, unfamiliar with poetry and... Read morePublished on 25 Aug. 2012 by Sven Jahnsen
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