Graduation Year

2007

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

English

Major Professor

John Fleming, Ph.D.

Keywords

William James, Liberal Christianity, Roman Catholic modernism, Methodism, Religious novel

Abstract

A comparison between Ware, Forbes, and Soulsby from The Damnation of Theron Ware provides a glimpse into one aspect of the theological upheaval of the time. A comparison between Ware, Forbes, and Algarcife, from Phases of an Inferior Planet, however, hearkens forward to the alienation and questioning of identity so much a part of the Twentieth Century. By viewing Ware as a foil for Forbes and Soulsby in tandem with Algarcife, a more complete picture of the transition between nineteenth and twentieth-century religion and theology may be found. Understanding the encounter between the traditional and the liberal clergy requires a close examination of the way Ware, Forbes, Soulsby, and Algarcife interact with religions and theologies and adjust their actions in order to maintain the balance between the two, and how each character's interaction with the figure of the aesthete aids in the negotiation. Ware cannot aspire to the erudition of scholars like Forbes and Algarcife, nor is he able to understand the aestheticism, the "art for art," of Madden, from Damnation, and Musin, from Phases. He is unable to maintain a dogmatic theology in the service of religion like Soulsby. He is an anachronism, caught between centuries, caught between two religious, theological, and aesthetic historical moments.

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