John Henry Newman

Ian Ker

in The Oxford Handbook of English Literature and Theology

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780199544486
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191727429 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

John Henry Newman

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This article argues that Newman was a minor poet and novelist, but one of the great writers of non-fictional prose, whose real literary achievement is to be compared with such Victorian contemporaries as Carlyle, Arnold, and Ruskin. The Oxford Companion to English Literature, therefore, by shying away from the theological writings and concentrating on the overtly literary Newman, succeeds in almost totally missing the point. In particular, Newman was one of the greatest controversialists in English literature, whose satirical writings are also ignored by the Companion. The only literary influence he himself ever acknowledged was that of the Roman orator Cicero, whose rhetoric and satire he paid tribute to. Even the Apologia, which unusually – with one exception – avoids controversy and polemic, is to a considerable extent the record of past controversies and is abundantly documented with copious quotations from controversial and polemical writings.

Keywords: Protestant England; John Henry Newman; satirical writings; Cicero; Apologia

Article.  8156 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Religious Studies ; Christianity ; Philosophy of Religion

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