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« Beginning once again (or, Book Three and One Half, Now in Process) | Main | Secularization narratives and historical fiction »

August 24, 2014


Karen Lofstrom

I've been on a Charlotte Yonge re-reading binge lately. She is a Catholic novelist, of a sort -- High Church. She does not prooftext. Many of her characters start out careless about religion and eventually realize that High Church Anglicanism is DA BOMB ... but they do so not by reading the Bible, but by interacting with the good characters, whose daily lives demonstrate the loveliness of religion. There is a persistent sub-theme, an echo of The Heir of Redclyffe, in which characters who SEEM to be devotedly religious reveal themselves to have missed the whole point. They are self-righteous, unpleasant and mistake outward observances for real yearning to grow in love.

I like her books ... even though I'm a Zen Buddhist and find her classism, sexism, racism, militarism, and xenophobia off-putting. That aside, she's spot-on about the extent to which we deceive ourselves as to our own character.

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