Worlds Apart (A Dialogue of the 1960's)

Worlds Apart (A Dialogue of the 1960's)

Worlds Apart (A Dialogue of the 1960's)

Worlds Apart (A Dialogue of the 1960's)

Excerpt

It began with a remark I made to Hunter, when I was visiting him at St. Peter's, where he occupies a Chair in Historical Theology and Ethics. On the way down to Camford I had been reading one of the weeklies--I think it was The Times Literary Supplement --and it had left me depressed. What struck me so forcibly, and not for the first time, was that a new book on any subject--history, philosophy, science, religion, or what have you--is always dealt with by a specialist in that subject. This may be fairest from the author's point of view, but it conveys a disagreeable impression of watertight compartments. There were of course plenty of reviews of purely literary productions. Someone had done a definitive edition of Edmund Waller, somebody else had a new angle on Byron and Shelley and their mistresses, and there was the usual crop of dreary-sounding novels. But I found these interested me less than the reviews of books on extra-literary topics, though it was the latter that depressed me so much. The trouble was this. Behind each review there lay a whole network of unspoken assumptions about the nature of the and the universe which were completely incompatible with the corresponding network behind the review on the next page. It was obvious for instance that for both the reviewer and the author of the book on Psycho-Social History and the Unconscious everything that both the reviewer and the author (with whom incidentally the reviewer violently disagreed) of the book on Demythologizing and the Synoptic Gospels took for . . .

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