Magazine article First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

Ironies of Faith: The Laughter at the Heart of Christian Literature

Magazine article First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

Ironies of Faith: The Laughter at the Heart of Christian Literature

Article excerpt

IRONIES OF FAITH: THE LAUGHTER AT THE HEART OF CHRISTIAN LITERATURE by Anthony Esolen ISI, 412 pages, $18 (paper)

With his newest book, the distinguished Dante translator Anthony Esolen has produced a respectable work that also has a devotional effect on its readers. Although it shows his keen understanding of a range of works and displays his precise and elegant use of language, Esolen is primarily writing for the sake of instruction, and so he leads his readers by example to a place where Christian humility and love are the guides of interpretation.

The result is a study of irony that excavates the scriptural influences and theological truths at the heart of several literary works, from Augustine, Shakespeare, and Milton, to Dickens, Tolkien, and Dostoyevsky. …

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