Great Works of Western Literature Infused with a Religious View of The

The Christian Science Monitor, December 16, 1999 | Go to article overview

Great Works of Western Literature Infused with a Religious View of The


Things Fall Apart By Chinua Achebe (1958)

A Job-like story in which a powerful, wealthy Nigerian named Okonkwo loses all that he has to British colonialism but seeks redemption from his country's native system of beliefs.

The Pilgrim's Progress By John Bunyan (1678)

Bunyan's great allegory depicts the journey of Pilgrim from the Slough of Despond, and the obstacles that he encounters thereafter, to the Holy City.

El Cid Anonymous poet (12th century)

Although the real-life medieval Spanish hero Rodrigo Diaz fought as a mercenary against both Christians and Moors, the fictionalized El Cid never waivered in his loyalty to his Christian lord, King Alfonso, even when exiled by him. El Cid's character, then, was upheld for the purity of his motives.

The Divine Comedy Alighieri Dante (1300)

In this epic narrative poem that establishes the traditional Christian view of Heaven and Hell, Dante the poet chronicles the journey of Dante the pilgrim from the punishing circles of the Inferno to the glorious mountains of Paradise.

The Brothers Karamazov By Feodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky (1879- 80)

This novel contains the classic dialogue - "The Grand Inquisitor" - on suffering and evil in the world. Dmitri doggedly asks Jesus how one can believe in God in the face of the sufferings of children.

Middlemarch

George Eliot (1871-72)

Eliot's (Mary Ann Evans) novel captures the decline of institutional religion in 1830s England as well as making a powerful statement about the protagonist Dorothea Brooke as a modern saint.

The Wasteland T.S. Eliot (1922)

Eliot broke new and to many impassable grounds in his poem, "The Wasteland." But its themes are practical, contemporary - the spiritual drought of modern life that can be ended only with a king's self-sacrifice (Christ Jesus).

Faust

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1808-1832)

The classic story of the man who sells his soul to the Devil (Mephistopheles) so that he can gain all the world's knowledge and, thus, power. …

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