Saturday, 19 September 2009

Tackling Newman's "Apologia" at last

In the past I have often found Newman's prose quite difficult; but I may just have been unlucky in the extracts I have read. Certainly there were passages quoted in Fr Ker's biography which I felt were rather beyond me.

However, I decided to give, not Newman, but myself, another chance, and have plunged into his Apologia pro Vita Sua. I struggled with Parts I and II, concerning his controversy with Charles Kingsley. But I ploughed on. By Part III I felt I had at last reached the sunlit uplands, and was glad I had made the effort.

I am now up to Part V; its title, History of my religious opinions from 1839 to 1841, could hardly be more plodding; but it is an exact description, and the content is fascinating.

Since I do not have time to wade through the book at one sitting, I think it will provide me with much pleasure, and solid food for thought, for quite some time.

2 comments:

Moretben said...

I read it in my twenties, and found it hugely stimulating; returning to it twenty years later I found it petulant, arid and unspeakably precious. I think the problem is that Newman does not really involve his "inner life" in the narrative at all: "History of my religious opinions" says it all, I think. Who gives a hang about anybody's "religious opinions"?

berenike said...

I've read this book once or twice from cover to cover, and dipped in several times.

As Moretben no doubt knows, the book was written not least because many people cared a great deal about Newman's religious opinions.

It was not really Newman's style to write about his interior life.