One of the many purposes of Invitation to the Classics is to warm the heart to the masterworks of Western civilization. In doing so, editors Louise Cowan and Os Guinness hope to "reawaken ... people to the vibrant heritage of these classics that are rich in themselves and in their 2000-year relationship to the Christian faith." From Homer to Chaucer, Dickens to C.S. Lewis, each author receives a chapter that includes a biographical sketch followed by a thorough summary of the classic(s) he or she penned. The "Issues to Explore" sections at the end of each chapter pose penetrating questions for interrogation of the text as well as recommendations for further study depending on whether your scope is technical, theological, analytical, critical, or biographical. Once you read Invitation to the Classics, you may agree with C.S. Lewis that we must "keep the clean sea breeze of the centuries blowing through our minds, and this can be done only by reading old books." --Jill Heatherly
From Publishers Weekly:
For over a decade, university teachers, politicians, literary critics and preachers have argued about the educational role of the literary classics of the Western world. While some have contended that the works themselves are full of immoral teachings and should be banned from libraries and school curricula, others have argued that the stereotypical portrayal of certain characters has a pernicious effect on readers and leads to classism, sexism and racism. Still others, like authors of this lively collection, believe that the classics are indispensable for an understanding of Western society and human nature. Guinness and Cowan gather over 50 brief essays by a number of respected Christian literary scholars that extend invitations to readers to experience anew or for the first time the wonder and the beauty of selected classics. Each essay contains a biographical and historical sketch, a summary of the work being considered, suggestions and bibliographies for further study and questions raised by the text about the interaction of Christian faith and society. The selections range from the Iliad to Machiavelli's The Prince, Flaubert's Madame Bovary and Rushdie's The Satanic Verses. Genres covered range from Shakespeare's plays and Milton's epic poetry to Martin Luther's theological writings and Alexis de Tocqueville's travel writings.
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