The Gospel According to John Bull
(01-08-2010, 08:46 AM)stvincentferrer Wrote:
(01-07-2010, 10:57 AM)Satori Wrote: Graham Greene wasn't a good Catholic, maybe not even a good man, but that doesn't mean he wasn't a good Catholic writer. These are different things. A book can be greater than the man who wrote it. Perhaps you will find this easier to understand if you consider works of visual art. We've all heard lurid things about Michelangelo, for instance, and he made his greatest works of art for money -- money that was scandalously obtained -- but his Pieta is sublime.

As for Catholic writers watering down their message to get a broader audience, I think you're looking at it the wrong way. I see it more as their employing a sort of Trojan horse technique to get Catholic ideas in where normally they would be unwelcome. Some people are peculiarly susceptible to ideas in literature. I owe my own conversion to Catholic writers who are read seriously and highly regarded by seculars. I would never have picked up one of the pious little volumes put out by Catholic publishing houses.

I perfectly understand that an artist can be a sleazeball and produce great art. It's pretty elementary. Look at Polanski: a great filmmaker who has a thing for little girls. I think you're missing the point, in that Greene and Waugh supposedly looked to a secular establishment for validation. One would have to be abnormally holy and unworldly to use the tactics you are saying they used. I think they probably just wanted the world and heaven, in that order. It's as if the godless establishment is transforming the Church, and not the other way around.

Abnormally holy and unworldly? That doesn't even make sense. No, I'm not saying that Waugh and Greene specifically used the Trojan horse tactic, although they may have (Brideshead Revisited is an example of this, I'm almost certain). I was trying to say that the above is an effective way of being a Catholic writer, more effective in this age than openly writing the sort of "religious" stories that are sold only in Christian bookstores and read only by other Christians. I agree that if these writers really were just trying to get affirmation from a secular establishment, that's sleazy in itself, and after reading the article attached by Wilfred I'm inclined to think that that's what Greene may have been doing, at least for part of his career. (Of course, trying to get kudos from a religious audience is just as bad.)

Also I was NOT just saying "you can be a sleazeball and a great artist." I was saying that pious people do value religious art made by questionable artists, and I don't see why they can value paintings and sculptures despite the artist but not great Catholic novels that may have been written out of a shabby sort of ambition.

Messages In This Thread
Re: The Gospel According to John Bull - by tflinn - 01-06-2010, 11:37 AM
Re: The Gospel According to John Bull - by Satori - 01-07-2010, 10:57 AM
Re: The Gospel According to John Bull - by Satori - 01-08-2010, 10:26 AM

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