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Marxism and Christianity

Dependencies and Differences in Alasdair MacIntyre's Critical Social Thought

Peter McMylor

Alasdair MacIntyre, a leading moral philosopher in the English speaking world, was from his earliest intellectual formation influenced profoundly both by Christianity and Marxism. MacIntyre argues that Marxism has religious roots, in that it gains its vision of the good life of peace and reconciliation from Christianity, mediated by Hegel, but makes this life historically concrete. The article views MacIntyre's early intellectual career as a case study in the productive tension generated by an analysis of the connections between Christianity and Marxism. It is suggested that by examining the similarities and differences of these two traditions, MacIntyre points to the sources of radicalism that lie at the apparently conservative heart of western culture and reveals aspects of the continuing significance of this culture's religious background. He also points to the difficulties both traditions have in engaging with modern liberal culture.

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Sine Dolore

Relative Painlessness in Shakespeare’s Laughter at War

Daniel Derrin


How do we understand Shakespeare’s invitation to laugh in the context of war? Previous critical accounts have offered too simple a view: that laughter undercuts military ideals. Instead, this article draws on the Aristotelian description of laughable ‘deformity’ and Plato’s description of laughable ignorance in order to characterize Shakespeare’s laughter in the context of war more carefully as an expression of ‘relative painlessness’. It discusses how the fraught amusement of Coriolanus (Coriolanus), the reciprocality of Falstaff and Hotspur as laughable military failures (1 Henry IV) and the laughter of Bertram at Paroles (All’s Well That Ends Well) each engage with an ancient philosophical conundrum articulated poignantly by St. Augustine: the requirement that a Christian civilization engage in war to defend itself against honour-obsessed aggressors without turning into a like aggressor itself. Shakespeare’s laughter at war enacts the desire for that balance.

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Carol Banks

Whereas questions of race, class and gender may be uppermost in the minds of many late twentieth-century scholars and critics, in the early modern period tradition and belief were the predominant preoccupations, in practical terms, custom and Christianity were inextricably intertwined within the changing culture of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. An awareness of these past concerns motivates each of the seven articles in this issue, articles which re-examine literary and historical texts, not as past mirrors in which we might speculate upon our own particular preoccupations, but as sources of a more anthropological and spiritual history.

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Tom Brown's Schooldays

'Sportsex' in Victorian Britain

Andy Harvey

Thomas Hughes's idealised vision of life at Rugby public school is one of the best-known novels in the English language. It was regarded from the outset as a founding text of 'muscular Christianity'. Contrary to the intentions of its author, it helped to inaugurate the cult of 'manly' athleticism that swept through the English public schools in the second half of the nineteenth-century. I argue that the novel reveals tensions around gender and sexuality that were in play among public schoolboys during the second half of the nineteenth century. These tensions exploded into full public view in the trial of Oscar Wilde in 1895 and were instrumental in helping to establish a structure of homophobia within homosocial settings that has lasted through to the present day.

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Christine Regan

routine humiliations. The sonnet is also about Harold’s Christianity and his son’s atheism and their disagreements about religion. There is an irreverently sorrowful pun upon the ‘daily bread’ that Harold baked and the ‘daily bread’ of ‘The Lord’s Prayer

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Emanuel Stelzer

–77), Shakespeare intends to spell out a fundamental difference between Christianity and paganism. On the other hand, it is also because of this investigation that the ‘To be or nor to be’ speech has become probably the most famous soliloquy in world literature

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David Nicol

jovial quip. Even more startling is the depiction of Tomocomo, a holy man who accompanied Pocahontas across the Atlantic and stubbornly rejected Christianity: the author has transformed him into a classic Jacobean malcontent. However, the most

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Walking with the Goat-God

Gothic Ecology in Algernon Blackwood’s Pan’s Garden: A Volume of Nature Stories

Michelle Poland

rejection of Christianity. Blackwood was also a devoted walker – walking is a practice that bears close relation to writing; think Wordsworth, after all. In the autumn of 1886, Blackwood moved to a guesthouse situated in a Swiss village called Bôle with two

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Bilal Tawfiq Hamamra

: honouring someone one who is prepared to sacrifice life rather than betray faith. Indeed, in Christianity there are more ‘warrior saints’ than ‘warrior martyrs’, particularly in the early Church. Martyrdom, however, is a distinct concept, indicating a

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The Non-Secular Pilgrimage

Walking and Looking in Ken Cockburn and Alec Finlay’s The Road North

Alice Tarbuck and Simone Kotva

unproblematic. Nonetheless, pilgrimage remains a useful hermeneutic, not least because, as Thomas Merton explains, in contrast to the aleatory ramble, Celtic Christianity understood peregrinatio to be ‘not … an endless and aimless wandering for its sake’, but