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Hope Academic Prepares for Book Launch

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A Liverpool Hope University academic is celebrating the launch of TWO fascinating new books which explore how some of history’s most famous literary works reflect Catholic philosophy. 

Dr David Torevell is a former Head of Theology and Religious Studies at Hope, now an Honorary Senior Research Fellow. 

Lancashire-born Dr Torevell has edited the book Literature and Catholicism in the 19th and 20th Centuries, a collection of essays which take readers on a ‘journey into the Catholic literary imagination’, as well editing New Insights into Literature and Catholicism in the 19th and 20th Centuries

And Dr Torevell will also host a special book launch at Hope Park on Friday 29th October, showing-off the pair of publications. 

The first book in the series, Literature and Catholicism in the 19th and 20th Centuries, focuses on the Catholic literary revival of the late 19th and 20th centuries, and how this movement ‘illustrates and celebrates this positive philosophy of life’.

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Some of the works discussed by contributing authors include searing political satire The Napoleon of Notting Hill, by G. K. Chesterton, Thomas Mann’s sanatorium-set masterpiece The Magic Mountain and Toni Morrison’s haunting 1987 slavery novel Beloved. Classic World War One poem In Parenthesis, by author David Jones, is also put under the spotlight. 

And Dr Torevell describes how many of the works highlighted in Literature and Catholicism in the 19th and 20th Centuries tread a fine line between the ‘supernatural and otherworldly’ and ‘the human and ordinary’. 

He explains: “The book draws attention to how an impressive corpus of literature during this period reflects deeply Catholic themes and trajectories – for example, sacramentality, self sacrifice, ritual, beauty and many others. Some of these writers were ‘cradle Catholics’, many were converts, and one, Thomas Mann, was neither, though you may be surprised to read about his Catholic sensibilities.”

Dr Torevell, Visiting Professor at Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick, Ireland, adds: “The contributors deal with how their chosen authors reveal a paradoxical truth about life, a claim which admits there is no significant division at all between human life and supernatural life as one cuts deeply into the other, so as to make them inseparable. 

“Enjoyment of the things of God is made possible simply by being alive and remaining open to the wonder and sadness of everyday life and what they teach us about our universe, ourselves and others.”

Dr Torevell pens the opening chapter of the book, on the Victorian Jesuit poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins - a name synonymous with Hope. The University’s Gerard Manley Hopkins Hall is situated at the Creative Campus. 

Other contributors include chapters from Dr. Terry Phillips, Honorary Research Fellow at Hope, as well as Dr. Emilio Castaño, of Shandong University, China, and Dr Michael Murphy, of Loyola University, Chicago, USA. 

Meanwhile the second book in the collection - New Insights into Literature and Catholicism in the 19th and 20th Centuries - expands on the themes of the first. 

Dr Torevell says: “This second volume deepens thinking and research about Literature and Catholicism in the 19th and 20th Centuries. It develops the understanding that a number of acclaimed literary texts have reflected in imaginative and memorable ways, a distinctive Catholic sensibility, identity and philosophy of life and in doing so have shed light on profound spiritual experiences in a variety of fictional settings.”

Writers discussed in the second volume include Coventry Patmore, G.K. Chesterton, Thomas MacGreevy, Roy Campbell, Czeslaw Milosz, Thomas Merton, Alice Thomas Ellis and Donna Tartt.  

Both texts should appeal to undergraduates and postgraduates, as well as researchers and teachers or lecturers working in the fields of English Literature, Religion and Philosophy.


** The book launch for Literature and Catholicism in the 19th and 20th Centuries and New Insights into Literature and Catholicism in the 19th and 20th Centuries will take place in the Eden Arbour Rooms, Hope Park, Friday 29th October. 

Both books will be available for sale at a considerably reduced price at the launch.

Arrivals from 6.15pm- 7.15pm. 

If you would like to attend, please contact Dr Torevell by October 15th at toreved@hope.ac.uk


Published on 18/10/2021