In these stirring times with the Ecumenical Council on the one hand, and burning social issues on the other, John Keble, the 19th century English Divine, the country parson who both on sacred and secular matters was revolted by liberalism, might indeed seem an odd fish to out of the forgotten backwaters where history has dumped him. But Miss Battiscombe's long, loving biography, the first full-length treatment, here fashions the man as someone ""holy and dear"" whose extraordinary ordinariness as Vicar of Hurley makes him something of a saint. (The rather commonplace notion is that the worldly are always suspect but the humble are not.) Fortunately the burden of her book reflects upon Keble's real recommendations and does so with a good deal of perception, patience (masses of hitherto unsifted material), and prudence (the subtitle is significantly ""a study in limitations""). Keble had a tough theological streak which flashed into a notoriety during the Oxford Movement, of which it can be said he was the founder. Almost single-handedly through him High Church principles and patristic literature were revived and Erastianism rebutted. He also wrote a group of quite influential devotional poems, The Christian Year, and of course his partisanship with people like Froude, Pusey and Newman produced the famous Tracts for the Times. Miss Battiscombe brilliantly dramatizes the relationship between Keble and Newman, especially after the latter entered the Church of Rome, and she examines the whole era, including the listlessness of Latitudinarianism, with vigor and good sense.