This is a study of the modern writer as iconoclast. The author, mixing heology with literature, gets rather muddled now and then, but his lowering of the oom on bourgeois religiosity is striking enough and stirs up a lot that is dormant r debilitating in culture today. Reversing a well-known Kierkegaardian dictum, he ontends that Christendom is the fundamental misfortune of Christianity: the church, since science succeeded myth, lost its tradition of transfiguring the temporal. iters- or at least the nine the commentary concerns- have not; striving to make sense of spiritual struggles they have moved towards some sort of salvation via the self or the soul. Hawthorne, Melville and Faulkner represent the American journeyers and are admirally analysed; likewise Dostoevsky, Kafka and Lagerkvist, dipping into the darker currents of doubt and ideological dominations; the remaining-Eliot, Auden and Perse, lounder in the backwash- an understanding of poetry not being the author's forte, especially so vis-a-vis Eliot. The book, worthwhile in its own right, should take on keener edge if read as a companion piece to the author's previous The Death of God.