THE CHURCH AS ENEMY by Joseph N. Moody


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The Church as Enemy, a title which is at the same time a precise statement of the anticlericalism during the 19th century as manifested in French literature, is an academic work which is also exceedingly entertaining, odd as it may seem. Mr. Moody's purpose is purely historical; he is not concerned with a literary critique of the authors he discusses but only with their works as a record of the Anticlericalist movement. Thus, beginning with the emergence of the movement at the time of the Revolution, he works his way through the explicators, and sometimes the proponents, of anticlericalism: there is Stendhal, and Balzac, Flaubert, de Maupassant, Zola, of course, and finally -- since the movement disappeared from the foreground with World War I -- Anatole France. In works of both fiction and non-fiction the author goes unerringly to the ideas and passages that give the most interesting and exact information on the anticlerical genesis, evolution and demonstration thereof, stitching the extracts together with a brio that is often worthy of the writers cited. It is the only work of its kind, however limited is appeal.

Pub Date: Nov. 22nd, 1968
Publisher: Corpus Books