ELIZABETH'S GREETING by Rosemary Haughton


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An interesting, if fictionally static, religious novel, which utilizes the story of a thirteenth century saint, Elizabeth of Hungary, to wrestle with a spiritual climate in which the nature of Sacred and Profane love were of searing concern. Miss Haughton, a Roman Catholic convert, has taken on some difficult matters before in both juvenile and adult books, and again she investigates the incursion of the spiritual into the mundane. In a period when social, religious and political structures were crumbling, the poets Wolfram von Eschenbach and Gottfried von Strassburg (credited with Parstfal and Tristan and Isolde) sang of the nature and demands of love; and it is Elizabeth of Hungary who incorporated, perhaps answered, the poets' riddles. The bride of Ludwig of the Wartburg family. Elizabeth is consumed with a love so complete that it destroyed her, but allowed her to see ""the dawn on the other side of darkness."" As she joyfully gave herself to her husband in ""profane"" sexual love, so she, no less exultantly, gave herself to the humbling ministrations of the sick and starving, refused to eat food obtained through peasant exploitation. Spiritually disciplined by her advisor, Konrad of Marburg, she surrendered wholly to God and humanity. In a life which saw the face of Christ in the suffering of a peasant, the categories of religious dogma seem meaningless. Although Miss Haughton's style is beaten into a limp procession of subordinate clauses by the nature of her reverent approach, this is a serious and illuminating presentation of a medieval/contemporary concern.

Pub Date: Oct. 16th, 1968
Publisher: Lippincott