The malice of the forces of darkness and the arrival of four books and the latest LRB have caused The Liberation of Jerusalem to be temporarily postponed…
Firstly, Doubt’s Boundless Sea, Skepticism & Faith in the Renaissance, by Don Cameron Allen, arrived early last week. I ordered this book because I wanted to look more closely at the argument that “Montaigne was an atheist,” an argument of which I remain sceptical, deeply sceptical if we take atheist to mean what it means today. However, the first thing I noted was the blurb on the inside of the cover, which reminds us that,
In the Renaissance an atheist was one who could not accept some religious principles shared by Christian creeds. At times, the definition became so narrow that, to many Protestants, the Pope was the chief of the Roman Catholic atheists; to many a Roman Catholic, Canterbury was the head of the Anglican atheists.
Secondly, a long awaited parcel from Amazon arrived on Friday. In the box were two recently published books on E. M. Forster: Frank Kermode’s Concerning E. M. Forster, and Wendy Moffat’s A Great Unrecorded History. Underneath them was a book I had completely forgotten ordering, Atheist Delusions, by David Bentley Hart.
I should also mention that I have become absorbed by Walter Kaufmann’s comparison of the minds of Goethe and Kant in the first of a three volume series called Discovering the Mind.
I have set aside Doubt’s Boundless Sea for a more leisurely perusal at a later date and temporarily postponed my reading of Tasso, leaving the action up in the air as “Godfrey with steadfast face stands resolute” and struggles to hold off the pagans while his troops retire to the stockade, only to have their camp fires dowsed by “the terrifying tempest’s furious sway.”
With just over a month before I am to deliver my lecture, “Aspects of E. M. Forster,” there is no time to lose and so I have taken up Kermode and am also about to read through Where Angels Fear to Tread for a second time this year…