The Damnation of Theron Ware: Or, Illumination

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Stone & Kimball, 1896 - Belief and doubt - 512 pages
2 Reviews
Published in 1896, "The Damnation of Theron Ware or Illumination" is a profound psychological portrait of the spiritual undoing of a guileless Methodist minister who is taken in by a rural townspeople's various progressive ideas, from liberalism to bohemianism, only to be spurned by them for being too conventional. Described by Everett Carter as "among the four or five best novels written by an American during the nineteenth century," the novel, as Joyce Carol Oates writes in her Introduction, has "shrewd, disturbing insights into the human pysche." This Modern Library Paperback Classic is set from the text of the authoritative Harold Frederic Edition.

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User Review  - sixwoolsocks - LibraryThing

I read this book in a 19th C. American lit class & I wasn't too impressed by it. Harold Frederic does write some good short stories, but this book was pretty dull. Read full review

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User Review  - Stbalbach - LibraryThing

Illumination (1896) has been an underground classic among serious writers and readers since its publication. Although it sold well in its day, it was largely lost to mainstream attention for most of ... Read full review


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Page 49 - Doing what we know is not for the glory of God ; as, The putting on of gold and costly apparel. The taking such diversions as cannot be used in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Page 252 - Did you ever see a play? — in a theatre, I mean. I supposed not. But you'll understand when I say that the performance looks one way from where the audience sit, and quite a different way when you are behind the scenes. There you see that the trees and houses are cloth, and the moon is tissue paper, and the flying fairy is a middle-aged woman strung up on a rope. That doesn't prove that the play, out in front, isn't beautiful and affecting, and all that. It only shows that everything in this world...
Page 194 - but " Is your mind well furnished ? " Theron had the sensation of having been invited to become a citizen of this world. The thought so dazzled him that his impulses were dragging him forward to take the new oath of allegiance before he had had time to reflect upon what it was he was abandoning.
Page 412 - Ireland you got a strange mixture of elementary early peoples, walled off from the outer world by the four seas, and free to work out their own racial amalgam on their own lines. They brought with them at the outset a great inheritance of Eastern mysticism. Others lost it, but the Irish, all alone on their island, kept it alive and brooded on it, and rooted their whole spiritual side in it. Their religion is full of it; their blood is full of it — our Celia is fuller of it than anybody else.
Page 66 - The door opened, and Theron saw the priest standing in the doorway with an uplifted hand. He wore now a surplice, with a purple band over his shoulders, and on his pale face there shone a tranquil and tender light. One of the workmen fetched from the stove a brand, lighted the two candles, and bore the table with its contents into the bedroom. The young woman plucked Theron's sleeve, and he dumbly followed her into the chamber of death, making one of the group of a dozen, headed by Mrs. MacEvoy and...
Page 283 - Theron experimented cautiously upon the unaccustomed tobacco, and looked at Celia with what he felt to be the confident quiet of a man of the world. She had thrown aside her hat, and in doing so had half released some of the heavy strands of hair coiled at the back of her head. His glance instinctively rested upon this wonderful hair of hers. There was no mistaking the sudden fascination its disorder had for his eye. She stood before him with the cigarette poised daintily between thumb and finger...
Page 142 - ... He shut down the window when you began to play. His doing so annoyed me, because I — I wanted very much to hear it all. I never heard such music before. I — I came into the church to hear more of it, but then you stopped." " I will play for you some other time," Celia said, answering the regret in his tone. "But to-night I wanted to talk with you instead." She kept silent, in spite of this, so long now that Theron was on the point of jestingly asking when the talk was to begin. Then she put...
Page 76 - It rose now suddenly in front of him, as he sauntered from patch to patch of sunlight under the elms, like some huge, shadowy, and symbolical monument. He looked at it with wondering curiosity, as at something he had heard of all his life, but never seen before,— an abhorrent spectacle, truly! The foundations upon which its dark bulk reared itself were ignorance, squalor, brutality, and vice. Pigs wallowed in the mire before its base, and burrowing into this base were a myriad of narrow doors,...
Page 304 - Winches, was dead. There was an end of him, and good riddance. In his place there had been born a Poet, — he spelled the word out now unabashed, — a child of light, a lover of beauty and sweet sounds, a recognizable brother to Renan and Chopin — and Celia ! Out of the soothing, tenderly grateful revery, a practical suggestion suddenly took shape.
Page 438 - Michael shook his head dogmatically. " That is the greatest pity of all," he said, with renewed earnestness. " You are entirely deceived about yourself. You do not at all realize how you have altered your direction, or where you are going. It was a great misfortune for you, sir, that you did not keep among your own people. That poor half-brother of mine, though the drink was in him when he said that saying to you never spoke a truer word.

About the author (1896)

Journalist and author Harold Frederic was born in Utica, New York on August 19, 1856. He decided to become a journalist and was editor of the Albany Evening Journal by 1882. In 1884, he became a London correspondent for the New York Times. He covered the cholera epidemic in France and Italy and went to Russia to investigate the persecution of the Jews. Besides working as a journalist, he wrote numerous novels that dealt with such topics as the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, New York state, and English life. The Damnation of Theron Ware or Illumination, about the decline and fall of a Methodist minister, was his most famous work. He died in England on October 19, 1898 following a summer of illness that ended with a stroke. After his death, his mistress Kate Lyon and Athalie Mills, were arrested and charged with manslaughter for trying to heal him through faith instead of calling for a doctor. They were later acquitted.

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