On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life through Great Books

Front Cover
Brazos Press, Sep 4, 2018 - Religion - 272 pages
Publishers Weekly starred review

Reading great literature well has the power to cultivate virtue. Great literature increases knowledge of and desire for the good life by showing readers what virtue looks like and where vice leads. It is not just what one reads but how one reads that cultivates virtue. Reading good literature well requires one to practice numerous virtues, such as patience, diligence, and prudence. And learning to judge wisely a character in a book, in turn, forms the reader's own character.

Acclaimed author Karen Swallow Prior takes readers on a guided tour through works of great literature both ancient and modern, exploring twelve virtues that philosophers and theologians throughout history have identified as most essential for good character and the good life. In reintroducing ancient virtues that are as relevant and essential today as ever, Prior draws on the best classical and Christian thinkers, including Aristotle, Aquinas, and Augustine. Covering authors from Henry Fielding to Cormac McCarthy, Jane Austen to George Saunders, and Flannery O'Connor to F. Scott Fitzgerald, Prior explores some of the most compelling universal themes found in the pages of classic books, helping readers learn to love life, literature, and God through their encounters with great writing. In examining works by these authors and more, Prior shows why virtues such as prudence, temperance, humility, and patience are still necessary for human flourishing and civil society. The book includes end-of-chapter reflection questions geared toward book club discussions, features original artwork throughout, and includes a foreword from Leland Ryken.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - thornton37814 - www.librarything.com

Liberty University professor Karen Swallow Prior discusses twelve literary works in light of Christian virtues portrayed in each. She utilizes other literature, theological and Biblical studies works ... Read full review

On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life Through Great Books

User Review  - Publishers Weekly

Prior (Booked), English professor at Liberty University, enthuses about the transformative power of reading in this lively treatise on building character through books. Prior uses classic works of ... Read full review

Contents

Cover
Part One The Cardinal Virtues 31
Twain 87
Part Two The Theological Virtues 103
Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton 159
Pilgrims Progress by John Bunyan 177
Persuasion by Jane Austen 191
Revelation and Everything That Rises Must
Acknowledgments 237
Notes 245
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2018)

Karen Swallow Prior (PhD, SUNY Buffalo) is an award-winning professor of English at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. She is the author of Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me and Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More--Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist. Prior has written for Christianity Today, the Atlantic, the Washington Post, First Things, Vox, Think Christian, and The Gospel Coalition. She is a research fellow with the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, a senior fellow with Liberty University's Center for Apologetics and Cultural Engagement, a senior fellow with the Trinity Forum, and a member of the Faith Advisory Council of the Humane Society of the United States.

Bibliographic information