Shaming the Devil

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Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, Aug 23, 2004 - Literary Collections - 231 pages
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Wheaton College professor Jacobs once again displays his considerable gifts in this collection of essays originally published in the Weekly Standard, First Things and the Christian review Books & Culture. As in his earlier collection, A Visit to Vanity Fair, Jacobs's range of interests and the breadth of his reading is extraordinary, along with the depth of his Christian humanism. His recurring theme here is the promises and limits of the modern era, as seen through some of its most celebrated figures: Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Albert Camus, W. H. Auden, Iris Murdoch and Wole Soyinka. Even an essay on Sappho's poetry becomes a meditation on modern erotic politics, in dialogue with the Song of Solomon. A final section on Jacobs's sometimes comical attempts to install the Linux operating system on his own computer explores information technology, that quintessentially modern achievement. The tone here is somewhat more serious than in Vanity Fair, but never inaccessible, not least because Jacobs never takes himself too seriously. Notwithstanding the relatively conservative venues where Jacobs publishes, his writing is also utterly free of ideological cant, and his reading even of those with whom he disagrees is marked by generosity, humor and humility. Every writer longs for readers of Jacobs's integrity and creativity; discerning readers will revel in the chance to let Jacobs read aloud, as it were, over their own shoulder.

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Shaming the devil: essays in truthtelling

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Jacobs (English, Wheaton Coll.; A Theology of Reading ) offers a rigorous intellectual analysis of authors who search for the truth in their writings, as well as authors who acutely present their own ... Read full review

Selected pages


Shame the Devil
Audens Happy Eye
Wisdom and Courage
The Witness
The Judgment of Grace
The Genesis of Wisdom
The Only Honest Man
Iris Murdochs Added Vowel
Wole Soyinkas Outrage
The Republic of Heaven
The ReInvention of Love
Computer Control the Virtues of Resistance

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Page 6 - Accurate scholarship can Unearth the whole offence From Luther until now That has driven a culture mad, Find what occurred at Linz, What huge imago made A psychopathic god: I and the public know What all schoolchildren learn, Those to whom evil is done Do evil in return.
Page 7 - Follow, poet, follow right To the bottom of the night, With your unconstraining voice Still persuade us to rejoice; With the farming of a verse Make a vineyard of the curse, Sing of human unsuccess In a rapture of distress; In the deserts of the heart Let the healing fountain start, In the prison of his days Teach the free man how to praise.

About the author (2004)

Alan Jacobs is a professor of English at Wheaton College in Illinois.

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