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The study seems at its strongest exploring the inherent tension between devout imitatio and sacrilegious idolatry, a concern that Perry particularly foregrounds in the works of Cary and Milton. In contrast to Sidney’s hopeful view of imitatio as a vehicle for advancing Protestant piety and unity, these writers focus attention on its ‘‘vulnerability to the pervasiveness and intractability of human sinfulness ’’ (9). Some of these anxieties about imitation seem foundational to Christian theology, rather than emergent properties of the early modern historical moment: the presentation of Catholicism as a demonic parody of true Protestant Christianity, a staple in the rhetoric of figures like John Bale and John Foxe, has deep roots in the patristic identification of Satan as simia Dei, God’s ape. In this light, Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene seems a surprising omission from the study, since the author was a peripheral member of the Sidney circle. Certainly the Letter to Raleigh, with its promise to ‘‘fashion a gentleman or noble person in vertuous and gentle discipline,’’ suggests that Spenser hoped that readers might emulate the qualities exemplified by his heroes and heroines, above all Prince Arthur. But even from the first cantos, the subtle disguises employed by figures like Archimago and Duessa reveal the destabilizing possibilities of imitation and the perilous failures of recognition that it entails. Professor Perry clearly anticipates this kind of inquiry, suggesting in the introduction that there could be ‘‘many other potential foci for this study, each of which would have produced a different (perhaps even radically different) version of the career of imitatio Christi in early modern England.’’ Indeed, the sense that there remains interesting work to be done along the same lines is a powerful proof of success in the task she sets for herself, to produce an ‘‘exemplary, rather than a definitive, work of scholarship’’ (11). James Ross Macdonald University of the South Michael Ward and Peter S. Williams, eds., C. S. Lewis at Poets’ Corner. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2016. Pp vii + 246. ISBN 978-1-4982-0258-9. $33.00. C. S. Lewis at Poets’ Corner is a curious book, containing much that is good and some little that is not so good. On the one hand, it offers an interesting overview of the events before, during, and after November 21–23, 2013, when Lewis was honored by having a stone commemorating his life and work placed in the floor of Westminster Abbey, thus joining other English literary luminaries in Poets’ Corner, including Chaucer, Shakespeare, Joseph Addison, Jane Austen, William Wordsworth, the Brontë sisters, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Robert Browning, George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, T. S. Eliot, and Ted Hughes. On the other hand, it sometimes appears to be a cobbled together collection of apologetic addresses and essays, a panel discussion, the order of the memorial service itself, personal Book Reviews 549 reflections and a ‘‘gossipy’’ review of the memorial service, several subsequent conference lectures, and a reminiscence. These disparate elements hobble and weaken the book. As one who attended the apologetic symposium and panel discussion on November 21 as well as the memorial service on the following day, I was pleased with these contributions to the book. Alister McGrath’s address, ‘‘Telling the Truth through Rational Argument,’’ was a fitting way to begin the symposium held in the 11th-century sanctuary of St. Margaret’s Church (the parish church of the House of Commons and immediately adjacent to Westminster Abbey). McGrath with deft theological insight and rhetorical fluency presented a cogent discussion of Lewis’s well-known and frequently noted reliance upon reason in his apologetic writings. McGrath’s address was nicely balanced by poet Malcolm Guite’s ‘‘Telling the Truth through Imaginative Fiction,’’ a remarkably rich exploration of Lewis’s incisive use of imagination in his fiction and poetry. Fittingly, Guite leans heavily upon Lewis’s poem ‘‘Reason’’ as the fulcrum of his argument. He also quotes Lewis’s neat pairing of reason and imagination: ‘‘Reason is the natural organ of truth, but imagination is the organ of meaning.’’ C. S. Lewis at Poets’ Corner is worth buying solely on the basis of McGrath’s and Guite...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2056-5666
Print ISSN
0148-3331
Pages
pp. 549-552
Launched on MUSE
2020-01-28
Open Access
No
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