Saturday, 25 June 2011

Novel Doubt

Novel Doubt - How Novelists Inspire Doubt
by Dr. Andrew Corbett 24th June 2011
Printable Edition
Just over a hundred years ago, a group of Trinity College, Cambridge students formed a covert society called the "Midnight Society". Many of the Society members became professors at Cambridge, while others became famous novelists, playwrights and authors. At a time when Christians generally considered fiction grossly inferior to non-fiction (and theologically devotional writings), the members of the Midnight Society were strategically using it. They understood that the values and the morals of a nation could be influenced by the fiction it consumed. And they had a radical agenda...
An example of the general attitude among Christians to fiction is summed up by the nineteenth century author, Hannah More-
"...constant familiarity with works of fiction disinclines and disqualifies for active virtues and for spiritual exercises."
Hannah More (1870), author of The Shepherd of Salisbury Plain, cited in Murray, p. 5
The Midnight Society included Mathematician turned Philosopher, Bertrand Russell; acclaimed novelist, Thomas Hardy; historian, Lytton Strachey; and some non-Trinity members including George Bernard Shaw and H.G. Wells. There were no formal membership requirements of the Midnight Society except that members had to regard Christianity as irrational and needing to be removed from society. They regarded Christianity's morals as prudish and even "immoral". [Read the full article]

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