Saturday, January 31, 2004

It is a cold wet Saturday morning in Belfast. I picked up 'God's Funeral' by A.N. Wilson and started to read about William James. Wilson must be brilliant as a biographer. He has a lively style of writing, when he was writing about Carlyle I felt I had to buy 'The French Revolution'. I may not agree with the cynical view of John Henry Newman but his writings about William James are first rate.

With Newman, as I think I have already said I do not think he is being completely unfair. If you were to read about Newman from the viewpoint of other Victorian figures, perhaps read the 'Apologia' and nothing else you may have a negative view of Newman. I have been interested in Newman for a long time and I do not think he was a cynical person. Wilson describes him as a 'defender of orthodoxy' the kind of person who is portrayed as stuck in one mind-set and stubbornly refuses to budge. For myself I have always had the impression that Newman was a strong and confident person but not one to ignore the truth of an argument. (As you can see if you read 'Lead, kindly light').

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