THEOLOGY - - What is Western Culture
In this essay the author's intention is to set forth some of the basis for the West's historic unity.
In this brillant essay, the author shows how a proper understanding of the definition of meaning has consequences on catechetics, liturgy, academic freedom, and the dissident magisterium.
The book could almost be examined as a complete history of the development of military technology during that period, however, the author has a much more significant purpose for his work than to just educate the reader on military history....
• What is the extent to which we are supposed to follow the orders of authority figures?
• What is the connection between human nature, obedience, and violence?
• What are some of the moral dilemmas associated with obedience to authority?
• What is the relationship between situational forces, peer or social pressure and obedience to authority?
What is even more important is the essay's open claim to fictionalization, the mix of fiction and fact (4). Since, even though there is no chance to arrive at objective truth, there is some prospect of enlightenment on the author's and the reader's part if opinions are carefully weighed, Woolf is sure that "Fiction here is likely to contain more [page 5] truth than fact" (4). She employs fictionalization in criticism as the only reasonable method for her and boldly confesses to "making use of all the liberties and licences of a novelist, […]"(4). She deliberately transfers methods from fiction to criticism and, as in the novels, departs from factual reality.
Theology - - Comment on Obedience
The author sees a reflection of Pope Paul VI's teaching onobedience in a letter by Maurice Blondel, written in 1902 to a priest on the relation of freedom of conscience tothe authority of the Church.
In an ordinary scholarly work of criticism it should not be difficult to equate 'author' and 'narrator.' however, is a work of criticism and fiction at the same time. Of course, Virginia [page 10] Woolf is at the heart of the whole essay, but she fictionalizes herself. Other fictitious personae express their opinions such as Mary Seton (the after−dinner conversation partner in the female college); Mrs. Seton (the mother of Mary Seton, who functions as the female representative of a whole generation of women and mothers still subject and submitting themselves to the rules of patriarchal society); Mary Beton (the imaginary narrator's aunt); Judith (the fictitious sister of Shakespeare); Mary Carmichael (a fictitious female writer in Woolf's own time); and Miss Clough and Miss Davies. We may in fact see a parallel between Woolf's technique and John Dryden's four speakers in his famous essay(1668).
Theology - - Common Obedience
The writer expounds on the words of Pope Paul VI, to priests and preachers at the beginning of Lent 1969, on the unique relationship between authority and obedience in the Mystery of the Church.
In other words, place and time and atmosphere are conducive to the author's thinking as demonstrated throughout the essay. The link between time and place (situation) and speaker and between material and mental aspects of the processes of reasoning in a perfect way is quite obvious:
Moreover, the essay agrees largely with Woolf's own criteria for essay−writing. A look at "The Modern Essay" in the first volume of reveals that Woolf derived these criteria from numerous studies of essays from the past and present and consistently put her ideas into practise in . Her criteria are related to (1) the author (task of giving pleasure; vision instead of just knowledge; presence of the author without preaching the gospel; independent feeling and thinking of the author, triumph of style rather than feat of skill, cf. 220, 222); (2) the circumstances of modern essay−writing (critic writing weekly and daily and briefly for busy and tired people, 219); (3) the text (well−balanced texture; shape and intensity; no decoration; exciting the reader's interest in domestic themes is justified if it is unaccompanied by manipulation and insubstantial peroration; ideas going beyond the level of talk in order to make the essay come alive with the readers; a naturally rich speaking voice; no skimming the surface of thought and diluting the strength of personality; display of beauty, courage, and thought; the essay should be exact, truthful, and imaginative instead of loose, merely plausible, and commonplace, 214); and (4) the reader. The effect on the reader desired by Woolf is
However, since Woolf usually splits up every major issue into several other minor ones, her procedure is scientific enough and is not likely to provide lazy reading for example, when the author wants to know how women, money, a room and fiction are connected and, furthermore, what the words "women and fiction" mean (3). She also adopts a scholarly attitude when she refuses to speculate on female fiction in the future and limits herself to a critical evaluation of the question in history and the present time (77). She only allows for one exception, the physical conditions for the writing women (78). Otherwise she is clear−sighted enough to realize that the time for an evaluation of the comparative merits of men and women as writers has not yet come and that at present it is more important to gather some knowledge about the material living conditions of women than to speculate on their capacities (105).
This credo more or less means a definite farewell to fundamental functions of the classical essay such as educating the reader's taste, establishing a canon of literary highlights and perhaps even censoring cultural achievements—activities that Woolf considered with scepticism though this did not prevent her from expressing very decided opinions on authors and works.