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Newman's Unquiet Grave: The Reluctant Saint Hardcover – September 10, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Author article in The Tablet.

Listed as 'Ones to watch' in The Bookseller, February 2009

Mention in The Guardian 26/03/10 http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/mar/26/pope-benedict-catholic-church

"A work of rare insight and careful balance of judgement...give[s] the reader a richer interpretation of Newman's extraordinary genius." Standpoint, May 2010.

Author's article in The Financial Times, April 2010

Author's letter in The Catholic Herald, April 2010.

Full page on Newman with Cornwell and Newman's Unquiet Grave mentioned in The Times, 7th May 2010

Brief mention of Newman as a 'Leading Light' in The Times, 7th May 2010

Letter from Fr Ian Ker in response to John Cornwell's letter of 23/4/2010 in The Catholic Herald, 30th April 2010

Author article on timesonline.co.uk, 9th May 2010

"There are three qualities which mark this book out for special commendation. First, Cornwell sees Newman was first and foremost a writer ... Secondly, Cornwell is a practised journalist, and loves gossip and a good story ... Thirdly Cornwell, a thoughtful intellectual of our own day, explains the significance of Newman for today's church." - The Spectator, 5th June 2010

"Newman's true qualities will shine through, this compelling biography concludes, and the world will be , on balance, better for it." - Continuum author Peter Stanford, The Sunday Times, 30th May 2010

John Cornwell article, 'Newman: apostate, sophist, great hater - and holy exemplar' in The Times 28th May 2010

"After a number of substantial Newman biographies in the last century, Cornwell, an award-winning journalist and author, and an objective historian of the modern Catholic Church, offers a concise and more accessible account of the saintly but controversial scholar who was once dubbed 'the most dangerous man in England' by the Vatican." - Mysterious Planet website http://www.mysteriousplanet.net/bookstwo.php

Mention in 'New Titles Just Published' section in The Church Times, 4th June 2010

"Cornwell writes about Newman and his time with verve and lucidity ... Cornwell usefully highlights that Newman ... was part of the Roman tradition that saw the imagination as the means to understanding the sublime." The New Statesman, 14th May 2010

"[An] Excellent biography ... [A] graceful and scholarly account of Newman's life." The Literary Review, 1st June 2010

"A consise and accessible account of the saintly but controversial scholar who was once dubbed the most dangerous man in England by the Vatican." suite101.com

Condensed extract published in The Tablet, 19th June 2010

"When John Henry Newman converted from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism in 1845, it represented something of an anticlimax in the career of an Anglican divine and his efforts, through the influential Oxford Movement, to bring the English church back to its Catholic roots. A renowned scholar and thinker, Newman, in his lifetime, produced thousands of pages that some have considered the finest theological writing of his time. Even today Newman continues to shape the thoughts of aspiring theologians. But as Cornwell, prolific author of works on Catholicism, suggests, the good cardinal had his detractors. The author suggests there may be sufficient contradictions in, and perhaps enough unanswered questions about, his subject's life to call into question Newman's upcoming beatification, expected in September. Newman's spiritual and, indeed, philosophical journey serves as a fascinating template for understanding the 19th-century Catholic Church and its trajectories into England. This is a wonderfully realized study of a complex man, required reading for every student of English history and its rich Christian tradition." -Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

Review on This Is Somerset website http://www.thisissomerset.co.uk/news/Non-fiction/article-2347945-detail/article.html

"Newman's lively self-awareness makes his letters fascinating as biography." The Oldie, 1st August 2010

"One particular strength of this book is the way Cornwall has quarried material from Newman's writings." The Tablet, 26th June 2010

"This timely and instructive work offers a concise and accessible account." Western Daily Press, 26th June 2010

"This is a wonderfully realized study of a complex man, required reading for every student of English history and its rich Christian tradition." Publishers Weekly (US) 12th July 2010

Mention in Tribune, 25th June 2010

'John Cornwell presents Newman as an independent, original genius who would have emphasised the role of conscience over authority to seek religious truth wherever it might lead.' Easy Riding News, July 2010

'Newman might have squirmed at the somlemn canonisation to which he is now powerlessly subjected' The Daily Telegraph 10th July 2010

'This present work has ruffled feathers among conservative Catholics, but it's an achievement ... [it] avoids hagiography and is squarely aimed at agnostics as well as admirers' The Evening Standard 15th July 2010

Mentioned in Christopher Howse's column in The Daily Telegraph, 10th July

'[Cornwell] admires Newman, but seeks to save him from hagiography and to remind us that he was a great and independent Christian thinker - one of the first, for instance, to accept the idea of evolution - and a master of English prose' The Guardian, 17th July (David Lodge)

'Cornwell is best on Newman the writer, linking him to the Romantic poets before him, and even Nietzsche after. His treatise 'Idea of a University' is surely required reading in today's cost-cutting, vocationally minded climate.' Financial Times

'This book is a highly readable attempt to convey why Newman was, and remains, a fascinating figure.' The Daily Telegraph, 19th July

Reviewed in The Catholic Herald, 16th July

'John Cornwell offers a readable biography in his usual polemic style'

'Cornwell ... knows his material and offers interesting insights.' Church of England Newspaper, 16th July, 2010

'this book ... remind[s] us of [Newman's] integrity and truthfulness and charisma' The Scotsman, also reproduced in Eastern Daily Press on 24th July 2010

'In this splendidly readable biography ... Cornwell recognises, as so many others have not, that Newman was first and foremost a writer - that his genius lay in "creating new ways of imagining and writing about religion" ... Illuminating.' London Review of Books, 5th August 2010 (Terry Eagleton)

'a vivid picture of Newman's personality' Times Literary Supplement, 28th July 2010

'Judicious ... an excellent introduction 'The Tablet, 24th July 2010

'I doubt if there will ever be a better book on Newman.' (Alasdair McIntyre, Senior Research Professor of Philosophy, University of Notre Dame)

'a ... most valuable book' Irish Times, 7th August 2010

'Practising Catholics will want to read this controversial book' Driffield Leader, August 2010

Reviewed in The Pastoral Review, September/October 2010 'Cornwell's biography shows that God was very much in work in soon to be Blessed John Henry Newman'

'Anyone remotely interested in the Catholic faith and what makes it endure despite its controversies should read this well researched and incisive biography'Reviewed by Jimmy Burns on http://www.jimmy-burns.com/blog/ , posted 15th September (UK)

Reviewed in The Melbourne Anglican, September 2010 (AUS)

Reviewed in The Church Times 17th September (UK) 'A most admirable introduction to its subject: ... it sparkles with carefully chosen quotations; and it is informed by a profound and intelligent engagement with Newman, based on a lifelong fascination with him.'


Reviewed in Renew newsletter September 2010 No. 155 (UK)


Reviewed on Spiked (UK), http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/reviewofbooks_article/9633/ 'The beauty of Cornwell's book is that it has very little to do with the issue of sainthood and everything to do with Newman's intellectual legacy and his astonishing literary output of theology, poetry, philosophy and history.'


Reviewed in Commonwealh magazine (UK) 'The book is sensible, judicious, extremely well written, and filled with aptly chosen quotations, from Newman himself (he was, as one critic put it, "perhaps, the very greatest master of...sarcasm in the English language"), and from friends and foes alike.'

Reviewed in The Oldie, October 2010 (UK)


Author's article in Prospect; 1st November 2010 (Prospect)

'The book looks beyond its subject, Newman being partly a pretext, possibly worthy, yet never wholly attractive and, as ideal, deserving of some erasure and rebuffing. Cornwell accomplishes this with almost invisible grace.' (Reviewed in the Quarterly Review by Stoddard Martin)

'I am, I confess, no theologian, but Cornwell's reflective mix of journalism and academic theology helped my understanding of Newman considerably.'
(Birmingham Post)

'Cornwell tells Newman's story in an attractive, readable way, rightly stressing the importance of Newman's Evangelical conversion at the age of fifteen.' (The Victorian)

'In these writings one gets the full weight of Newman's far-seeing insights into modern society, human nature, and religious faith.'
(Contemporary Review)

"When John Henry Newman converted from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism in 1845, it represented something of an anticlimax in the career of an Anglican divine and his efforts, through the influential Oxford Movement, to bring the English church back to its Catholic roots. A renowned scholar and thinker, Newman, in his lifetime, produced thousands of pages that some have considered the finest theological writing of his time. Even today Newman continues to shape the thoughts of aspiring theologians. But as Cornwell, prolific author of works on Catholicism, suggests, the good cardinal had his detractors. The author suggests there may be sufficient contradictions in, and perhaps enough unanswered questions about, his subject’s life to call into question Newman’s upcoming beatification, expected in September. Newman’s spiritual and, indeed, philosophical journey serves as a fascinating template for understanding the 19th-century Catholic Church and its trajectories into England. This is a wonderfully realized study of a complex man, required reading for every student of English history and its rich Christian tradition." -Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

'[Cornwell] admires Newman, but seeks to save him from hagiography and to remind us that he was a great and independent Christian thinker - one of the first, for instance, to accept the idea of evolution - and a master of English prose' The Guardian, 17th July (Sanford Lakoff)

'this book … remind[s] us of [Newman’s] integrity and truthfulness and charisma’ The Scotsman, also reproduced in Eastern Daily Press on 24th July 2010

'In this splendidly readable biography ... Cornwell recognises, as so many others have not, that Newman was first and foremost a writer - that his genius lay in "creating new ways of imagining and writing about religion" ... Illuminating.' London Review of Books, 5th August 2010 (Sanford Lakoff)

'a vivid picture of Newman’s personality' Times Literary Supplement, 28th July 2010

'Practising Catholics will want to read this controversial book’ Driffield Leader, August 2010

Reviewed in The Pastoral Review, September/October 2010 'Cornwell’s biography shows that God was very much in work in soon to be Blessed John Henry Newman’

'Anyone remotely interested in the Catholic faith and what makes it endure despite its controversies should read this well researched and incisive biography’Reviewed by Jimmy Burns on http://www.jimmy-burns.com/blog/ , posted 15th September (UK)

Reviewed in The Church Times 17th September (UK) 'A most admirable introduction to its subject: … it sparkles with carefully chosen quotations; and it is informed by a profound and intelligent engagement with Newman, based on a lifelong fascination with him.’


Reviewed on Spiked (UK), http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/reviewofbooks_article/9633/ 'The beauty of Cornwell’s book is that it has very little to do with the issue of sainthood and everything to do with Newman’s intellectual legacy and his astonishing literary output of theology, poetry, philosophy and history.’


Reviewed in Commonwealh magazine (UK) 'The book is sensible, judicious, extremely well written, and filled with aptly chosen quotations, from Newman himself (he was, as one critic put it, “perhaps, the very greatest master of...sarcasm in the English language”), and from friends and foes alike.’

Author's article in Prospect; 1st November 2010 (Sanford Lakoff)

'I am, I confess, no theologian, but Cornwell’s reflective mix of journalism and academic theology helped my understanding of Newman considerably.’
(Sanford Lakoff)

'Cornwell tells Newman’s story in an attractive, readable way, rightly stressing the importance of Newman’s Evangelical conversion at the age of fifteen.’ (Sanford Lakoff)

'In these writings one gets the full weight of Newman’s far-seeing insights into modern society, human nature, and religious faith.’
(Sanford Lakoff)

Mention (with cover image) in St. Anthony Messenger

About the Author

John Cornwell is a journalist and author with a lifelong interest in literature, religion, and science. His books have included A Thief in the Night, Hitler's Pope, and Seminary Boy. In 1984 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and currently directs the Science and Human Dimension Project at Jesus College, Cambridge.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Continuum International; First Edition edition (September 10, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1441150846
  • ISBN-13: 978-1441150844
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,459,583 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Peter M. Roach on January 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As an admirer of Newman since my student days in the 1950's at the University of Tasmania, it was a pleasure to read this biography - adding it to my other Newmanalia. The influence of this saintly scholar was remarkable. His work THE IDEA OF A UNIVERSITY greatly influenced the foundation of the University of Tasmania in the late 19th-century - as recorded in the archives of the University.

My copy of his APOLOGIA carries as a supplement a letter of appreciation from the Tasmanian clergy led by our first Bishop, Robert Willson - himself a quite remarkable Englishmen and friend of the outstanding architect, Augustus Welby Pugin - written as early as November 22, 1864 and concluding with the words
".. from this distant land we beg to convey to you, very Rev and dear Sir, the sentiments of our affection and respect, and deep veneration".

Having had the honour and pleasure of being in the study of that great man; of seeing his library; and of standing at the desk at which he stood when he wrote the APOLOGIA, I am pleased to add this volume to others recounting the life and thought of Newman.

My principal disappointment was the failure to develop sufficiently the theme of his pastoral care from Birmingham: care which embraced a far wider section of society than any University - especially his beloved Oxford.

Peter M. Roach,
Hobart,
Tasmania,
AUSTRALIA
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Michael D. True on May 31, 2011
Format: Hardcover
A major achievement in biography, Cornwell's study is a splendid account of Newman, in all his complexity and achievement. The biographies of Ian Ker and Meriol Trevor survey Newman's life and times with great skill, but Cornwell's book provides a three dimensional portrait of the writer, clergyman, teacher, and, yes, saint. One returns to Cornwel's book again and again for precise, sympathetic, yet dispassionate evaluations of his full life. As one of the greatest prose writers in English, amid controversy and criticism from the ultra- montanes and his English contemporaries, Newman maintained an incredible schedule of publications, as well as journals and letters, community building, scholarship, and ministry, all beautiful conveyed in Cornwell's readable and artful prose.

Michael True
Emeritus Professor
Assumption College
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By John D. Cofield TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 4, 2012
Format: Paperback
Its an unfortunate fact of our time that deeply religious people are not always believed to be either highly intelligent or very well educated. And its another unfortunate fact that deeply religious people today sometimes take a dim view of science and philosophy and regard higher education as suspect. Such was not always the case, as this fine biography of John Henry Newman, who was raised as an Anglican and converted to Roman Catholicism and ranked as one of the nineteenth century's leading intellectuals, demonstrates.

John Cornwell's biography of Newman begins with the controversy to which his title refers: the fact that Newman was buried at his own request in the same grave as one of his close male friends and confidantes, Father Ambrose St. John. When Newman was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI a few years ago this request was used by some to argue that Newman and St. John had been lovers. Of course there can be no definitive answer to this now, but Cornwell does an excellent job of describing Newman's many close friendships with other intelligent and deeply religious men and points out that such friendships, with or without a sexual component, have been common throughout history.

Its unfortunate that the question of his putative sexuality (Newman was undeniably chaste throughout his long life) has been so prominent, because Newman deserves to be well known for much more. He was a preeminent priest and preacher both as an Anglican and as a Catholic. He was an ardent advocate of higher education and of the benefits of a university devoted to freedom of thought and debate and defended the study of science and the natural world, becoming one of the first religious leaders to declare that evolution was not in conflict with Christianity.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Senex on January 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In contrast to the Ian Ker biography, a biography more massive and more scholarly, this book gives a much more vivid portrait of Newman the man and his relationships with others. He was kind, prissy, brilliant, touchy, and had a vision of the Church that revitalized the C of E and animated the RCC of his day. Most timely now at the time of the Anglican Ordinariates, in which many Anglicans are following his light leading the way into communion with the ancient Church.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Chris B. on April 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Good insight into a devoted man who after years of inner turmoil left a comfortable position to follow his conscience. A Saint, reluctant or not.
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