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The Rhetoric of Redemption

Chesterton, Ethical Criticism, and the Common Man

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Alan R. Blackstock

The Rhetoric of Redemption: Chesterton, Ethical Criticism, and the Common Man examines the literary criticism written by G. K. Chesterton between 1902 and 1913 from a rhetorical standpoint to ascertain whether Chesterton did in fact create the «criticism for the common man» he aimed for. To answer this question, this book explores the relationships among writers, readers, books, and critics both during the time Chesterton first began writing and in the context of rhetorical and critical tradition from Plato to the present day. Ultimately, this book argues that Chesterton's unorthodox approach to literature, while still dismissed by the academic establishment, raises fundamental questions about the nature and function of literature and criticism that need to be raised anew in every generation and especially in the wake of each new critical episteme.
The Rhetoric of Redemption is extremely useful for both scholars and students of literary criticism and Chesterton enthusiasts who are interested in his approach to literature. This book would also be a valuable resource for courses in nineteenth-century British literature, literary criticism, and rhetorical analysis.

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Acknowledgments vii

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Acknowledgments Publication of this book was made possible by grants from the Utah State University English department, the Uintah Basin campus of Utah State University, and the Text and Academic Authors Association. I am indebted to all the institutions and individuals involved for their assistance in bringing this work to completion. The woodcut that graces the cover was created and supplied by my friend, colleague, and fellow Chesterton admirer Charles Aldrich. I would also like to thank my dissertation committee at the University of New Mexico, chaired by Professor Lynndianne Beene, who shepherded the work through its early stages and provided much invaluable direction, as well as the editors at all the journals wherein parts of this work previously appeared, for their helpful suggestions. And most of all, I’d like to thank my parents, Albert and Doris Blackstock, and the rest of my family and friends for their encouragement, support, and patience throughout the years. Alan R. Blackstock, June 27, 2012 Permissions Acknowledgments Chapters Five and Seven of this book previously appeared in slightly different form in Religion and Literature. Reprint permission granted by the University of Notre Dame, Religion & Literature, Issue 36.2 (Sum- mer 2004). Chapter Six, “With Considerable Art: Chesterton on Blake, Browning, and Shaw,” previously appeared in Renascence: Essays on Values in Litera- ture. Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI: Copyright 2009. Reprinted by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved. Parts of Chapter 9 appeared in slightly different form in The Rocky Mountain Review of Language and Literature....

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