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Christianity and Culture [Paperback]

T. S. Eliot
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 14 1960
Two long essays: The Idea of a Christian Society on the direction of religious thought toward criticism of political and economic systems; and Notes towards the Definition of Culture on culture, its meaning, and the dangers threatening the legacy of the Western world.

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About the Author

(Thomas Stearns Eliot), 1888–1965, American-British poet and critic, b. St. Louis, Mo. One of the most distinguished literary figures of the 20th cent., T. S. Eliot won the 1948 Nobel Prize in Literature. He studied at Harvard, the Sorbonne, and Oxford. In 1914 he established residence in London and in 1927 became a British subject. After working as a teacher and a bank clerk he began a publishing career; he was assistant editor of the Egoist (1917–19) and edited his own quarterly, the Criterion (1922–39). In 1925 he was employed by the publishing house of Faber and Faber, eventually becoming one of its directors.—continue at Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Copyright © 2002 Columbia University Press.

He is most famous for such poems as "The Love Song of Alfred J. Prufrock" and "The Waste Land." He was born in St. Louis, Missouri, but spent most of his adult life living in London, England.

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars T.S. Eliot: an astounding writer July 31 2000
Format:Paperback
T.S. Eliot is known as one of the world's foremost poets and playwrights, but this book shows him as a brilliant essayist, philosopher, and theologian as well. This book consists of two essays: "The Idea of a Christian Society" and "Notes Toward the Definition of Culture." In these two essays, Eliot displays his mental prowess by cutting to the heart of the issues of culture in general in the second essay and specifically Christian culture in the first. His analysis of these subjects is very orderly, well-thought, and deeper than most any written today, even by sociologists and the like who make a career of studying these things. Eliot breaks culture down into three subclasses: individual, group/class, and whole society. He begins with the individual level of society, analyzing personality characteristics and the like, and moves his way up into group/class and then to the whole society, giving an extremely thoughtful and insightful argument into how these elements relate. Although this book was written over 50 years ago and isn't the most conventional look at these subjects, many of the things Eliot asserts are becoming obvious in today's society, proving him as not only a great writer but also as an accomplished thinker. He goes into great detail on class, geographic regions, sects, politics, religion, and education in relation to culture and society. While the writing is a bit more verbose and difficult than the average modern reader is used to, it is extremely logical; Eliot carefully builds each argument one step at a time. This order makes it possible to gain a great deal of understanding if the reader is willing to wade through the text and ponder what is written. Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a fascinating book! March 8 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I bought this book unsure of how 'enlightened' it would be. To my surprise and delight I have found the book alarmingly courageous and specific in its ideas of the Christian person within a secular society. His writing is profoundly moving and expressive, but then again, he is one of the greatest modern poets. I literally had to refrain myself from highlighting every other line of this book, it is that original. I felt as though I were reading a classic novel instead of a book on cultural ideas. A life-changing book to be sure!
Was this review helpful to you?
4.0 out of 5 stars T.S. Eliot: an astounding writer June 28 2000
Format:Paperback
T.S. Eliot is known as one of the world's foremost poets and playwrights, but this book shows him as a brilliant essayist, philosopher, and theologian as well. This book consists of two essays: "The Idea of a Christian Society" and "Notes Toward the Definition of Culture." In these two essays, Eliot displays his mental prowess by cutting to the heart of the issues of culture in general in the second essay and specifically Christian culture in the first. His analysis of these subjects is very orderly, well-thought, and deeper than most any written today, even by sociologists and the like who make a career of studying these things. Eliot breaks culture down into three subclasses: individual, group/class, and whole society. He begins with the individual level of society, analyzing personality characteristics and the like, and moves his way up into group/class and then to the whole society, giving an extremely thoughtful and insightful argument into how these elements relate. Although this book was written over 50 years ago and isn't the most conventional look at these subjects, many of the things Eliot asserts are becoming obvious in today's society, proving him as not only a great writer but also as an accomplished thinker. He goes into great detail on class, geographic regions, sects, politics, religion, and education in relation to culture and society. While the writing is a bit more verbose and difficult than the average modern reader is used to, it is extremely logical; Eliot carefully builds each argument one step at a time. This order makes it possible to gain a great deal of understanding if the reader is willing to wade through the text and ponder what is written. Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genius Nov. 20 2001
Format:Paperback
This book is as clear an exposition as one can get on the vital importance of not only Christianity and Culture but on the interconnectedness of the two. Particularly in that one can virtually have no culture without Christianity. Additionally, it clearly delineates the overwhelming superiority of Western Christian Civilization and Culture and the inferior and illegitimate nature of foreign cultures and religions.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
82 of 84 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars T.S. Eliot: an astounding writer June 27 2000
By Brian Douglas - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
T.S. Eliot is known as one of the world's foremost poets and playwrights, but this book shows him as a brilliant essayist, philosopher, and theologian as well. This book consists of two essays: "The Idea of a Christian Society" and "Notes Toward the Definition of Culture." In these two essays, Eliot displays his mental prowess by cutting to the heart of the issues of culture in general in the second essay and specifically Christian culture in the first. His analysis of these subjects is very orderly, well-thought, and deeper than most any written today, even by sociologists and the like who make a career of studying these things. Eliot breaks culture down into three subclasses: individual, group/class, and whole society. He begins with the individual level of society, analyzing personality characteristics and the like, and moves his way up into group/class and then to the whole society, giving an extremely thoughtful and insightful argument into how these elements relate. Although this book was written over 50 years ago and isn't the most conventional look at these subjects, many of the things Eliot asserts are becoming obvious in today's society, proving him as not only a great writer but also as an accomplished thinker. He goes into great detail on class, geographic regions, sects, politics, religion, and education in relation to culture and society. While the writing is a bit more verbose and difficult than the average modern reader is used to, it is extremely logical; Eliot carefully builds each argument one step at a time. This order makes it possible to gain a great deal of understanding if the reader is willing to wade through the text and ponder what is written. I guarantee that even though many readers won't necessarily understand initially or perhaps agree with everything Eliot asserts in this book, anyone who reads it will end up with a far greater understanding of the workings of society. I recommend this book to anyone who is willing to be stretched in an intellectual way and anyone who seeks to gain a great insight into culture at its various levels and as a whole.
45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a fascinating book! March 8 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I bought this book unsure of how 'enlightened' it would be. To my surprise and delight I have found the book alarmingly courageous and specific in its ideas of the Christian person within a secular society. His writing is profoundly moving and expressive, but then again, he is one of the greatest modern poets. I literally had to refrain myself from highlighting every other line of this book, it is that original. I felt as though I were reading a classic novel instead of a book on cultural ideas. A life-changing book to be sure!
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars T.S. Eliot: an astounding writer July 31 2000
By Brian Douglas - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
T.S. Eliot is known as one of the world's foremost poets and playwrights, but this book shows him as a brilliant essayist, philosopher, and theologian as well. This book consists of two essays: "The Idea of a Christian Society" and "Notes Toward the Definition of Culture." In these two essays, Eliot displays his mental prowess by cutting to the heart of the issues of culture in general in the second essay and specifically Christian culture in the first. His analysis of these subjects is very orderly, well-thought, and deeper than most any written today, even by sociologists and the like who make a career of studying these things. Eliot breaks culture down into three subclasses: individual, group/class, and whole society. He begins with the individual level of society, analyzing personality characteristics and the like, and moves his way up into group/class and then to the whole society, giving an extremely thoughtful and insightful argument into how these elements relate. Although this book was written over 50 years ago and isn't the most conventional look at these subjects, many of the things Eliot asserts are becoming obvious in today's society, proving him as not only a great writer but also as an accomplished thinker. He goes into great detail on class, geographic regions, sects, politics, religion, and education in relation to culture and society. While the writing is a bit more verbose and difficult than the average modern reader is used to, it is extremely logical; Eliot carefully builds each argument one step at a time. This order makes it possible to gain a great deal of understanding if the reader is willing to wade through the text and ponder what is written. I guarantee that even though many readers won't necessarily understand initially or perhaps agree with everything Eliot asserts in this book, anyone who reads it will end up with a far greater understanding of the workings of society. I recommend this book to anyone who is willing to be stretched in an intellectual way and anyone who seeks to gain a great insight into culture at its various levels and as a whole.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, simply amazing! May 14 2011
By Gabriel J. Benton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
There are the books that one finds that tell one what to think. There are the books that tell one how to think. And then there are the books that just simply let one think and ruminate and ponder the complexity of thought like rich brandy. This book belongs to the latter category. T. S. Eliot, like his sometime sparing partner and fellow Anglican C. S. Lewis, just demands and captures our complete attention to every fine detail of this written two part and many colored symphony. This book deserves to be made into a hardcover edition and sold along side "Mere Christianity" it just that well done! Read, learn, think, and enjoy!
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth your time...for several reads July 19 2005
By A. Garland - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
What strikes me about this book is that Eliot, for the most part, posits blatant assertions without much logical, analytic proof. And yet, he does not fail to convince, perhaps largely because his vision is so clear and relevant. He draws from common experience to validate what he says, and after reading his argument, one is impressed by the lucidity and transformational power of his argument. He does not come across as a man ranting on the apparent decadence and failure of modern society; rather, he leaves the impression of a man truly concerned with the condition of society and with a genuine desire for its improvement. When you look at the copyright date, it becomes even more impressive.
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