Book Review

A Review of “Manalive” by G.K. Chesterton

  • PAUL JOSEPH PREZZIA

“What does ‘literature’ have to do with saving one’s soul?”

This question surely has a long and distinguished lineage, all the way back to the Church Father Tertullian, who asked a similar question about the value of pagan philosophy for Christian study: “What does Athens have to do with Jerusalem?” Far from being an obstacle to a spiritual life or even a harmless accessory, reading the right kind of stories can be critical to moral formation.  The successful parrying and defeat of sin is too adventurous a thing to be fully described in a catechism or completely prepared for by paging through a spiritual writer.  Catechisms and spiritual writers are important, but men need stories too.  One such tale is Manalive, one of G.K. Chesterton’s most joyful novels and a battle-cry against a deadly sin.

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