Authors: John Cornwell
Tags: #Biographies & Memoirs, #Leaders & Notable People, #Religious, #Catholicism
NEWMAN’S UNQUIET GRAVE
By the same Author
COLERIDGE: 1772–1804 EARTH TO EARTH
A THIEF IN THE NIGHT
POWERS OF DARKNESS POWERS OF LIGHT NATURE’S IMAGINATION (Ed.)
POWER TO HARM
CONSCIOUSNESS AND HUMAN IDENTITY (Ed.) HITLER’S POPE
BREAKING FAITH EXPLANATIONS (Ed.)
HITLER’S SCIENTISTS PONTIFF IN WINTER SEMINARY BOY DARWIN’S ANGEL
FREE AND BALANCED (with Colin Legum)
PHILOSOPHERS AND GOD (Ed. with Michael McGhee)
THE SPOILED PRIEST SEVEN OTHER DEMONS
Newman’s Unquiet Grave
THE RELUCTANT SAINT
Published by the Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd The Tower Building 80 Maiden Lane
11 York Road Suite 704
London New York
SE1 7NX NY 10038
Copyright © John Cornwell, 2010
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or any information storage or retrieval system, without prior permission from the publishers.
First published 2010
British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. ISBN 978-1441-15084-4
Designed and typeset in Adobe Minion by Tony Lansbury, Tonbridge, Kent. Printed and bound by the MPG Books Group, Bodmin, Cornwall.
In memory of Henry Francis ‘Ikey’ Davis
O unforgotten voice, thy accents come, Like wanderers from the world’s extremity, Unto their ancient home.
MATTHEW ARNOLD, ‘THE VOICE’, 1849
This page intentionally left blank
This page intentionally left blank
Anyone writing about Newman’s life and character faces the problem – where to begin? He believed his story would be revealed in his letters. ‘It has ever been a hobby of mine (unless it be a truism, not a hobby) that a man’s life lies in his letters.’
Newman’s correspondence allows him at every juncture – he died in 1890 aged 89 – to speak for himself, although selectivity and extensive familiarity are crucial. He had a remarkable, dialectical capacity to hold in tension two sides of an argument. To read through the 32 published volumes (to date) of his letters and diaries is a daunting yet rewarding task: tenderness, waspish wit, feline sensitivity, irony; literary brilliance, theological and philosophical pro-fundity; intriguing mixed messages and maddening paradoxes – amidst a mass of diurnal business, like so many diamonds set in lead. The voluminous records of his dealings over money, property, litigation, ecclesiastical squabbles, locate him in a busy, often fretful life. He could read a balance sheet and negotiate a property deal with the best of them. There is nothing about him of the reclusive scholar-monk (
le grand reclus,
as the Abbé Bremond put it grandiloquently but inappropriately); still less the plaster saint.
No one attempting a portrait of Newman can fail to pay tribute to the editorial labours involved in the publication of his letters and diaries under the auspices of the Birmingham Oratory across a span of fifty years. There has been, besides, an ever growing proliferation of Newman scholarship – commentary, monographs, proceedings of conferences – taking soundings across the wide seas of his thought. He has been the subject, moreover, of no fewer than four major biographies in the twentieth century, and many minor portraits. His principal living scholar-biographers, Dr Ian Ker, of the University of Oxford, and Professor Sheridan Gilley, of Durham University, are essential reading for the student of Newman. I am substantially in their debt. The biographies of Wilfrid Ward (1906) and the late Meriol Trevor (1962) remain crucial for the student too. I have derived considerable profit, moreover, from commentaries on Newman in essays and books by the late Stephen Dessain and Henry Tristram, Nicholas Lash, Owen Chadwick, Avery Dulles, Stephen Prickett, the late John Coulson, Roderick Strange, Frank M. Turner, to name but a few.