The Damnation of Theron Ware or Illumination

The Damnation of Theron Ware or Illumination Published in The Damnation of Theron Ware or Illumination is a profound psychological portrait of the spiritual undoing of a guileless Methodist minister who is taken in by a rural townspeople s

  • Title: The Damnation of Theron Ware or Illumination
  • Author: Harold Frederic Joyce Carol Oates
  • ISBN: 9780375760358
  • Page: 118
  • Format: Paperback
  • Published in 1896, The Damnation of Theron Ware or Illumination is a profound psychological portrait of the spiritual undoing of a guileless Methodist minister who is taken in by a rural townspeople s various progressive ideas, from liberalism to bohemianism, only to be spurned by them for being too conventional Described by Everett Carter as among the four or five bestPublished in 1896, The Damnation of Theron Ware or Illumination is a profound psychological portrait of the spiritual undoing of a guileless Methodist minister who is taken in by a rural townspeople s various progressive ideas, from liberalism to bohemianism, only to be spurned by them for being too conventional Described by Everett Carter as among the four or five best novels written by an American during the nineteenth century, the novel, as Joyce Carol Oates writes in her Introduction, has shrewd, disturbing insights into the human pysche This Modern Library Paperback Classic is set from the text of the authoritative Harold Frederic Edition.

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      118 Harold Frederic Joyce Carol Oates
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    About "Harold Frederic Joyce Carol Oates"

    1. Harold Frederic Joyce Carol Oates

      Frederic was born in Utica, New York, to Presbyterian parents After his father was killed in a train accident when Frederic was 18 months old, the boy was raised primarily by his mother He finished school at fifteen, and soon began work as a photographer For four years he was a photographic touch up artist in his hometown and in Boston In 1875 he began work as a proofreader for the Utica Herald and then the Utica Daily Observer Frederic later became a reporter, and by 1882 he was editor of the Albany Evening Journal.Two years later he went to live in England as London correspondent of the New York Times He retained this job for the rest of his life He was soon recognized for his ability both as a writer and as a talker He wrote several early stories, but it was not until he published Illumination 1896 , better known by its American title, The Damnation of Theron Ware, followed by Gloria Mundi 1898 , that his gifts as a novelist were fully realized Jonathan Yardley called Damnation a minor classic of realism.Frederic married Grace Green Williams in 1877, and they had five children Sometime between 1889 and 1890, he met Kate Lyon, who became his mistress Frederic and Lyon established a second household, living openly together they had three children Lyon was a Christian Scientist who, when Frederic suffered a stroke in 1898, tried to cure him through faith healing After his death, she was tried on charges of manslaughter and acquitted Frederic was interred in Forest Hill Cemetery in Utica, New York.

    239 thoughts on “The Damnation of Theron Ware or Illumination”

    1. Frederic, Harold. THE DAMNATION OF THERON WARE. (1896). ****. I first read this novel back in 1959 for a course called “The Advent of Realism in the American Novel.” The course required reading twenty books during three months – most of them, including this one, I had never heard of before. Back then, I already knew everything and this novel, after reading it, seemed a great bore. Reading it now, I am amazed at what a landmark piece it was in America’s literary development. I don’t kno [...]

    2. Reading Thoughts: 22 JAN 2014 -- Having been visited upon by the "trinity of evil," Theron makes a veiled threat and, poof, the evil trinity is gone. I know they will be back!28 JAN 2014 -- Theron is a young man feeling his way in the world. He is too naive to really understand the machinations of the narrow-minded thinking of the trinity of evil. This committee of churchmen have long forgotten the beauty of the Church. 29 JAN 2014 -- Typical man-thought! Theron is acting in an inappropriate man [...]

    3. Once again, I've read a book that never once would've come into contact with my bookshelf had it not been for my American Lit class. I hadn't heard of The Damnation of Theron Ware until it showed up on the syllabus, but, being one never to shy away from a good story about goin' to hell, I looked forward to Harold Frederic's minor classic. And, fortunately, it turned out to be a damn fine novel. (I made a pun. I'm witty.)Now makes for a good time to drop some knowledge gleaned from American Lit: [...]

    4. This is an extraordinary book. I wish that I had read it while in school to be more fully aware of the symbolism throughout, but the young minister's story is compelling on even the most superficial level of plot. Reverend Theron Ware is assigned to serve a congregation in a dull and extremely conservative backwater, where paradoxically, he encounters the most irresistible of temptations: the life of the mind. The consequences for his vocation, his marriage and his worldview are seismic. The pro [...]

    5. Assigned for a class, this book had all the makings of being a real bore. It’s a 19th century book on a Methodist minister, written by an author I had never heard lauded, with Victorian language (flowery!). I was looking forward to reading something less dry than what I had been reading for class but given the other books assigned, this was not difficult. Boy, I was surprised by this book. It’s ability to go into new depths regarding the troubles facing pastors in the 19th century and today [...]

    6. Illumination is the only title this book should really have. This is not a Gothic horror of a young man's fall from grace, the sort of thing I so loved in Le Calvaire and which Octave Mirbeau depicted so exquisitely. This tale is too American for that.What I thought about while reading is that history, as good as it is, can never give you the vivid picture of an era that a good novel can. And this novel is good. The story tells how a naive young Protestant preacher of the 1880's in New York Stat [...]

    7. I wish we had more from Frederic, as I really loved this novel. Some might say the irony is a bit overdone, but I love the twists it adds to his tale. You can neither absolutely condemn nor admire just about any of these characters. The only one whose potential for redemption is Alice, but even then we see very little of her and her association with Theron and passive role makes it difficult to fully engage. Frederic spares no one in this tale, offering a grim outlook for a humanity which underg [...]

    8. Theron Ware is a Methodist minister sent to a small town called Octavius to provide the spiritual sustenance for a very small congregation. Therein he must navigate the competing demands of his own heart, those of his wife, and his church trustees. He also comes to learn of some of the less pure aspects of the church and falls in with a Catholic priest, a man of science, and a seductively decadent rich girl who variously tempt and enlighten him in any number of ways. By the time Ware is deemed a [...]

    9. I liked this very much. Very easy to read with an engaging plot. There were no real cliff hangers at the ends of chapters but I certainly wanted read into the next chapter. The author does a great job of engaging the reader with an interesting plot while weaving in his themes without being pedantic. And I enjoyed some of the subtle humor/satire of the thoughts inside the character's heads. Theron is certainly a weak and immature character with little redeeming qualities. Yet I did feel sorry for [...]

    10. The only thing interesting to me about this book was its repeated concept of degenerateness, spiritual and physical. The sins of the father becoming encoded genetically and spiritually upon the son, until ultimately a line would die out from utter decrepitude.The plot is relatively simple. A young preacher is posted to a town. He means well but is vain and shallow and doesn't understand the larger social politics at work. Hence, certain doom for the naive idiot. His main detractor is a woman who [...]

    11. I wish it didn't have a happy(ish) ending. I was hoping for total damnation.For a book that was written in 1896, it's remarkably contemporary and is highly recommended for all teenage and twenty-something boys and men. Some things you need to see written down.

    12. A naive Methodist minister encounters a learned doctor and an old Catholic priest who suggest to him ideas altogether new to his intellect. He is taken by these new thoughts and reads many progressive books and quickly transforms from the audience to "backstage," where "you see that the trees and houses are cloth, and the moon is tissue paper, and the flying fairy is a middle-aged woman strung up on a rope. That doesn't prove the play, out in front, isn't beautiful and affecting, it only shows t [...]

    13. Basically a major mid-life crisis.This is a longish 3 part relationship story of Evanglist Theron. It was written in 1896 in realist style centred in a small town near New York and its religious communities. It was actually a rather simple yet cleverly deep story: Theron a happily married protestant leader decides to write a book about the biblical person Abraham and goes to the Catholic priest Forbes and his scholar doctor friend Ledsmar to get some help. Theron in one conversation learns how n [...]

    14. If more older books were as engaging as this hundred-year-old book, I'd read more of them. This was recommended to me quite a while back by my friend George Minot, and it was a good recommendation. A young Methodist minister, hoping for an appointment to a fashionable urban church, is appointed instead to a small, backward-looking, congregation in a small town. Ironically, it is there that, in spite of his ingrained anti-Catholicism and suspicion of modernism, he befriends the local Catholic pri [...]

    15. A young, naive and idealistic Methodist preacher is posted to a church in upstate New York where he is dismayed by the pettiness and small-mindedness of his congregation and seeks solace in the intellectual and aesthetic company of a Catholic priest, a wealthy bohemian Irish girl and an agnostic scientist. His eyes are opened to another world, which shows him the hollowness of both rote religion and intellectual striving and the emptiness of his own character which is culminates in breakdown.I'v [...]

    16. One of the best novels I’ve read on the subjects of personal mediocrity and intellectual frustration. Theron Ware is a late-19th-century preacher whose cushy job and loving wife don’t shield him from a shallow desire to experience something — anything — more. He tries to write a book, but is no scholar; he tries to flirt with a lovely young pianist, but is no Romeo. He commits no great sins, but finds embarrassment and failure proportionate to his foolhardy ambitions.And yet, at the end [...]

    17. My journey to this book was a long and dogged one. My friend Mary first suggested it several years ago, and our local library didn't carry it. The rest of my reading list intervened, and when I put out an all-call for reading suggestions, she nudged me again. I made a purchase request to the Seattle Public Library, and they eventually saw fit to acquire four copies for the system, and probably got the first read in the city.No classic work of American fiction has ever before made me wish I was r [...]

    18. Romans 12:3 says, "By the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned." I take this story to be a haunting parable of self-delusion. Theron Ware thought himself to be something he wasn't. He thought the ministry would provide a context for prominence. And he put on airs in a ridiculous way. He fooled himself, but he didn't fool anybody else. [...]

    19. I can't decide if I totally hated this book or if I didn't really like it, but it was still well-written and interesting. I certainly didn't like it at all, but I can't say it was horrible or poorly done. I suppose I don't like a lot of realism, and that is what this book is. All I got from it was basically: conservative, blinding religion screws people up and they go crazy when they taste the outside world. I read it in a literature class, and most of the other students really liked it, so I gu [...]

    20. Theron Ware is a young Methodist clergyman during he late 1800's. Raised on a farm he is very innocent and traditional in his beliefs. He is moved to a new town where he falls int othe orbit of some very secular sophisticates. He falls in love with one of them, and has he puffs himself up into something he is not, he begins to lose his wife, his faith, and his grasp on reality. In the climax of the book the woman he thinks he loves rejects him, and by extenion the rest of the sophisticated crowd [...]

    21. A classic American book, I wish I could give it more stars. Theron Ware is a young Methodist minister who wishes to preach at an urban city with more prestige and a higher salary. Unfortunately the Methodist Conference assigns him to the small rustic town of Octavius, thought to be based on the author's hometown of Utica, Ny. He loathes his parishioners but falls in love with the catholic culture in his community and escapes to it as much as possible. He plans to make up for his meager salary by [...]

    22. Very good. "Evidently there was an intellectual world, a world of culture and grace, of lofty thoughts and the inspiring communion of real knowledge, where creeds were not of importance, and where men asked one another, not "Is your soul saved?", but "Is your mind well furnished?"Would be of particular interest to Catholics and Methodists, and to a lesser degree, to people who grew up in the Shenandoah Valley of New York and want to get a glimpse of life there 120 years ago. note on this book: " [...]

    23. Several years ago I listened to a lecture series on Religion in America. This book was one of the three that they recommended at the end of the series. It presents a window onto what religion was like in the late 19th century; it is also a good story. It chronicles the slow descent of the Reverend Theron Ware into disbelief, and I think it gave a pretty accurate portrayal of self-deception and pride, as seen from the inside out. The book dragged quite a bit in the middle, but it picked up toward [...]

    24. An interesting book that many are trying to reclaim as an American classic. The reader travels with Theron Ware, a Methodist pastor in the 1890s as his character rapidly goes from a model of simple faith to one whose exposure to a broader world leads to a Faustian fall. It is a thoughtful piece that is speaking to a time in faith when broader study and the historical critical method started to inform theology at many levels. But at times, Theron Ware resonates as a pretty flat, spineless charact [...]

    25. This book is often considered one of the great American novels of the 19th century. It feels far more modern than that because it addresses the challenge to faith by scientific, logical and aesthetic critiques. The writing is very good although the characters quickly make one think of Elmer Gantry but with more intellectual reflection. It also recalls the opening sections of In the Beauty of the Lilies. A book that prvides a nice "slice" of life in the 1890's in America. A story that unfolds qui [...]

    26. After reading this book I had more questions than answers about the rewards of piety, and the consequences of pragmatism. The protagonist is easy to identify with in his hopes and ambitions as well as his vulnerability to pride and temptation. Those issues are timeless, as is Frederic's prose. I recommend this especially to those with an opportunity to discuss the book with others - either a book club, or to read it with a friend. "The Damnation of Theron Ware" would lend itself to satisfying ph [...]

    27. My son made me read this. He got pretty excited about it because of a college class that focussed on literary realism. Personally, he saw in himself similarities to the hypocrisy of Theron Ware. Oh, Philip, you're not even close. Ware was an interesting character insofar as he was completely unaware of his hipocracy. You're far too honestly introspective to be anything like him.This is a brand of realism that I have no enthusiasm for. It's part of that tradition which examines the spiritual pove [...]

    28. There were parts of the writing I really enjoyed. Some of the descriptions were lovely and made the story feel more dimensional and I could picture the scene in my head. I was, however, not impressed with the characters or plot. I read this for one of my college seminar courses and while I thought it did a nice job of providing interesting discussion in class, it wasn't something that I would recommend to other people. I didn't like it.*Taken from My Sentiments Exactly!: reviewsatmse/2013

    29. I first read this back in college for an assignment in obscure American realism writers and fell for it instantly. I've managed to track it down (Frederic isn't as readily in print as many of his contemporaries) and have read it a time or so since with equal enjoyment. Perfect for those who question the ideals and regimen of orthodox ethics, it gives a very human view of a good man's downfall when his life falls short of his expectations.

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