The Finding of the Book

The Finding of the Book - William Alexander The Rev. Alexander was certainly a learned and widely-read gentleman, but I can't say I'm much of a fan of this collection. I find, having left it a few days, that it has left little impression on me; Alexander puts together elegant images, but they seem more discursive than impressive. The one time he exhibits any real fire is when he starts attacking Renan, the controversial author of "Life of Jesus", who dared to explore that subject from a secular point of view. What is interesting is that Alexander was clearly intrigued - and clearly had to work to get back to his faith-based point of view. He seems also to have responded quite strongly to the art of his period, having a series of poems which refer to particular paintings; the one I remember is in praise of a grey seashore scene by Henry Moore (the painter not the sculptor), which Alexander finds to be much the better for not introducing vivid colours. I looked up the painting on the internet, and it is indeed quite bleak.

Alexander takes the usual modest stance of the dilettante in his introduction and Envoi, but I suspect he was rather proud of these efforts (he reproduces his Oxford prize poem, along with one of his son, who also won an Oxford prize).

Anyway, it's never a complete waste of time to spend a few hours in communion with the thoughts of someone both articulate and perceptive, and Alexander is both.