LISTEN: Spirituality as Quest, Pt. 7 — Hermann Hesse; Reading a Story, Pt. 11 — Plot (Literature and Spirituality #11 with Daniel Whyte III)

Daniel Whyte III
Daniel Whyte III

Literature is defined as “imaginative or creative writing, especially of recognized artistic value.” Spirituality is defined as “the quality or state of being concerned with religion or religious matters.” The purpose of this podcast is to examine how these two subjects intersect with one another and how they relate to our lives.

Our passage from the Word of God today is 1 Kings 11:41 which reads: “And the rest of the acts of Solomon, and all that he did, and his wisdom, are they not written in the book of the acts of Solomon?”

Our quote today is from Ezra Pound. He said: “Great literature is simply language charged with meaning to the utmost possible degree.”

In this podcast, we are using as our texts: “Literature and Spirituality” by Yaw Adu-Gyamfi and Mark Ray Schmidt, and “Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing” by X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. If you enjoy this podcast, please feel free to purchase any one of these books from our website.

Our first topic for today is “Spirituality as Quest, Part 7 – Hermann Hesse” from the book, “Literature and Spirituality” by Yaw Adu-Gyamfi and Mark Ray Schmidt.

Hermann Hesse (1877-1962) grew up in a German home that was very committed to Christianity. However, he left those roots and looked for other ways to understand the nature of spirituality. He often turned to the religious traditions of India for inspiration. In addition to his spiritual struggles, his life was filled with many personal, psychological, and marital problems.

Our second topic for today is “Reading a Story, Part 11” from the book, “Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing” by X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia.

Plot: Like a fable, the Grimm brothers’ “Godfather Death” tale seems stark in its lack of detail and in the swiftness of its telling. Compared with the fully portrayed characters of many modern stories, the characters of father, son, king, princess, and even Death himself seem hardly more than stick figures. It may have been that to draw ample characters would not have contributed to the storytellers’ design; that, indeed, to have done so would have been inartistic. Yet “Godfather Death” is a compelling story. By what methods does it arouse and sustain our interest?

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