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Raymond Williams, 25 June 1987

Joachim of Fiore and the Myth of the Eternal Evangel in the 19th Century 
by Marjorie Reeves and Warwick Gould.
Oxford, 365 pp., £35, March 1987, 0 19 826672 3
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Beauty and Belief: Aesthetics and Religion in Victorian Literature 
by Hilary Fraser.
Cambridge, 287 pp., £25, January 1987, 0 521 30767 8
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The Correspondence of John Ruskin and Charles Eliot Norton 
edited by John Bradley and Ian Ousby.
Cambridge, 537 pp., £45, April 1987, 0 521 32091 7
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... the jetsam has its fascination: yet there is also a more serious problem, which the new study by Reeves and Gould directly addresses. By what actual processes are ideas preserved, circulated and developed? ‘Can the ideas of one person or group lurk around in the atmosphere, having, as it were, a continuing life of their own, so that they can be plucked out ...
The Name of the Rose 
by Umberto Eco, translated by William Weaver.
Secker, 502 pp., £8.95, October 1983, 0 436 14089 6
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... this personage. The logic of the situation as the Spirituals understood it is neatly expressed by Marjorie Reeves: ‘the true Pope could not err, the Rule of St Francis could not be modified, therefore a pontiff who did so and manifestly erred must be the pseudo-Pope of prophecy.’ John XXII, then, was the pseudo-Pope, or Antichrist. To get all this ...

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