Books

New in October

Leadership in Unknown Waters: Liminality as Threshold to the Future

by Lisa Withrow

Out on 29/10/2020

“Lisa Withrow has created an authoritative addition to the growing canon of liminality studies. Leadership in Unknown Waters is unrivalled in its unique combination of the two disciplines of liminality and leadership. Withrow leads the reader to some of the great thresholds of life, suggesting a way forward through the guiding symbol of water. Refreshing in its avoidance of checklists and quick fixes, this landmark contribution will help form the next generation of transformative leaders.”

Dr Timothy Carson, author of Liminal Reality and Transformational Power, editor of Neither Here nor There: The Many Voices of Liminality

Leadership in Unknown Waters invites organisational leaders and their teams to engage powerful questions amidst ambiguity and uncertainty as they move from the-way-things-were to an emerging future. This liminality, a threshold in space and time allowing for transition from something old to something new, is fraught with both difficulty and opportunity. Leaders, teams, and individuals who navigate this space skillfully will land in surprisingly dynamic places, encountering stories, metaphors, and inspiration for traversing the threshold not only competently, but with curiosity and confidence. In this way, futures are created that are not possible with fear-based planning or “quick fixes”.

Withrow’s method intersects the human imagination through a visual, living metaphor (water), with attention to space (liminality, or transitional space), and focus on role (leadership development) for powerful engagement with what organisational learning theorists call “the emerging future”. Here, the theoretical meets the practical and research informs the “how to” and “why”. Diving into unknown waters with tools and wisdom can create a better future for all who face change, whether within corporations, not-for-profit organisations, faith communities, family systems, or interpersonal relationships.

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George MacDonald’s Children’s Fantasies and the Divine Imagination

by Colin Manlove

Out on 29/10/2020

“With his broad knowledge of children’s literature, the stories are contrasted with those by other Victorian writers, highlighting MacDonald’s keen understanding of psychology and human nature. Readers will find unique insights to better appreciate the genius of all MacDonald’s works that, in various ways, explore the divine imagination within each of us, especially the childlike.”

Robert Trexler, Writer, Editor, and Publisher

The great Victorian Christian author George MacDonald is the wellspring of the modern fantasy genre. In this book Colin Manlove offers explorations of MacDonald’s eight shorter fairy tales and his longer stories At the Back of the North WindThe Princess and the GoblinThe Wise Woman, and The Princess and Curdie.

MacDonald saw the imagination as the source of fairy tales and of divine truth together. For he believed that God lives in the depths of the human mind and ‘sends up from thence wonderful gifts into the light of the understanding’. This makes MacDonald that very rare thing: a writer of mystical fiction whose work can give us experience of the divine.

Throughout his children’s fantasy stories MacDonald is describing the human and divine imagination. In the shorter tales he shows how the imagination has different regions and depths, each able to shift into the other. With the longer stories we see the imagination in relation to other aspects of the self and to its position in the world. Here the imagination is portrayed as often embattled in relation to empiricism, egotism, and greed.

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Creation and Beauty in Tolkien’s Catholic Vision: A Study in the Influence of Neoplatonism in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Philosophy of Life as ‘Being and Gift’

By Michael John Halsall

Out on 29/10/2020

“This is a rich engagement at all levels with Tolkien, full of suggestive comparisons with the tradition of the music of the spheres and with the modernist music of his own time. It is deeply scholarly but clear and accessible. And it is both Catholic in relating Tolkien to Catholic theology, including Maritain, and the Thomism of the early twentieth century, but also in its range of reference, which does full justice to Tolkien’s intellectual background and his generosity of spirit, which had room for wild-men and oliphants, wereworms and Barliman’s best bitter, all with the mark of createdness upon them, gifted to his readers.”

Alison Milbank, University of Nottingham, from the Foreword

Creation and Beauty in Tolkien’s Catholic Vision invites readers into the world of J.R.R Tolkien through the lens of a variety of philosophers, all of whom owe a rich debt to the Neoplatonic philosophical tradition. This book places his mythology against a wider backdrop of Catholic philosophy and asks serious questions about the nature of creation, the nature of God, what it means to be good, and the problem of evil. By setting Tolkien alongside both his contemporaries and ancient authors, Halsall reveals how he was inspired by them his careful use of literary devices inspired by them to craft his own ‘mythology for England’.

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