The Life of Mary Baker G. Eddy and the History of Christian Science

Willa Cather, Author, Georgine Milmine, With, David Stouck, Afterword by
Willa Cather, Author, Georgine Milmine, With, David Stouck, Afterword by University of Nebraska Press $45 (520p) ISBN 978-0-8032-1453-8
Reviewed on: 01/04/1993
Release date: 01/01/1993
Paperback - 568 pages - 978-0-8032-6349-9
Library Binding - 978-1-58201-568-2
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The reissue of this 1909 biography, originally attributed to Milmine but actually written by Cather, will most interest Cather scholars. Although much of the work is rendered in pedestrian prose, academics can search its pages for evidence of the author's developing style and, as Stouck points out in his introduction, elements of Eddy's character that seem to surface in Cather's later fictional creations. When it was first published, near the end of Eddy's life, the book caused a ripple in the Christian Science community--and no wonder, since it methodically and convincingly portrays their church's founder, a shrewd and forceful woman, as temperamental, greedy, vindictive and genuinely eccentric. Discussed are Eddy's early years in New Hampshire, her tutelage under Phineas P. Quimby, who had never studied medicine and who ``professed to make his patients well and happy purely by the benevolent power of mind,'' her work as a ``teacher of moral science,'' the evolution of her book Science and Health and Christian Science's development from a handful of enthusiastic healers to a full-grown institution with its ``Mother Church'' in Boston. (Feb.)
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