8 NOVEMBER 2008, Page 29

A subtle study

Sir: No one would, as Edward Norman has done (Books, 1 November), treat Rowan Williams’s Dostoevsky — Language, Faith and Fiction as a (defective) theological treatise, except for reasons of his own. Norman is well known for seeing nothing good in the modern Church of England, and has taken another opportunity to air his views.

From the review, who would realise what a different kind of study the Archbishop produced? During a sabbatical, I suspect, he has with considerable scholarship thrown light on Dostoevsky’s development of the novel to probe the deepest things in life, including human motivations and the way faith influences thought and behaviour. In doing this he adds new insights to our understanding of the author himself, building on the work of previous authorities. His own modest disclaimer should not be taken as a reason for not including him among them.

Brian Newey

Warborough, Oxfordshire