Stuart Cuno, in the novel that followed The Philosopher’s Pupil, carries the discarding, purifying process a step farther. William Eastcote was the Puritan; Stuart, the ‘good apprentice’ of the title, has left Puritanism behind. While the chapters thus far have taken account of the changing role of religion in the Western world, the figures studied have been shaped by different religious traditions. With Stuart the forms have disappeared; he is not moulded by these traditions; he functions without them and is altogether indifferent to their external forms. Alone of all the characters of good, he speaks of goodness; not Christ, or nirvāna, or the healing goodness of God, but simply the quality goodness itself. The icons and and imagery have been left behind, the theological machinery wholly taken down, and there is no God. But though he is the product of the secular Western world, and entirely free of doctrine and ritual, he is not free of moral, even metaphysical, pulls from elsewhere. Not to be located in any visible, defined source, these exert their force in a naked and empty air. Something draws twenty-year-old Stuart Cuno strongly enough to set aside success, fulfilment, whatever, and give himself over to being, becoming, and doing good in a quiet and invisible way.
KeywordsDust Cage Posit Lost Harness
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Stuart Cuno in The Good Apprentice
- 3.Alasdair Maclntyre, After Virtue (London, 1981), p. 14.Google Scholar