Originally published in 1850 and revised in 1876, John Henry Newman's Lectures on Difficulties Felt by Anglicans in Submitting to the Catholic Church is a series of twelve talks that the convert gave at the London Oratory in King William Street before an audience of Catholics, Anglo-Catholics, Protestants and intrigued sceptics. The stated purpose of the talks might have been "to clear away from the path of an inquirer objections to Catholic truth," especially Anglo-Catholic inquirers, but the book is also a witty meditation on the Church and the World, a ruthlessly satirical study of the Oxford Movement, or what Newman called "the Movement of 1833"; an autobiographical dress rehearsal for the Apologia pro Vita Sua; and a piece of masterly prose. Richard Holt Hutton, Newman's finest contemporary critic regarded it as marked "in manner and style... by all the signs of his literary genius... the first of his books... in which the measure of his literary power could be adequately taken."
Neglected for over a century by many who regarded its hard-hitting criticism of the National Church of England as unforgivable, the book can now be seen as profoundly cautionary. If one of its animating themes is to show how worldly establishments travesty "the Ark of Salvation," Newman's Anglican Difficulties has perennial appeal. Indeed, it is an anatomy of the false and brazen things that lie at the heart of all such establishments.
This is the first critical edition of the book to include an editor's introduction with an overview and summaries of the lectures, the book's critical reception, a definitive text of the 1876 edition, textual variants, annotations explicating the text's historical, theological, and literary references, and a comprehensive index.