Title Information At the Circulating Library
Author and Title: John Henry Newman. Loss and Gain: The Story of a Convert
First Edition: London: James Burns, 1848. 1 volume.
Summary: Set in Oxford during the 1840s, the novel follows the experiences of Charles Reding. The son of a conservative country clergyman, Reding intends to follow his father into the church by subscribing to the Thirty-nine Articles and avoiding the many competing parties at the university. However, during his time at Oxford, Reding meets fellow students and professors who espouse different points of view about doctrinal matters. In his search for authoritative answers, he begins to question the legitimacy of the Thirty-nine Articles, questions which his professors cannot answer to his satisfaction. The death of his father briefly interrupts his studies and the conversion of another student, Willis, to Catholicism troubles him. Reding's doubts come to the attention of his vice-principal who sends Reding away from college since his questions jeopardize the other students. While living at home, Reding decides to convert to Catholicism, seeing in the church a true source of religious authority. His sister, his mother, and his friends all react with dismay and anger at his decision. On the way to London, he shares a railcar with a Catholic priest (the first he has ever met). Other individuals, hearing of his decision, attempt last ditch efforts to dissuade him from his path. But Reding dismisses them, goes to the Passionists Convent, and enters the Roman Catholic Church.