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Displaying: 1-10 of 2306 documents


1. Renascence: Volume > 70 > Issue: 1
John E. Curran Jr. A Note from the Editor
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2. Renascence: Volume > 70 > Issue: 1
Lucas Nossaman The Wisdom of “The Farm”: Sabbath Theology and Wendell Berry’s Pastoralism
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This essay examines Wendell Berry’s Sabbath poetry, an ongoing project of verse composed during Sunday walks, as a unique blend of Christian theology and ecological teaching gleaned from the Bible and from English pastoral poets. In particular, the perspective on Sabbath in Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene has influenced Berry’s reflections on rest in an ecological context. From close analyses of three Sabbath poems, the essay concludes that the Sabbath poetry progresses from conventional georgic rooted in Old Testament teachings about land to a Christian critique of culture in the pastoral mode, and finally, in Berry’s most mature verse, to a psalm of praise for kindly work accomplished through the reconciliation of humans with God. In the Sabbath poetry, Berry’s ultimate hope lies in an eternal rest that will paradoxically also involve the active participation of the creation with the Creator.
3. Renascence: Volume > 70 > Issue: 1
Joyce Kerr Tarpley Manhood and Happiness in Emma: Liberal Learning and Practicing
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Among Austen commentators, the traditional view of manhood holds that it is innate, “‘a matter of course,’ a given quality of a man’s nature” (Trilling, 1957, cited in Johnson, 1995). However, since the 90’s, this view has been contested, especially in Emma, with the argument that “masculinity is something the novel contests and constructs” (Johnson, 1995). In “Manhood and Happiness in Emma: Liberal Learning and Practicing the Language of Marriage,” I frame Austen’s understanding of manhood in terms of education. In order to become the man he ought to be, he must be teachable, he must be a liberal learner, and most important for Austen, he must develop certain Christian qualities of mind: humility, kindness, and forgiveness. This education for manhood can only take place within marriage, but not just any kind of marriage will do. To reinforce this point, I contrast two different kinds of marriage — the cornerstone versus the capstone — and I discuss the kinds of thinking (which I represent as languages) that go with each. Using Mr. Weston and Frank Churchill, I argue that within a capstone marriage, the languages of materialism and narcissism make it impossible to develop the qualities of mind necessary for manhood. With Mr. Knightley, who has the most potential for manhood in the novel, I argue that to fulfill this potential he must choose a cornerstone marriage, within which he may practice the language of marriage, thereby learning to express humility, kindness, and forgiveness. By acquiring these qualities and by learning to love the right things — truth, goodness, and beauty — in the right way, Mr. Knightley becomes the man he ought to be — not only in Emma’s eyes — but also in Austen’s.
4. Renascence: Volume > 70 > Issue: 1
J. V. Long Edmund Wilson Had No Idea: Brideshead Revisited as a Catholic Tract
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Evidence in the text of Brideshead Revisited shows that it is inadequate simply to link Evelyn Waugh’s conversion to Roman Catholicism with his ostensibly reactionary sensibility. Rather than merely providing an exercise in apologetics, Waugh’s novel displays religious experience that is grounded in the author’s conversion and practice of his faith. The novel mines a deep understanding of both the complex experience of English Catholicism and the riches of the liturgical drama and texts that were experienced during the Holy Week Tenebrae services with which he was familiar.
5. Renascence: Volume > 70 > Issue: 1
Matthew M. Davis “My Master Calls Me”: Authority and Loyalty in King Lear
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This essay looks at how various characters in King Lear view Lear’s authority after he divides the kingdom. The author argues that some characters, including Goneril, Regan, and Oswald, view Lear’s kingly authority as “defeasible” – that is, they believe it is something he can lose or give away. Other characters, particularly Kent, view Lear as a person who has an indefeasible, inalienable authority. The author makes a connection between “indefeasible authority” and the concept of divine right of kings and presents a detailed analysis of Oswald, Kent, and the Fool using these concepts.
6. Renascence: Volume > 70 > Issue: 1
Dr. Mark Bosco, S.J. The Higher Mathematics of Flannery O’Connor: The Making of an American Master
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7. Renascence: Volume > 69 > Issue: 4
Annette Oxindine Resisting Dissolution: The Salvific Turn in Elizabeth Bowen’s The Heat of the Day
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While many recent readings of The Heat of the Day (1948) address Bowen’s indeterminate and unsettling prose style as a mirror or even an enactment of the destructive, nullifying forces at work in Blitz-weary London, this article posits that those same stylistic elements as well as the novel’s depictions of unstable subjectivities work against nullity to create complexly rendered regenerations, including two surreally conceived pregnancies. This article also suggests that the tensions often noted in Bowen’s negotiations between fictional realism and what critics have classified as the hallucinatory or surreal can be better understood by exploring Bowen’s spiritual beliefs, which she elucidates in numerous nonfiction pieces. The provocative liminality of the material and the spiritual in The Heat of the Day offers a compelling critical space from which to further explore Bowen’s prolific hybrid creations and the ontological, epistemological, and metaphysical mysteries they engender.
8. Renascence: Volume > 69 > Issue: 4
Christina Bieber Lake “I Don’t Want to Play Anymore”: Galatea 2.2, the Science Wars, and the Soul of Literary Studies
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In the novel Galatea 2.2, Richard Powers’ protagonist—a fictional Richard Powers—succeeds in creating artificial life that would seem to be the epitome of the posthuman. As N. Katherine Hayles defines it, we became posthuman by our assent to the definition of life as consisting primarily in information patterns, not embodiment. Powers brings to life “Helen,” a machine made for a unique Turing test: to see if it could perform on a Master’s examination in English literature in a way indistinguishable from a typical graduate student. Through new developments in neuroscience, this paper argues that Powers reframes the posthuman and the so-called Science Wars by writing speculative fiction that neither condemns technology nor valorizes it. Instead, he argues that what we should fear is not the development of artificial intelligence, but the failure of people to exercise their capacities for ethical responsibility to others. By making a machine who is more sensitive to others and to our need for right action than the people around it are, Powers fights for the traditional goals of the liberal arts.
9. Renascence: Volume > 69 > Issue: 4
Emily R. Brower “If I were in a book”: Language and Sacrament in Graham Greene’s The Heart of the Matter
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In The Heart of the Matter, Graham Greene’s metafictional commentary (indicated by the relentless presence of language and literature in the content of the novel) runs parallel to his commentary on the Catholic sacrament of the Eucharist. Strikingly, written language, due to its own physical reality and the way in which it is treated in the novel, takes on sacramental characteristics. Both written language and the Eucharist are physical, and both make truth present. Through his use of physical texts to indicate the true nature of each character and by aligning the written word with the Eucharist, Greene offers a complex exploration of the sacramental possibilities of literature and language, ultimately contending that language itself is sacramental.
10. Renascence: Volume > 69 > Issue: 4
Brett Beasley Oscar Wilde’s Humility: A Reassessment of The Ballad of Reading Gaol
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While Oscar Wilde's plays and his novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, enjoy great attention and popularity among scholars and the general public alike, his final work, the 654-line poem The Ballad of Reading Gaol, remains under-appreciated, particularly as far as critics are concerned. One critic, for example, has dismissed the poem as “a manipulative emotional diatribe” in which Wilde “draws a singleminded, heavy-handed, linear sentimentality into every stanza.” While I acknowledge the ways in which the poem's humility of style and subject matter are uncharacteristic for Wilde, I reject the notion that Reading Gaol is simple, either in aesthetic or moral terms. Focusing on the poem's images of "filth," I show that Wilde's swan song is in fact a work of great power and subtlety that demands that we rethink key assumptions about Wilde and about the literary imagination itself.