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Displaying: 1-10 of 2291 documents


1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Renascence: Volume > 69 > Issue: 4
Notes on Contributors
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6. Renascence: Volume > 69 > Issue: 3
Jamie Callison, Introduction
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7. Renascence: Volume > 69 > Issue: 3
Heidi Hartwig, The End of the Affair: A Modernist Conversion Narrative
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Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair is a modernist conversion narrative that exposes cultural tensions around the post-War era’s preponderance of Catholic conversions. Like narratives written to vindicate the conversions precipitated by the Oxford Movement in the previous century, The End of the Affair explains how characters come to a certain belief that is largely derided by the prevailing culture. In contrast to the rational deliberation of these earlier models, conversion to Catholicism in this novel is distinguished by its irrationality, through a structure of over-determination, a rhetoric of imitation, metaphors of touch and contagion, and suggestions of supernatural intervention. Attending to the thematic of conversion highlights elements of the novel obscured by reading it as either a secularist novel or a moral theological novel — namely, elements that are particular to the hermeneutics of conversion narratives in depicting a character’s dynamic evolution from one set of beliefs to another.
8. Renascence: Volume > 69 > Issue: 3
Jean Ward, Marian Aspects of Four Quartets
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This article focuses on the Marian inspirations in T. S. Eliot’s poetry, especially in Part IV of “The Dry Salvages”, which differs importantly from the fourth part of all the other Quartets in that it is worded as a prayer rather than a reflection or meditation, and still more interestingly, is addressed directly and unequivocally to the Virgin Mary. The discussion reveals how Eliot's recourse to Marian elements and prayers unsettles the comfortable middle-of-the-road Anglicanism of which the Four Quartets have been accused. This, however, is done not by calling on the high intellectual resources of Catholic theology and philosophy but by foregrounding that aspect of ordinary Catholic devotion that was for centuries foremost in Catholic-Protestant debate, and so perhaps giving voice to a yearning for something long absent from the mainstream of religious expression in English.
9. Renascence: Volume > 69 > Issue: 3
Henry Mead, Modernist Myths of the Fall: F.R. Tennant and T.E. Hulme
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This paper focuses on the doctrine of Original Sin, perhaps the most problematic of theological principles for radical writers seeking forms of liberation and progression. Stephen Mulhall has noted the doctrine seems to underpin even the most radically atheistic of modern thought, including that of Nietzsche. Proceeding on this logic, this paper looks at the contrasting attitudes to fallenness expressed by the Edwardian theologian F.R. Tennant, and the modernist writer T.E. Hulme, contrasting the liberal and conservative stances of theological and cultural ‘modernism’ respectively. It examines how these writers’ ideas responded to the debate between science and religion, ideas of vitalism, crowd psychology, and political populism, and ends by noting how the motif of the Fall occurs across a range of modernist texts by writers of various or no religious faith, reflecting the wider resonance of the idea in Western culture.
10. Renascence: Volume > 69 > Issue: 3
Laura McCormick Kilbride, The Catholic New Left: Language, Liturgy, and Literature in Slant Magazine 1964-1970
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What kind of language might reach and shape readers for revolution — where ‘revolution’ is revealed in the divine humanity of Christ? This essay considers this question as it was pursued in the journal of the Catholic Left, Slant, between 1960 and 1970. Considering how far the attempt to think a specifically catholic poetics might depart from contemporary radical English thinking, specifically the New Left, I begin by exploring the ways in which key words, such as language, liturgy and literature, are transformed when they enter the Catholic debate. I go on to explore these concerns by considering two poems from 1967-8. Throughout, I am concerned with the question of how far the cultural programme of Slant might be said to have a poetics, a question which prompts us to consider our ambitions for how we read and write today.