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1. Renascence: Volume > 70 > Issue: 2
John Curran, Jr. A Note From the Editor
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2. Renascence: Volume > 70 > Issue: 2
Michael VanderWeele The Siren and the Admiral: A Contest of Identity-Formation
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This essay argues for a more civic interpretation of Dante’s dream of the Siren in Purgatorio 19 by connecting the reprimand and consolation that surround the dream to the reprimand and consolation that surround the Old Testament images of Israel as faithless spouse—and that are typical of other parts of the Divine Comedy. Such a reading fits the liturgical character of the Purgatorio better than the dominant post-Freudian readings can and it lets the passage speak to civic as well as personal questions. If the Siren is more than a psychological image, then the way we see her counterpart, Beatrice, can be broadened as well. In fact, she might be seen as image of a Christian body politic as well as source of Dante’s affection. This puts the Divine Comedy into closer connection with Augustine’s City of God and with Boethius’ Consolation as well as with Israel as God’s spouse.
3. Renascence: Volume > 70 > Issue: 2
Thomas P. Flint On the Significance of Civil War References in Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find”
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While many authors have written about the undertone of violence present throughout Flannery O'Connor's short story "A Good Man is Hard to Find," little has been said about the specific references in the story to the Civil War. These references, though, serve to highlight questions concerning evil, guilt, and punishment that come to the fore especially in the culminating scene between the grandmother and The Misfit. In the end, the story seems to be suggesting, trying to determine the fittingness of the evils we (as individuals or as a society) encounter may best be seen as a further manifestation of the pride that precipitated our original Fall; these are matters best left to God's judgment, not to ours.
4. Renascence: Volume > 70 > Issue: 2
John Coates The numinous in Walter de la Mare’s Memoirs of a Midget
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Adopting the premise that Walter de la Mare’s writing cannot be fully understood without attending to its moral, spiritual and religious dimensions, this paper examines in detail his longest and most important novel, Memoirs of a Midget (1921). It draws analogies between his movement from a dogmatic moralism towards a sense of the numinous and compares them with similar tendencies in Arthur Machin and Algernon Blackwood.
5. Renascence: Volume > 70 > Issue: 2
Notes on Contributors
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6. Renascence: Volume > 70 > Issue: 1
John E. Curran Jr. A Note from the Editor
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7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.