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Volume 73, Issue 2, Spring 2021

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Displaying: 1-5 of 5 documents

1. Renascence: Volume > 73 > Issue: 2
Geoffrey Reiter “New Knowledge of Lost Worlds”?: Edward Hitchcock’s “Sandstone Bird” and the Poetic Exploration of Science and Faith
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In contemporary academic circles, the fields of science, theology, and literature may be compartmentalized with relatively little interaction. However, such distinctions were less rigid in the early nineteenth century. One of the figures whose writings stretched across these disciplinary boundaries was Edward Hitchcock, a world-renowned geologist and president of Amherst College who also had extensive theological training. Now best-known among paleontologists for his discovery of fossil footprints in the Connecticut River Valley, Hitchcock made use of his considerable talents in an 1836 poem entitled “The Sandstone Bird.” This poem—often known to historians of science but little remarked among students of American literature—effectively uses formal verse to draw out theological dimensions to the prehistoric world conjured up by Hitchcock’s own paleontological discoveries.
2. Renascence: Volume > 73 > Issue: 2
Todd Copeland Learning to Be a Failure: Tropes of Transformation in James Wright’s The Branch Will Not Break
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Challenged by personal suffering and new influences, American poet James Wright dramatically changed the character of his poetry during the years between the respective publications of Saint Judas (1959) and The Branch Will Not Break (1963). The nature of this poetic evolution can be traced in Wright’s treatment of a few frequently employed images of transformation, specifically those involving blossoms and jewels—the energies of which are alternatingly embodied by the poet or found to be unavailable to him.
3. Renascence: Volume > 73 > Issue: 2
Robert Lance Snyder Confession Versus Collusion: Truth-Telling in John le Carré’s Agent Running in the Field
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In Agent Running in the Field (2019), his final novel, John le Carré reprises elements of his post-Cold War critique of transnational espiocratic duplicity and collusion, while also emphasizing the moral imperative of principle-driven constancy and confession as an antidote to the pathology of infection he associates with contemporary geopolitics. His virtuosity in tackling this theme, one also addressed though differently in A Legacy of Spies (2017), validates fellow author Ian McEwan’s assessment that le Carré “will be remembered as perhaps the most significant novelist” of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries in Britain.
4. Renascence: Volume > 73 > Issue: 2
David V. Urban Slender Self-Knowledge: Tragic Consequences and Redemptive Hope in Shakespeare’s King Lear and Austen’s Pride and Prejudice
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This essay argues that King Lear’s tragedy is largely brought about by Lear’s lack of self-knowledge, a character defect that long precedes the foolish decisions he makes in King Lear’s opening scene and which precipitates his own death and the deaths of those he loves. Lear’s lack of self-knowledge encourages Shakespeare’s audience to have sympathy for Goneril and Regan and to recognize that Lear’s beautiful progress of redemption is mitigated by his failure to ever recognize his longstanding wrongdoing against his elder daughters. By contrast, in Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet’s humble choice to learn and be humbled by Darcy’s letter empowers Elizabeth to achieve self-knowledge at a youthful age even as it brings happiness and numerous redemptive benefits to herself and to those whom she loves.
5. Renascence: Volume > 73 > Issue: 2
Notes on Contributors
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