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Renascence

Volume 71, Issue 1, Winter 2019

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Displaying: 1-5 of 5 documents


1. Renascence: Volume > 71 > Issue: 1
Maurizio Ascari Beyond Realism: Ian McEwan’s Atonement as a Postmodernist Quest for Meaning
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A complex and controversial novel, Atonement is at the core of a lively critical debate, opposing those who focus on the impossibility of Briony’s atonement – also in relation to the author’s atheist views – to those who conversely explore the redemptive quality of her “postlapsarian” painful self-fashioning. Far from concerning simply the destiny of a literary character, this debate has to do with the impact Postmodernist relativism has on both the conception of the human subject and the discourses of the past, from memory to history and fiction. Discarding any potentially nihilistic interpretations of Atonement as disempowering, this article delves into Ian McEwan’s multi-layered text in order to comprehend its ambivalences, its subtle investigation of the human condition, and its status as a postmemory novel reconnecting us to the events of World War Two.
2. Renascence: Volume > 71 > Issue: 1
Michael Boler Screwtape’s Remedy for Love: C. S. Lewis and Ovid
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In the Ars Amatoria Ovid claims to make his audience experts in love; in the Remedia Amoris he teaches them how to fall out of love. These two poems are masterpieces of satirical comedy. At first glance Ovidian satire seems worlds apart from The Screwtape Letters of C.S. Lewis. While written for entirely different aims and differing in many obvious aspects, both works describe the surest means by which to suffocate love. For Ovid, it is romantic love that must be extinguished; for Screwtape, it is the love of God. While it might seem that the irony of The Screwtape Letters is distinctively modern, Lewis’s special form of irony finds its ancient precedent and model in the master of mock-didacticism, Ovid. Not only can the influence of Ovid’s Remedia Amoris be seen in the broad themes contained in The Screwtape Letters, but many of Screwtape’s specific avenues of attack were recommended by Ovid centuries ago.
3. Renascence: Volume > 71 > Issue: 1
W. Brett Wiley George Saunders’s 400-Pound CEO: Goodness or Ideology
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George Saunders, in “The 400-Pound CEO,” displays a theme that appears in many of his stories and that he has talked about in numerous interviews. Jeffrey, the protagonist and narrator of the story, confronts the dissonance that exists between enacting goodness and theological or ideological belief. The story ultimately suggests a Buddhist approach, what Saunders explains as a practical means of “react[ing] accordingly” to life as “that-which-is.”
4. Renascence: Volume > 71 > Issue: 1
Josh Pittman The Most Important Virtue?: The Surprising Recurrence of Temperance in the Pearl Manuscript
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The narrator of the Middle English Cleanness states that God punishes sexual sin more harshly than any other sin. This essay argues that the rest of the BL Cotton Nero A.x manuscript continues to develop the virtue of temperance, which governs sexual behavior, as a central theme. Pearl uses temperance to bring home the dreamer’s sin and God’s justice, while Patience and SGGK employ the interrelation between temperance and fortitude in ways that make temperance foundational. Interrogating the interdependence of the virtues allows the poet to challenge the traditional hierarchy of virtues, in which temperance is the lowest, thus making the case that temperance is paradoxically foundational to other virtues, like justice and fortitude. In this way, the poems not only make a case for the value of temperance, but they also expose ambiguities in orthodox accounts of the virtues.
5. Renascence: Volume > 71 > Issue: 1
Notes on Contributors
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