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Displaying: 61-80 of 2365 documents


61. 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.
62. 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.
63. 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.
64. 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.
65. 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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66. 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.
67. 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.
68. 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.
69. 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.
70. Renascence: Volume > 69 > Issue: 4
Notes on Contributors
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71. Renascence: Volume > 69 > Issue: 3
Jamie Callison Introduction
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72. 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.
73. 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.
74. 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.
75. 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.
76. Renascence: Volume > 69 > Issue: 3
Paul Robichaud Avant-garde and Orthodoxy at Ditchling
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The early twentieth century saw the rise of various movements and communities in response to a perceived crisis in a western modernity that many contemporaries viewed as decadent and in urgent need of social, cultural, and spiritual renewal. In Britain in particular, several groups of traditional artisans expressed their rejection of modernity by leaving the city to form small artistic communities. Such community experiments often had their roots in the nineteeth-century Arts and Crafts movement, a background shared by the founding members of the community at Ditchling in Sussex — Eric Gill, Douglas (Hilary) Pepler, and Edward Johnston — but augmented by an increasing commitment to Roman Catholicism on the part of Gill and Pepler. The Ditchling group’s commitments to traditional handicrafts and the Church made their relationship to modernism tentative and difficult, but some members at least were familiar with artistic developments in the wider world. In particular, Eric Gill would reject modernism at Ditchling, while David Jones would embrace it to assert his artistic and spiritual independence.
77. Renascence: Volume > 69 > Issue: 2
Maurice Hunt Climacteric Ages and the Three Seasons of The Winter’s Tale
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Shakespeare in The Winter’s Tale in describing the annual year names only three seasons—Spring, Summer, and Winter. This tripartite scheme is not unprecedented in Shakespeare’s sonnets and plays, e.g. Sonnet 5.5-6; Sonnet 6.1-2, 2 Henry 6 2.4. 1-3; The Tempest 4.1.114-15. What is unique to The Winter’s Tale involves Shakespeare’s correlation of three seasons to a tripartite division of humankind’s age, with a stress on the climacteric years when one season passes to the next. An assumption and a fact undergird this scheme: that a lifetime is 70 years (Psalm 90, verse 10), and that 23 is an important recurring number in this play. Humankind passes from Spring to Summer at age 23 and from Summer to Winter at age 46. Given the possible calculation of major characters’ ages in The Winter’s Tale, one discovers that Leontes after a sixteen-year gap of time is 44, while—in 1610 (the likely date of the play)—Shakespeare himself is 46. This correspondence is richly evocative of figurative final harvests.
78. Renascence: Volume > 69 > Issue: 2
Carla A. Arnell “Love Beyond Logic”: On Cannons, Castles, and Healing Tomfoolery in Dickens’s Great Expectations and Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov
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In the history of comparative scholarship on Dickens and Dostoevsky, many scholars have discussed comedy as a key point of affiliation between the two novelists. One scholar in particular has argued that both novelists portray comic buffoonery as a form of psychological escape from reality. Contrary to that idea, in two subplots with surprising parallels in Great Expectations and The Brothers Karamazov, Dickens and Dostoevsky represent comic play—tomfoolery—as a deliberately chosen way of confronting an absurd reality to bring health or healing. Ultimately, as a “love beyond logic” drives the characters in these stories to serve others through the power of comic play, they themselves become like little children, echoing each novel’s larger theme that growing older and wiser means becoming capable of the laughter of a little child.
79. Renascence: Volume > 69 > Issue: 2
William B. Ness “Getting Somewhere”: Motion and Stasis in the Works of Flannery O’Connor
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The essay investigates O’Connor’s uses of motion and stasis throughout her canon with an emphasis on the early works. It examines O’Connor’s repeated use of the motifs of haste as spiritually destructive behavior and stasis as the necessary preliminary for redemptive grace moments in many of her stories and both of her novels. Two seminal O’Connor works, The Violent Bear It Away and “The Life You Save May Be Your Own,” are singled out for close thematic analysis that yields substantial support for a reading of these works as featuring incidents where a protagonist is suddenly slowed down and brought to a God encounter that offers spiritual transformation. Biographical insights gleaned from O’Connor’s collected letters in The Habit of Being add further credence to this interpretation and suggest autobiographical parallels with the fictional themes under discussion.
80. Renascence: Volume > 69 > Issue: 2
Lyle Enright Reading Shusaku Endo’s Silence with an Eschatological Imagination
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Entering into conversation with the theological work of Michael Patrick Murphy and Hans Urs von Balthasar, this essay articulates a starting-point for reading Shusaku Endo’s Silence and exploring its relevance for contemporary discussions between Christian aesthetics and postmodernism. Under particular examination are the ways in which both Endo and Balthasar bring postmodern hermeneutics into conversation with Christian eschatology to address questions of knowledge and identity, examining not only how themes of resurrection appear aesthetically in the novel, but also how reading the novel from within this thematic framework speaks to its central concerns. Thus, this essay articulates an anticipatory or eschatological hermeneutic which hopes to do justice to both the violence of Endo’s story and the hope of the Christian narrative.