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Displaying: 1-12 of 12 documents


1. Renascence: Volume > 72 > Issue: 3
Christian R. Davis Protestant Missionaries in Literature: Hagiographic, Fanatical, and Carnivalesque Characters
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Protestant cross-cultural missionaries have appeared as characters in literary narratives for some two hundred years. These narratives use three patterns. The first, showing godly missionaries supported by divine interventions, includes nonfiction accounts of missionaries like Hudson Taylor, Jim Elliot, and Don Richardson. The second pattern, showing missionaries as orthodox fanatics, includes Brontë’s Jane Eyre, Maugham’s “Rain,” and Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible. The third pattern, common in postcolonial novels, portrays missionaries with ambivalence and humor and includes elements of Bakhtin’s “carnivalesque”: comic-grotesque imagery, obscenities, and feasts. This postcolonial missionary character represents not oppression but freedom and appears in such novels as Anand’s Untouchable, Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, and Vargas Llosa’s The Storyteller.
2. Renascence: Volume > 72 > Issue: 3
Sean Benson “[D]runk with those that have the fear of God”: Shakespeare on Social Drunkenness
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The standard view is that Shakespeare depicts alcoholic consumption as good in moderation, but bad when used to excess. Although he illustrates in Falstaff and others alcohol’s debilitating effects, Shakespeare also treats occasional drunkenness at festive events—christenings, wakes, church ales—as benign and even salutary. Such occasions are part and parcel of the pre-Reformation tolerance of social drunkenness (as opposed to moderate imbibing), what I call good Christian drinking. The REED documents attest to the church’s accommodation of drinking at parish festivities, particularly at ales. I argue that Shakespeare’s plays permit and even encourage social drunkenness as a lubricant for fellowship—especially if the drinking is done in the company of fellow believers. Engaging this serious Reformation controversy with comic levity, Shakespeare shows a taste that is remarkably latitudinarian concerning the religious tolerance of social drunkenness.
3. Renascence: Volume > 72 > Issue: 3
Carla Arnell Lud-in-the-Mist as Memento Mori: Existential Anxiety and the Consolations of an Aesthetic Theology in Hope Mirrlees’s Fantasy Novel
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This essay of practical literary criticism explores how Hope Mirrlees’s fantasy novel Lud-in-the-Mist draws upon biblical and medieval narrative traditions to develop a fantasy tale whose Christian theology is smuggled in as sweetly and subtly as the novel’s fairy fruit. Through my analysis, I argue that Mirrlees uses symbolism and allegory to develop an aesthetic theology aimed at addressing her own and her protagonist’s existential anxiety about death. In the course of that theological tale, she represents faith as an antidote to existential fear and sacramental ritual as a means of reconciling the spiritual and material, the divine and the human, both of which have become estranged at the novel’s start. In that regard, her story about the return of Catholic sacramentalism to the bourgeois town of Lud-in-the-Mist adumbrates her own turn to Catholicism in the years after the novel’s publication, suggesting for Mirrlees’s enigmatic biography an earlier and more gradual turn to religious conversion than has hitherto been described in scholarly accounts of her evolution as a religious thinker.
4. Renascence: Volume > 72 > Issue: 2
John E. Curran, Jr. Editor's Page
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5. Renascence: Volume > 72 > Issue: 2
Franklin Arthur Wilson Theft as Gift: Percy, Peirce, and Bible in The Second Coming
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This article explores Walker Percy’s use of Charles Sanders Peirce’s concept of “Thirdness” as an interpretive tool in connection with Percy’s use of the Bible in his novel, The Second Coming. In this context, Peirce’s “Thirdness” may be understood as that which mediates between a word (say, w-a-t-e-r, spelled out in Helen Keller’s hand) and a thing (the stuff called “water” simultaneously flowing over Helen Keller’s other hand) as, indeed, Walker Percy defines “Thirdness” in his essay, “The Delta Factor” (The Message in the Bottle, 3-45). As such, C.S. Peirce’s “Thirdness” serves Percy as a model for understanding the function of “triadic” (human) language in the operation of relations both human and divine.
6. Renascence: Volume > 72 > Issue: 2
Joshua Avery The Failure of the Sacraments in Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner
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This essay argues that Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner represents in its imagery a tension within Coleridge prior to his conversion to Anglicanism. Specifically, the poem’s treatment of institutional sacraments argues for their apparent inefficacy, at least from the Mariner’s vantage point. The sacramental idea upheld by a High Church view would suggest that particular earthly institutions, such as Holy Communion or matrimony, could function as actual and not merely symbolic vehicles of divine grace. The Rime, however, displays a protagonist whose hopes for such possibilities are repeatedly disappointed. Consequently, Coleridge’s poem depicts the terrors of a cosmos in which the activities of divine grace are removed from and inaccessible to human intelligibility and choice.
7. Renascence: Volume > 72 > Issue: 2
Jesus Deogracias Principe The Decency of Albert Camus
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This essay explores the place of decency (l’honnêteté) and the decent man (l’honnête homme) in the moral and religious thought of Albert Camus. Focusing primarily on the major fictional works (The Stranger, The Plague, and The Fall), we consider how Camus employs the semantic ambiguity inherent in the notion of being decent, and then develops this into a normative ethical call characterized by responsibility and solidarity. We then explore further how Camus pushes the envelope to make us reflect on whether decency is even possible, both in the sense of addressing the difficulty of taking on moral responsibility, as well as calling into question the decency of the religious mentality. We conclude with reading in Camus not so much a critique as a challenge for the Christian to be true to herself, her ethic, and her faith.
8. Renascence: Volume > 72 > Issue: 2
Notes on Contributors
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9. Renascence: Volume > 72 > Issue: 1
Steven Knepper Heroes, Tyrants, Howls: Approaching Tragedy with William Desmond
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In recent decades, the philosopher William Desmond (1951-) has offered both insightful readings of individual tragedies and a striking reformulation of old Aristotelian standbys like hamartia and catharsis. This reformulation grows out of his wider philosophy of the “between,” which stresses humans’ fundamental receptivity or “porosity.” For Desmond, tragedy strips away characters’ self-determination and returns them to porosity. The audience is returned to porosity as well, a process of exposure that can be harrowing, and at times leads to despair, but that can also lead, in Desmond’s take on catharsis, to a renewed sense of the worth of fragile beings. Both tragic “being at a loss” and catharsis are important for philosophy because they resist determinate conceptualization. Tragedy reminds philosophy of its limits, and it challenges philosophy to attend to the intimate and the singular. This essay situates, synthesizes, and extends Desmond’s many reflections on tragedy. It focuses in particular on Shakespeare's Macbeth and King Lear.
10. Renascence: Volume > 72 > Issue: 1
Christine Grogan Parker’s Black? A Rereading of Race in Flannery O’Connor’s "Parker’s Back"
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Contributing to the uneasy question of race in Flannery O’Connor's fiction, this article performs a rereading of the last story she penned—“Parker’s Back”—and argues that her final protagonist may have been a product of miscegenation. It discusses the implications this would have on our understanding of this spiritually rich story, and, perhaps even more importantly, of O’Connor’s views on race at the end of her life.
11. Renascence: Volume > 72 > Issue: 1
Amber True Revising Orthodoxy in the Poems of Robert Southwell
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Community is the framework for the Christian experience. The Greek text from which the English bible is translated uses the ἐκκλησια, which means “assembly,” “assemblage, gathering, meeting,” and in the earliest text, “the universal church to which all believers belong.” Thus, the very idea of Christianity after Christ suggests community. Robert Southwell trained to contribute to a very particular portion of the Christian community in Elizabethan England, but the lyric poetry he produced during this time represents community as flawed and as a potential hindrance to salvation. His poetry responds to the orthodoxy of community by representing real, lived community as spiritually counterproductive and juxtaposing it against the necessity of individual experience and salvation.
12. Renascence: Volume > 72 > Issue: 1
Notes on Contributors
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