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Renascence

Volume 72, Issue 3, Summer 2020

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Displaying: 1-3 of 3 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.