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Essays on Values in Literature

Volume 66, Issue 4, Fall 2014

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Displaying: 1-5 of 5 documents

1. Renascence: Volume > 66 > Issue: 4
Michael T. Smith You Know My Name (Look up the Number): The Structural Significance of Plato’s Lambda Formula in John Donne’s “a Litany”
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Donne used Plato’s Lambda numbers to construct “A Litany.” Specifically, each number in the Lambda sequence ties not only to the concept of world-creation as outlined in Timaeus, but also to its notion of the circular nature of the world, of man returning to the monad.
2. Renascence: Volume > 66 > Issue: 4
Aubrey L. Mishou Surviving Thornfield: Jane Eyre and Nineteenth-Century Evolutionary Theory
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Taking cues from scholars such as Gillian Beer and George Levine, “Surviving Thornfield” is an evolutionary reading of Charlotte Brontë’s canonical gothic novel, making use of theories by Charles Darwin and Robert Chambers to analyze an atypical discourse of female development, courtship, and marriage. Using three separate domestic spheres as an organizing principle, this paper first considers the introduction of evolutionary concepts in the character of Jane through the presentation of the protagonist in competitive situations, before focusing more fully on the primary concern of the novel: an exploration of evolution as it pertains to sexuality and contemporary marriage. “Surviving Thornfield” argues that Jane’s contentious relationship with Bertha Mason is an experiment in sexual selection, with Bertha and Jane posed as competitive sexual figures in an evolutionary courtship of Mr. Rochester. Jane Eyre clearly demonstrates the “survival of the fittest”, and posits that the definition of such a figure is antithetical to traditional gender expectations.
3. Renascence: Volume > 66 > Issue: 4
Dana Greene To Praise and Live as “Love’s Apprentice”: The Poetry of Anne Porter
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Anne Channing Porter’s poetry gives witness to an inner life nurtured by a love of the natural world and purified by suffering from a turbulent domestic life. At age eighty-two, she was named a National Book Award finalist for her first collection of poetry. In her poems, she aims for transparency and the revelation of mystery inherent in everyday life. A convert to Catholicism, Porter rejected the designation “religious” poet; nonetheless, her poems combine a contemplative seeing, an incarnational awareness of spirit in matter, and a prophetic urgency to live as “Love’s apprentice,” responding with compassion toward those of “humble goodness.”
4. Renascence: Volume > 66 > Issue: 4
Glenn Hughes Love, Terror, and Transcendence in Emily Dickinson’s Poetry
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Drawing on a large number of Dickinson’s poems, this essay explores the poetic originality, depth of insight, and extremes of emotional experience in those poems in which she articulates her relationship with a mystery of divinely transcendent being. Although Dickinson definitively rejected the institutional Christianity of her time and place, she employed the religious language and symbols of Christianity to express in a profoundly idiosyncratic way her recurrent experiences of sacred or divine transcendence. In these poems her articulation both of love for the divine mystery and of her anxiety and terror in feeling abandoned by “Paradise” or the divine “Lover” attains an extraordinary power, expressing in her unique poetic language the emotional heights and depths resulting from repeatedly experiencing both divine presence in the mind and divine inaccessibility and inscrutability.
5. Renascence: Volume > 66 > Issue: 4
Notes On Contributors
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