Augustine and Literature

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Overview

In this volume, scholars from a variety of disciplines in historical and cultural studies examine scientific, medical, popular, and literary texts, paying special attention to the different strategies employed in order to establish authority over the body through the management of a single part. By considering body parts that are usually ignored by scholars - the skin, the blood, the pelvis, the hair - the essays in this volume render the idea of a single coherent body untenable by demonstrating that the body is not a transhistorical entity, but rather deeply fragmented and fundamentally situated in a number of different contexts.
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Editorial Reviews

Todd Breyfogle
Augustine famously criticized the seductive charms of fiction, yet demonstrated his own mastery of story telling in the service of truth. In Augustine and Literature, some of our most nimble scholarly minds take up this paradox in a collection of essays which traces Augustinian themes in familiar places—the works of Dante, the Metaphysical Poets, Milton, and Flannery O'Connor—as well as among authors as diverse and unexpected as Shakespeare, Goethe, Faulkner, Rimbaud, and Ellison. Some essays explore direct Augustinian influences; others expose Augustinian affinities which cast these literary works in a sharper, provocative relief. Thoughtful and often surprising, the volume is rich with literary and theological insights which force us to think about the fundamental elements of the human condition as they bring Augustine into conversation with a host of sympathetic and contrary minds. Together the essays also initiate a broader conversation which goes beyond Augustine's thought and legacy to explore the place of literature in the intellectual life and the life well lived. Students of philosophy and theology, literature, and of the world of the imagination more generally will want to immerse themselves in this volume, and then return, refreshed and enlightened to Augustine and the other authors discussed.
John Peter Kenney
A wide-ranging collection of provocative and sometimes arresting essays, exploring Augustine's influence on Western poetry and fiction. The originality and range of this collection makes it indispensable for contemporary Augustinian studies.
Leslie Brisman
Augustine and Literature is a collection that restores the centrality of theology—and philosophic ideas generally—to the study of literary influence. It may be said of this whole, important collection and all the literary relationships it traces, what John Savoie, in it, shrewdly observes of Augustine and Milton: they "so knowingly engaged the issues and their opponents that they managed to transcend them as well." Savoie and others move us beyond the authority of Augustine to the heady interchanges best called dialogues," accepting much but challenging as well, testing and refining toward a clearer truth.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Robert P. Kennedy is Chair of the Religious Studies Department at St. Francis Xavier University. Kim Paffenroth is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Iona College. John Doody is Professor of Philosophy and Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences at Villanova University.

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Table of Contents

1 The weight of love : Augustinian metaphors of movement in Dante's souls 15
2 "Se ponne pisne wealsteal wis gepohte" : an Augustinian reading of the early English meditation the Wanderer 37
3 "There's a divinity that shapes our ends" : an Augustinian reading of Hamlet 63
4 St. Augustine and the metaphysical poets 97
5 Eloquence for the age of Enlightenment : Felenon's St. Augustine 117
6 Justifying the ways of God and man : theodicy in Augustine and Milton 139
7 The senescence of the world : Augustine's idea of history and Ibsen's Emperor and Galilean 157
8 "Descend that you may ascend" : Augustine, Dostoevsky, and the confessions of Ivan Karamazov 179
9 "Eat me, drink me, love me" : Eucharist and the erotic body in Christina Rossetti's Goblin Market 215
10 "Words, those precious cups of meaning" : Augustine's influence on the thought and poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J. 233
11 A season in hell, or the confessions of Arthur Rimbaud 255
12 Feminine wisdom in Augustine and Goethe's Faust 271
13 Faulkner's Augustinian sense of time 287
14 Augustinian physicality and the rhetoric of the grotesque in the art of Flannery O'Connor 301
15 Marking the frontiers of World War II with "stabilized disorder" : Rebecca West reads St. Augustine 327
16 Confessional ethics in Augustine and Ralph Ellison 343
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