Cathedrals of Bone: The Role of the Body in Contemporary Catholic Literature

Cathedrals of Bone: The Role of the Body in Contemporary Catholic Literature

by John C. Waldmeir
     
 
The metaphor of the Church as a bodyhas shaped Catholic thinking since the Second Vatican Council. Its influence on theological inquiries into Catholic nature and practice is well-known; less obvious is the way it has shaped a generation of Catholic imaginative writers. Cathedrals of Bone is the first full-length study of a cohort of Catholic authors whose art takes

Overview

The metaphor of the Church as a bodyhas shaped Catholic thinking since the Second Vatican Council. Its influence on theological inquiries into Catholic nature and practice is well-known; less obvious is the way it has shaped a generation of Catholic imaginative writers. Cathedrals of Bone is the first full-length study of a cohort of Catholic authors whose art takes seriously the themes of the Council: from novelists such as Mary Gordon, Ron Hansen, Louise Erdrich, and J. F. Powers, to poets such as Annie Dillard, Mary Karr, Lucia Perillo, and Anne Carson, to the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright John Patrick Shanley. Motivated by the inspirational yet thoroughly incarnational rhetoric of Vatican II, each of these writers encourages readers to think about the human body as a site-perhaps the most important site-of interaction between God and human beings. Although they represent the body in different ways, these late-twentieth-century Catholic artists share a sense of its inherent value. Moreover, they use ideas and terminology from the rich tradition of Catholic sacramentality, especially as it was articulated in the documents of Vatican II, to describe that value. In this way they challenge the Church to take its own tradition seriously and to reconsider its relationship to a relatively recent apologetics that has emphasized a narrow view of human reason and a rigid sense of orthodoxy.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Studying a wide variety of genres from a wide variety of writers, Waldmeir presents a thoughtful description that helps uncover an increasingly complex, yet unified mosaic of literary writing of the 'body'.-Daniel Boyce

John Waldmeir, Director of the Kucera Centre for Catholic Studies at Loras College, Dubuque, has done all those interested in Catholic literature a service by tracing the connection between the Vatican II conception of the Church as a ''body'' and the work of some contemporary American writers.-Eamon Maher

This groundbreaking book considers Catholic writers who have embraced the spirit of Vatian II and taken seriously the incarnational and sacramental identity of the body.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780823230624
Publisher:
Fordham University Press
Publication date:
08/25/2009
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
224
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

JOHN C. WALDMEIR teaches at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, where he has directed the Archbishop Kucera Center for Catholic Studies and held the annual John Cardinal O'Connor Chair in Catholic Thought. Cathedrals of Bone is his fourth book.

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