The Writer and Religion

The Writer and Religion

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The Writer and Religion by William H. Gass

“Every significant religious system stands upon a sacred text. This text is indeed its temple. Inside, its heroes and their history are enshrined. Although leaders of varying degrees of divinity are always involved in the creation of a new sect, they usually have short lives, often come to bad ends, and their influence, diluted by disciples, soon disappears as water does in sand. What the leader leaves behind is Mein Kampf or its equivalent: his testament. Occasionally, by the indolent, an existent text is chosen, or a compilation selected—a golden treasury. From time to time, other writings may be dubbed divine, as though knighted. This is not a simple social thing, however. It is more important than a nation adding to its territories. Any addition to the divine canon will approve, proscribe, or admit new thoughts, new practices, and in consequence elevate different people to positions of privilege and power.”—William H. Gass

These essays and panel discussions made up The Writer and Religion Conference held at Washington University in St. Louis. The six essays, all by writers of international stature, were followed by panel discussions, with audience participation.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780809323166
Publisher: Southern Illinois University Press
Publication date: 10/28/2000
Series: International Writers Center Series
Edition description: 1st Edition
Pages: 176
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile: 1220L (what's this?)

About the Author

William H. Gass is David May Distinguished University Professor in the Humanities, emeritus, and the director of the International Writers Center at Washington University. Gass is the author of Omensetter’s Luck; In the Heart of the Heart of the Country and Other Stories; Willie Masters’ Lonesome Wife; Fiction and the Figures of Life; On Being Blue; The World Within the Word; Habitations of the Word, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism; The Tunnel; and Finding a Form, a book of essays that also won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism. Cartesian Sonata, a book of four novellas, was published in 1998; Reading Rilke, in 1999. Gass received a Lannan Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997.

Lorin Cuoco is the associate director of the International Writers Center at Washington University. With William Gass, she edited The Writer in Politics, the first volume in this series. She is also the editor of The Dual Muse: The Writer as Artist, the Artist as Writer and Literary St. Louis: A Guide.


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