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Religious Experience and the Modernist Novel
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; 1. Churchgoing; 2. God's afterlife; 3. Henry James and the varieties of religious experience; 4. Marcel Proust and the elementary forms of religious life; 5. Franz Kafka and the hermeneutics of suspicion; 6. Virginia Woolf and the disenchantment of the world; 7. The burial of the dead; Select bibliography; Index; Notes.

Promotional Information

Considers the development of modernism in the novel in relation to changing attitudes to religion.

About the Author

Pericles Lewis is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Yale University. His past publications explore the development of modern literary forms in a period of political and social instability and include Modernism, Nationalism and the Novel (Cambridge, 2000) and The Cambridge Introduction to Modernism (Cambridge, 2007).

Reviews

'In this book, as in his two earlier ones, Pericles Lewis finds a new perspective on twentieth-century literature and demonstrates in surprising and convincing ways the depth and complexity of religious vision in the greatest modernist novels. With an impressive breadth of learning and an exact command of language and structure, this book finds in the work of Henry James, Marcel Proust, Franz Kafka, Virginia Woolf, and James Joyce a contradictory, self-doubting approach to religious meanings unlike those of most religious writing in the past three millennia, but profoundly religious meanings none the less. What makes the book so decisively convincing is that its approach illuminates patterns of structure and meaning that were unnoticed until now even in these deeply studied authors, but which, thanks to Lewis' alert, sympathetic readings, now seem unmistakably central.' Edward Mendelson, Columbia University
'Lewis's book is a masterly analysis of the transmutation of religious experience in the modernist novel ... The richness of [the] book lies in its vivid and persuasive detail, and the careful cross-referencing between chapters.' The Times Literary Supplement
'... describes an emergent preoccupation with the fact of death and its most salient aspect, the silence of one's ancestors; he sees the modern novel as self-consciously exploring an ultimately Pyrrhic yet essential and authentic need to connect with the dead ... Lewis's readings are usually good and occasionally extraordinary: there are throughout exceptional moments of textual engagement.' Modern Philology

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