cover of book

Devotion: Three Inquiries in Religion, Literature, and Political Imagination
by Constance M. Furey, Sarah Hammerschlag and Amy Hollywood
University of Chicago Press
eISBN: 978-0-226-81611-1 | Cloth: 978-0-226-81610-4 | Paper: 978-0-226-81612-8

Three religious scholars delve into the potential of literature as a site of radical transformation.

We are living in a time of radical uncertainty, faced with serious political, ecological, economic, epidemiological, and social problems. What brings scholars of religion Constance M. Furey, Sarah Hammerschlag, and Amy Hollywood together in this volume is a shared conviction that “reading helps us live with and through the unknown,” including times like these. They argue that what we read and what reading itself demands of us open new ways of imagining our political futures and our lives.

Each chapter in this book suggests different ways to characterize the object of devotion and the stance of the devout subject before it. Furey writes about devotion in terms of vivification, energy, and artifice; Hammerschlag in terms of commentary, mimicry, and fetishism; and Hollywood in terms of anarchy, antinomianism, and atopia. They are interested in literature not as providing models for ethical, political, or religious life, but as creating the site in which the possible—and the impossible—transport the reader, enabling new forms of thought, habits of mind, and ways of life. Ranging from German theologian Martin Luther to French-Jewish philosopher Sarah Kofman to American poet Susan Howe, this volume is not just a reflection on forms of devotion and their critical and creative import, but is also a powerful enactment of devotion itself.
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