Above the American Renaissance takes David S. Reynolds’s classic study Beneath the American Renaissance as a model and a provocation to consider how language and concepts broadly defined as spiritual are essential to understanding nineteenth-century American literary culture. In the 1980s, Reynolds’s scholarship and methodology enlivened investigations of religious culture, and since then, for reasons that include a rising respect for interdisciplinarity and the aftershocks of the 9/11 attacks, religion in literature has become a major area of inquiry for Americanists. In essays that reconsider and contextualize Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Herman Melville, Abraham Lincoln, and others, this volume captures the vibrancy of spiritual considerations in American literary studies and points a way forward within literary and spiritual investigations.
In addition to the editors and David S. Reynolds, contributors include Jeffrey Bilbro, Dawn Coleman, Jonathan A. Cook, Tracy Fessenden, Zachary Hutchins, Richard Kopley, Mason I. Lowance Jr., John Matteson, Christopher N. Phillips, Vivian Pollak, Michael Robertson, Gail K. Smith, Claudia Stokes, and Timothy Sweet.
John V. Glass III Catholic University of America Press, 2016 Library of Congress PS3539.A74Z655 2016 | Dewey Decimal 818.5209
This study reconsiders and reassesses the work of Allen Tate as a poet whose themes and expression place him among the most studied and canonical Modernists of the last century. Allen Tate (1899-1979), a former Poet Laureate of the US, although generally regarded during his lifetime as one of the twentieth century's preeminent literary critics and men of letters, has been largely overlooked by critics in the years since his death. John V. Glass III rectifies this by tracing the development of Tate's thought and verse from his early years as a student at Vanderbilt in the 1920s through his final terza-rima sequence completed in the 1950s. Tate's poetry in the intervening years charts the course of an American modernist who brings to bear on the problems of his age the unique perspective of a southerner, one who refuses either to accept sentimentality or to repudiate the past in his search for a solution to the dissociation of sensibility.
Spirituality has consistently been present in the political and cultural counternarratives of Chicanx literature. Calling the Soul Back focuses on the embodied aspects of a spirituality integrating body, mind, and soul. Centering the relationship between embodiment and literary narrative, Christina Garcia Lopez shows narrative as healing work through which writers and readers ritually call back the soul—one’s unique immaterial essence—into union with the body, counteracting the wounding fragmentation that emerged out of colonization and imperialism. These readings feature both underanalyzed and more popular works by pivotal writers such as Gloria Anzaldúa, Sandra Cisneros, and Rudolfo Anaya, in addition to works by less commonly acknowledged authors.
Calling the Soul Back explores the spiritual and ancestral knowledge offered in narratives of bodies in trauma, bodies engaged in ritual, grieving bodies, bodies immersed in and becoming part of nature, and dreaming bodies. Reading across narrative nonfiction, performative monologue, short fiction, fables, illustrated children’s books, and a novel, Garcia Lopez asks how these narratives draw on the embodied intersections of ways of knowing and being to shift readers’ consciousness regarding relationships to space, time, and natural environments.
Using an interdisciplinary approach, Calling the Soul Back draws on literary and Chicanx studies scholars as well as those in religious studies, feminist studies, sociology, environmental studies, philosophy, and Indigenous studies, to reveal narrative’s healing potential to bring the soul into balance with the body and mind.
Victoria Nelson Harvard University Press, 2012 Library of Congress PN3435.N45 2012 | Dewey Decimal 700.415
The Gothic has taken a revolutionary turn in this century. Today’s Gothic has fashioned its monsters and devils into heroes and angels and is actively reviving supernaturalism in popular culture. Nelson argues that this mainstreaming of a spiritually driven supernaturalism is a harbinger of what a post-Christian religion in America might look like.
Gloria Anzaldúa’s narrative and theoretical innovations, particularly her concept of mestiza consciousness, have influenced critical thinking about colonialism, gender, history, language, religion, sexuality, spirituality, and subjectivity. Yet Anzaldúa’s theory of spiritual mestizaje has not been extensively studied until now. Taking up that task, Theresa Delgadillo reveals spiritual mestizaje as central to the queer feminist Chicana theorist’s life and thought, and as a critical framework for interpreting contemporary Chicana literary and visual narratives. First mentioned by Anzaldúa in her pioneering book Borderlands/La Frontera, spiritual mestizaje is a transformative process of excavating bodily memory to develop a radical, sustained critique of oppression and renew one’s relation to the sacred. Delgadillo analyzes the role of spiritual mestizaje in Anzaldúa’s work and in relation to other forms of spirituality and theories of oppression. Illuminating the ways that contemporary Chicana narratives visualize, imagine, and enact Anzaldúa’s theory and method of spiritual mestizaje, Delgadillo interprets novels, memoir, and documentaries. Her critical reading of literary and visual technologies demonstrates how Chicanas challenge normative categories of gender, sexuality, nation, and race by depicting alternative visions of spirituality.