Three scholars of religion explore literature and the literary as sites of critical transformation.
We are living in a time of radical uncertainty, faced with serious political, ecological, economic, epidemiological, and social problems. Scholars of religion Constance M. Furey, Sarah Hammerschlag, and Amy Hollywood come together in this volume with a shared conviction that what and how we read opens new ways of imagining our political futures and our lives.
Each essay 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 also a powerful enactment of devotion itself.