First published in 1988, the aim of this study is to define the role of religious meaning in the modern novel and to demonstrate that the novel can successfully express a religious feeling, but not a religious commitment. Through the analysis of four novels by Faulkner, Dostoyevsky, Werfel and Bernanos, the work explains why novels with a single definite commitment tend to be implausible and lacking in aesthetic unity.
This book will be of interest to those studying religion in 19th Century literature.
Table of Contents
Introduction; Part One; 1. Empathy and Characterization in Light in August 2. Light in August and the Question of Universality 3. Light in August and the Mystery of the Human Condition; Part Two; 4. From Faulkner to Dostoyevsky: Two Kinds of Religious Experience in the Novel 5. Characterization and the Experience of Conviction in The Idiot 6. Religious Unease and the Structure of The Idiot; Part Three; 7. Evocation of Feeling and Avowal of Commitment as Artistic Aims: From Faulkner and Dostoyevsky to Werfel and Bernanos 8. Confusion of Aim of Lack of Fictional Form in Werfel’s Embezzled Heaven 9. The Conflict between Rhetorical Aim and Fictional Form in Bernanos’ The Diary of a Country Priest; Conclusion; Works Cited