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Through a Glass Darkly

Suffering, the Sacred, and the Sublime in Literature and Theory

Edited by Holly Faith Nelson, Lynn R. Szabo, and Jens Zimmermann
Subjects Literary Criticism, Religion
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Paperback : 9781554583058, 480 pages, June 2010
Hardcover : 9781554581849, 480 pages, June 2010
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781554582914, 480 pages, June 2010
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Table of contents

Table of Contents for
Through a Glass Darkly: Suffering, the Sacred, and the Sublime in Literature and Theory, edited by Holly Faith Nelson, Lynn R. Szabo, and Jens Zimmermann


List of Illustrations

Trauma and Transcendence: An Introduction | Holly Faith Nelson

The Classical and Biblical Inheritance

Sacred Proposals and the Spiritual Sublime | David Lyle Jeffrey

Medieval Visions and Dreams

“Loke in: How weet a wounde is here!”: The Wounds of Christ as a Sacred Space in English Devotional Literature | Eleanor McCullough

Suffering in the Service of Venus: The Sacred, the Sublime, and Chaucerian Joy in the Middle Part of the Parliament of Fowls | Norm Klassen

Shakespearean Horror

Listening to Lavinia: Emmanuel Levinas’s Saying and Said in Titus Andronicus | Sean Lawrence

Precious Stories: The Discursive Economy in Shakespeare’s Rape of Lucrece | Heather G. S. Johnson

Metaphysical Afflictions

The Sacred Pain of Penitence: The Theology of John Donne’s Holy Sonnets | David Anonby

Bearing the Cross: The Christian's Response to Suffering in Herbert’s The Temple | Daniel W. Doerksen

The Ethical Romantic Sublime

Horrific Suffering, Sacred Terror, and Sublime Freedom in Helen Maria Williams’s Peru | Natasha Duquette

Joanna Baillie and the Christian Gothic: Reforming Society through the Sublime | Christine A. Colón

Suffering and Sacrament in the Nineteenth Century

Sacramental Suffering and the Waters of Redemption and Transformation in George Eliot’s Fiction | Constance M. Fulmer

Christina Rossetti and the Poetics of Tractarian Suffering | Esther T. Hu

Suffering in Word and in Truth: Seventeenth and Nineteenth Century Quaker Women’s Autobiography | Robynne Rogers Healey

Sacred Modernism(s)

Sacramental Imagination: Eucharists of the Ordinary Universe in the Works of Joyce, Proust, and Woolf | Richard Kearney

The Via Negativa in E. M. Forster’s A Passage to India | George Piggford

The Fellowship of Suffering and Hope in Fantasy Literature

Consolation in Un/certainty: The Sacred Spaces of Suffering in the Children’s Fantasy Literature of George MacDonald, C. S. Lewis, and Madeleine L’Engle | Monika Hilder

The Messiah of History: The Search for Synchronicity in Miller’s A Canticle for Leibowitz | Deanna T. Smid

Violation and Redemption in Canadian Fiction

Suffering and the Sacred: Hugh Hood’s The New Age / Le nouveau siécle | Barbara Pell

Fictional Violations in Alice Munro’s Narratives | John C. Van Rys

The American Sublime

Thomas Merton and the Aesthetics of the Sublime: A Beautiful Terror | Lynn R. Szabo

Belated Beloved: Time, Trauma, and the Sublime in Toni Morrison’s Beloved | Steve Vine

Annie Dillard on Holy Ground: The Artist as Nun in the Postmodern Sublime | Deborah Bowen

Japanese (Re)Visioning of the Suffering Christ

Passion Plays by Proxy: The Paschal Face as Interculturality in Endô Shûsaku and Mishima Yukio | Sean Somers

Postmodern Aesthetics and Beyond

Testifying to the Infinity of the Other: The Sacred and Ethical Dimensions of Secondary Witnessing in Anne Karpf’s The War After | Bettina Stumm

Sacred Space and the Fellowship of Suffering in the Postmodern Sublime | Richard J. Lane

Suffering Divine Things: Cruciform Reasoning or Incarnational Hermeneutics | Jens Zimmermann


Notes on Contributors



Suffering, the sacred, and the sublime are concepts that often surface in humanities research in an attempt to come to terms with what is challenging, troubling or impossible to represent. These intersecting concepts are used to mediate the gap between the spoken and the unspeakable, between experience and language, between body and spirit, between the immanent and the transcendent, and between the human and the divine. The twenty-five essays in Through a Glass Darkly: Suffering, the Sacred, and the Sublime in Literature and Theory, written by international scholars working in the fields of literary criticism, philosophy, and history, address the ways in which literature and theory have engaged with these three concepts and related concerns. The contributors analyze literary and theoretical texts from the medieval period to the postmodern age, from the works of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Donne, and Herbert to those of Endô Shûsaku, Alice Munro, Annie Dillard, Emmanuel Levinas, and Slavoj Žižek. This book will be of particular interest to scholars of religion and literature, philosophy and literature, aesthetic theory, and trauma studies.