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Book

A Literary History of Reconciliation. Power, Remorse and the Limits of Forgiveness

From William Shakespeare to Marilynne Robinson, A Literary History of Reconciliation is the first study to examine representations of interpersonal reconciliation in work of literature across a long-term period, from the early seventeenth century to the present day, focusing on how these representations draw on the language of divine forgiveness.

Author
Jan Frans van Dijkhuizen
Date
06 September 2018
Links
Bloomsbury

From William Shakespeare to Marilynne Robinson, A Literary History of Reconciliation is the first study to examine representations of interpersonal reconciliation in work of literature across a long-term period, from the early seventeenth century to the present day, focusing on how these representations draw on the language of divine forgiveness. Christian theology sees divine forgiveness as conditional upon a sinner's remorse and self-abasement before God, but also as a form of grace – unconditional and rooted only in divine love. Van Dijkhuizen explores what happens when this paradoxical forgiveness paradigm comes to serve as a template for interpersonal reconciliation.

As A Literary History of Reconciliation shows, literary writers imagine interpersonal reconciliation as being centrally about power and hierarchy. Forgiveness without power, by contrast, is longed for but ever elusive and beyond reach. Drawing on major works of literature from the early modern era to the present day, this book explores works by John Milton, Virginia Woolf, J.M. Coetzee, Ian McEwan and others to craft a literary history that will appeal to readers interested in literature, religion, politics and philosophy.

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