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Religion and Sexuality in American Literature by Ann-Janine Morey


Religion and Sexuality in American Literature by Ann-Janine Morey

Although sometimes religion and sexuality are treated as an aberrant theme in American literary and religious history, American writers from Nathaniel Hawthorne to John Updike have been fascinated with the connection between religious and sexual experience. Through the voice of American fiction, Religion and Sexuality in American Literature examines the relations of body and spirit (religion and sexuality). Using both canonical and non-canonical fiction, Ann-Janine Morey examines novels dealing with the ministry as the medium wherein so many of the tensions of religion and sexuality are dramatised and then moves to contemporary novels that deal with moral and religious issues through metaphor. Based upon a sophisticated and selective application of metaphor theory, deconstruction and feminist postmodernism, Morey argues that while American fiction has replicated many traditional animosities, there are also some rather surprising resources here for commonality between men and women if we acknowledge and understand the intimate relationship between language and physical life.


Morey demonstrates her familiarity with all the correct methodologies, from deconstructionism to feminist postmodernism, but her aim is to illumine the commonalities between spirit and body, men and women. She succeeds, gracefully.

First Things This is a book with many virtues. As Ann-Janine Morey lucidly explains, it is an investigation of the manner in which American novelists have 'handled the interaction between religious and sexual experience.
And she has handled that investigation with eclat. Her fourteen

-page introduction delineates the parameters of her study with a precision and clarity that is characteristic of the text as a whole. Morey's grasp of the issues, both historical and contemporary, is impressive....'Religion and Sexuality in American Literature
is an important contribution that should provoke much scholarly discussion.

Anita Gandolfo, Critical Review

About the Author

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Book Info

Publication date

11th December 2008


Ann-Janine Morey

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Cambridge University Press


292 pages


Literary studies: c 1800 to c 1900



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