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The Gift of Story
Narrating Hope in a Postmodern World

Edited by Emily Griesinger and Mark Eaton

The Gift of Story
Paperback, 352 pages $44.95
Published: 10th March 2006
ISBN: 9781932792478
Format: 9in x 6in

Subjects: All Literature, All Religious Studies, All Theology, Religion & Literature

The Gift of Story brings contemporary literature and film into conversation with the grand Christian narrative. This book examines the specific connections between contemporary cultural meta-narratives (the stories humans typically tell about themselves) and the ideas of hope found in Christianity. Despite postmodernism’s skepticism about narrative, the dialogue with contemporary fiction, drama, music and film demonstrates that the Christian story can engender and sustain hope.




Section 1: The Postmodern Condition

1. Inventing Hope: The Question of Belief in Don DeLillo's Novels, Mark Eaton
2. Voices from Within: Gloria Anzaldúa, bell hooks, and Roberta Bondi, Anne-Marie Bowery
3. Time for Hope: The Sixth Sense, American Beauty, Memento, and Twelve Monkeys, D. Brent Laytham

4. Beyond Futility: American Beauty and the Book of Ecclesiastes, Robert K. Johnston

Section 2: The Valley of Despair

5. Prosaic Grace: Doris Betts's Souls Raised from the Dead, Martha Greene Eads
6. Narrative Bones: Amy Tan's Bonesetter's Daughter and Hugh Cook's Homecoming Man, Elaine Lux
7. Hope from a Radio: Jurek Becker's Jakob the Liar, Eric Sterling
8. Friendship and Hope: Elie Wiesel's The Town Beyond the Wall, Carole J. Lambert

Section 3: Resisting the Night

9. A Passion for the Impossible: Richard Rorty, John Okada, and James Baldwin, Harold K. Bush, Jr.
10. The Prophetic Burden: James Baldwin as a Latter-Day Jeremiah, Kelvin Beliele
11. Reconciliation and Hope: Confessional Narratives in South Africa, Susan VanZanten Gallagher

Section 4: Adversity and Grace

12. Hope in Hard Times: Moments of Epiphany in Illness Narratives, Marilyn Chandler McEntyre
13. Geographies of Hope: Kathleen Norris and David Lynch, Kevin L. Cole
14. Attunement and Healing: The Fisher King, VMichael B. Herzog
15. The Gift of Grace: Isak Dinesen's Babette's Feast, Maire Mullins

Section 5: Hope and the Imagination

16. The Redress of Imagination: Bernard MacLaverty's Grace Notes, Barry Sloan
17. The Search for "Deeper Magic": J. K. Rowling and C. S. Lewis, Emily Griesinger
18. J. R. R. Tolkien: Postmodern Visionary of Hope, Ralph C. Wood

Works Cited

List of Contributors

"The Gift of Story powerfully illustrates the need for "grand stories" that offer a sense of purpose, meaning, and direction to life, and the costs incurred when we try to live without them. The authors demonstrate that hope is as much a discipline as it is a gift, and that it is impossible to sustain hope apart from courage, love, and imagination. Original, compelling, and very engaging, The Gift of Story reveals that there is a depth and resilience to hope that optimism inherently lacks."

Paul J. Wadell, Professor of Religious Studies, St. Norbert College

The Gift of Story addresses a vital theme—that of Hope—in contemporary fiction, film, and philosophy, focusing on the Christian tradition as a response to the “postmodern” climate of fragmented hopes and fears at the turn of the twenty-first century. The book's essays find surprising expressions of hope in the novels and movies they examine, and are themselves efforts to find and express hope.

—Will Katerberg, Calvin College

Written from a realistic and well-informed Christian perspective, the authors—whose eyes are open to the tragedies and contradictions of life—make a convincing case that narrative can be a gift, a gift that even engenders hope. The book is incisive, provocative, and heartening.

—Stephen T. Davis, Russell K. Pitzer Professor of Philosophy, Claremont McKenna College

Emily Griesinger is Professor of English at Azusa Pacific University.

Mark A. Eaton is Associate Professor of English at Azusa Pacific University.

Publication Details:

 Paperback , 352 pages
 9in x 6in

 Baylor University Press

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