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

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

Jan Frans van Dijkhuizen | 2018 | ISBN: 1350027227 | English | 248 pages | PDF | 5 MB

From William Shakespeare to Marilynne Robinson, this book examines representations of interpersonal reconciliation in works of literature, 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, and present forgiveness without power as longed for but ever elusive. 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 and philosophy.

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