Rhetorics of Religion in American Fiction

Rhetorics of Religion in American Fiction
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Faith, Fundamentalism, and Fanaticism in the Age of Terror
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Liliana M. Naydan
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This book addresses representations of belief in the polarized post-9/11 Age of Terror. Naydan tracks how both major and less-known contemporary authors of diverse religious heritages negotiate religious and ideological differences that involve secularism and atheism on the one hand and religious fundamentalism and fanaticism on the other.
Rhetorics of Religion in American Fiction considers the way in which contemporary

American authors address the subject of belief in the post-9/11 Age of Terror. Naydan

suggests that after 9/11, fiction by Mohsin Hamid, Laila Halaby, Philip Roth, Don

DeLillo, John Updike, and Barbara Kingsolver dramatizes and works to resolve impasses

that exist between believers of different kinds at the extremes. These impasses emerge

out of the religious paradox that shapes America as simultaneously theocratic and

secular, and they exist, for instance, between liberals and fundamentalists, between

liberals and certain evangelicals, between fundamentalists and artists, and between

fundamentalists of different varieties. Ultimately, Naydan argues that these authors

function as literary theologians of sorts and forge a relevant space beyond or between

extremes. They fashion faith or lack thereof as hybridized and hence as a negotiation

among secularism, atheism, faith, fundamentalism, and fanaticism. In so doing, they

invite their readers into contemplations of religious difference and new ways of

memorializing 9/11.

Introduction: The Paradox of Religion in America and American Literature

Chapter 1:Uncertain Faith for Islamic Others after 9/11: Capitalist and Religious Fundamentalisms in Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist and Laila Halaby’s Once in a Promised Land

Chapter 2:Beyond Religious, Atheistic, and Capitalist Fundamentalisms for Post-9/11 Jewish Others: The Rhetoric of Art in Philip Roth’s Everyman and Exit Ghost

Chapter 3:Toward a Post-9/11 Rhetoric of Catholic Mystery: Terror and Fundamentalism in Don DeLillo’s “Baader-Meinhof” and Point Omega

Chapter 4:Emergent Varieties of Religious Experience from a Protestant Perspective: Fundamentalist, Fanatical, and Hybrid Faith in John Updike’s “Varieties of Religious Experience” andTerrorist

Chapter 5:Between Protestantism and Pantheism: Post-9/11 Rhetorics of Nature, Science, and Religion in Barbara Kingsolver’s Small Wonder and Flight Behavior

Conclusion: Memorializing 9/11 through Interfaith Dialogue with and about American Fiction about Religion



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