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Literature and Spirituality in the English-Speaking World

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Edited By Kathie Birat and Brigitte Zaugg

This collection of essays focuses on the role of spirituality in American literature through an examination of the multiple ways in which a deep engagement with the spiritual has shaped and affected literature in the Americas (three of the essays involve Canadian and Caribbean literature). The essays in the first section explore the intimate links between the spiritual and the social as they are manifested in forms of fiction like fantasy, science fiction, and the Christian fundamentalist fiction of Jerry B. Jenkins. The second section looks at the ways in which poetry has allowed writers as diverse as Emily Dickinson, Ellen Glasgow, Fanny Howe and Leonard Cohen to use language as a tool for exploring their complex relation to the spiritual seen in terms of radical otherness, or of exile, or of the search for common ground as human beings. The final section approaches spirituality as a defining element of the American experience, from Nathaniel Hawthorne to Toni Morrison and Paul Auster.
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The Authors

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Mokhtar Ben Barka is Professor of American cultural studies at the University of Valenciennes, France. He has published books and essays on evangelicalism, fundamentalism, televangelism, the New Christian Right, and the Far Right. Among his recent publications are: La droite chrétienne américaine. Les évangéliques à la Maison Blanche? Éditions Privat, 2006 (translated into Arabic, Egypt, 2008), and “The New Christian Right’s Relations with Israel and with the American Jews: the mid-1970s onward,” E-rea, 10.1/2012. URL:http://erea;revues.org/2753.

Kathie Birat is Emeritus Professor of American, Afro-American and Afro-Caribbean literature at the University of Lorraine (Metz, France). She has published in all three areas of study with recent emphasis on fiction from the English-speaking Caribbean. Articles devoted to Caribbean fiction include work on Caryl Phillips, Fred D’Aguiar, Sam Selvon, Earl Lovelace and Robert Antoni. She has also devoted a number of articles to the subject of voice and its relation to effects of orality in the works of Caryl Phillips, Robert Antoni and Sam Selvon. “Neither ‘written’ nor ‘spoken’: The Ambiguities of Voice in the Fiction of Caryl Phillips” appeared in The Caribbean Writer as Warrior of the Imaginary, edited by Kathleen Gyssels and Bénédicte Ledent. The acts of the conference Dislocation culturelle et construction identitaire, co-edited with Brigitte Zaugg and Charles Scheel, recently appeared in the collection “Littératures des mondes contemporains,” published by the Centre Écritures (University of Lorraine).

Stéphanie Carrez is currently Associate Professor in American studies at the...

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