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Reviews375 Noting and applauding the diversity of approaches, Brown also notes "how many different ways there are to slip into reification" (p. 213). "Theory" has furnished the tools to dismantle just about everything; as yet, we have no indestructible object to meet this irresistible force, except perhaps some fundamental urge to get on with it. Even the most theoretical keep using the deconstructed rhetoric and participating in the contested hegemony. Strikingly, the two women contributors live that contradiction more intensely and painfully tiian their male colleagues; Fabricant's ironic caricature of herself "emerging periodically from underneath stacks of books, research notes, and papers" to protest mass destruction (p. 123), or Landry's concern about being one of only two women in this volume (p. 155), are just two examples. By contrast, even the more Marxist men appear comfortable transposing their struggles onto eighteenth-century contests, while the more humanistic have accommodated (commodified, Landry would say) the opposition. Students and teaching are surprisingly absent. Most of the contributors comment on their own experience as students, but only Damrosch claims that his students have influenced him as much as his colleagues (p. 204). He suggests parenthetically that his was the common experience; but I would guess that the interdisciplinary reading groups of graduate students and younger faculty members described by Landry have recendy been the most powerful influence, vehicles for disseminating theory and for constituting the équipes to which Damrosch realized belatedly he did not belong. In any case, these essays suggest that the greatest intellectual energy lately has gone into establishing positions within the field. These are twelve brilliant scholars, eloquendy reflecting on what they do; and a lot of what they do is worry about what they do, and what it means, if anything. I wonder what today's students make ofall the confusion, competition, and soul-searching among their mentors. The "old eighteenth century" undoubtedly took too much for granted, but it was easily usable; the new one may be suitable for experts only. Rutgers UniversityEnglish Showalter The Damned and the Elect: Guilt in Western Culture, by Friedrich OhIy; translated by Linda Archibald; xiv & 211 pp. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992, $49.95. The German subtide of this splendid monograph by the renowned Münster medievalist announces its theme a litde more modesdy as "Vom Leben mit der Schuld"—on living with guilt. Proceeding from a concomitant inquiry into the 376Philosophy and Literature Christian dieology of despair and presumption (published in Festgabe für 0. Höfler; Vienna, 1976), OhIy here extends his purview, both with selective concentration and in a broad sweep of supportive evidence, from literary works of the early thirteenth century to Thomas Mann's Der Erwählte (The Holy Sinner) of 1951 and, in conclusion, back to Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus. Originating in lectures given at the Rhenish-Westphalian Academy of Sciences in 1972 and first published in 1976, the ten chapters of this concise work ask not so much why and in what manner human beings succumb to sin, but how they live with their guilt. On the testimony primarily of medieval and early renaissance texts, it is the psychology of existential despair and of repentance that is analyzed here with the fervor oflearned seriousness and with the conviction that literature is written to provide guidance in solving the fundamental problems oflife. And yet, as George Steiner points out at die end of his brief foreword, Ohly's work on God's power to forgive nowhere touches "on the obvious central crux that, ofthe disciples, onlyJudas is, by his very name, defined as aJew," whose "alleged betrayal and . . . the deicide which it provokes" brought about the death of countlessJews "from those very times onward in whichJudas looms in Christian literature and iconography" (p. xiii). Ohly's antithetical types areJudas and Gregorius, the one despairing ofGod's mercy and thereby committing the ultimate sin against the Holy Spirit, the other trusting in His abounding grace as he submits himself to the hardships of true penance—without, to be sure, presuming that he has a right to deliverance and that he can delay the practice ofremorse until what he has accepted as necessary can also be...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 375-377
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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