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Yuasa’s creative reading of postmodernism and Lewis could be strengthened if she drew upon the main arguments in An Experiment in Criticism, The Personal Heresy, and Studies in Words in order to make her point appear feasible, since it is in these works that Lewis develops his theory of the author’s intention, the role of the reader, and the limited nature of language. Some ideas Lewis offers in Experiment in Criticism include the assumption of narrative stability, of internal consistency, of objective meaning, of authorial intent, and of transcendent value: none of these are postmodern. While Yuasa does mention Experiment in Criticism, she does not draw on its more important claims to support her own on any but a surface level. What Yuasa offers readers is a careful reminder that Christianity has much to offer literary theory and shares some approaches that have been confiscated by subsequent scholars of postmodernism. The origin of these approaches is in the God of Christianity, who commands Christians to treat others as made in the Creator’s image and deserving of a careful reading in multiple modes, taking the entire person (body, soul, and spirit) into account. Yuasa’s reading of James K. A. Smith, Alister McGrath, and others is a pertinent call to examine our reading practices and Lewis’s enduring legacy in a world that struggles to reintegrate the disconnected members of our rational and imaginative faculties: something Christianity has to offer our readings. While I believe Yuasa’s central thesis of Christian postmodernism is flawed, many parts of the book reward readers’ careful attention, especially her analysis of the three Lewis’s fictional works. Toby F. Coley University of Mary Hardin-Baylor Cormac McCarthy and the Signs of Sacrament: Literature, Theology, and the Moral of Stories. By Matthew L. Potts. New York: Bloomsbury, 2015. ISBN 978-1-5013-0655-6. Pp. 224. $39.95. In the last decade, scholarship that emphasizes the theological and religious bent of Cormac McCarthy’s work has grown. Journals devoted to these intersections, including Christianity and Literature, Religion and Literature, and Literature and Belief, have published articles on McCarthy that focus on topics such as morality, virtue, theodicy, Catholicism, and biblical influences, among others. Recent booklength studies that contribute to such conversations include Lydia R. Cooper’s No More Heroes: Narrative Perspective and Morality in Cormac McCarthy (2011), Manuel Broncano’s Religion in Cormac McCarthy’s Fiction: Apocryphal Borderlands (2013), and Todd Edmondson’s Priest, Prophet, Pilgrim: Types and Distortions of Spiritual Vocation in the Fiction of Wendell Berry and Cormac McCarthy (2014). Although many McCarthy scholars read his work as nihilistic or anti-religious, these recent studies show that using a moral lens to read this author has proven fruitful. Book Reviews 559 Matthew L. Potts’s Cormac McCarthy and the Signs of Sacrament: Literature, Theology, and the Moral of Stories continues such scholarship by offering an extensive study of sacrament in McCarthy’s work. He focuses on McCarthy’s more recent novels, basing his arguments on Suttree, Blood Meridian, The Border Trilogy, No Country for Old Men, and The Road in an introduction, five chapters, and an epilogue. In the introduction, Potts situates his argument among McCarthy scholarship and qualifies his assertions by acknowledging why this author’s work might be read as nihilistic. He nevertheless demonstrates that as McCarthy’s career has progressed, his work, as well as scholarship on his work, has increasingly included conversations and details that affirm morality, religion, and theology. Potts therefore articulates the significance of his own argument, which addresses sacrament, an understudied aspect of morality among McCarthy critics. Potts begins his argument with St. Augustine and draws upon Martin Luther and Rowan Williams to provide a definition of sacrament to guide his study. He quotes Augustine, who states, ‘‘the sacraments are ‘visible words’ that do what they say’’ (11). This understanding of sacrament informs Potts’s readings of McCarthy’s books and figures most obviously in his fifth chapter, which focuses on The Road. Through the five chapters that provide close, theological readings of selected McCarthy novels, Potts argues that the bleak worlds in...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2056-5666
Print ISSN
0148-3331
Pages
pp. 559-562
Launched on MUSE
2020-01-28
Open Access
No
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