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Christianity and Literature 556 that, at the conclusion of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, George Harris goes to Liberia, but she does not address this fact in the chapter on Stowe and does not deal with the problem that Harris (and his political oratory) and Topsy (and her missionary work, presumably including preaching resonant with Eva’s preaching) are excluded from the empowerment characters find in preaching to white men. Addressing this exclusion in relation to her argument would make Coleman’s claim in this chapter potentially more persuasive. Preaching and the Rise of the American Novel offers enough intriguing and significant insights so as to make the weaknesses mentioned above relatively minor. While Coleman’s study presents fresh readings of seemingly over-criticized works, such as The Scarlet Letter and Moby-Dick, the greater contribution is in opening up a method of inquiry that would yield astute scholarship outside the adequately narrow scope of this study. As Coleman demonstrates in her conclusion, her theoretical approach can be applied to select postbellum works also, such as William Dean Howells’ The Minister’s Charge. One can envision her approach similarly enabling shrewd readings of Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury or Light in August or Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, works that both interrogate and revere preachers and preaching. The chapter that examines the ways conduct book authors deal with the novel is also a noteworthy challenge to scholarly assumptions regarding the rise of the novel in America. The chapters on George Lippard and William Wells Brown should likewise prompt further investigation, Lippard’s chapter for its attempt to redeem his prose from opprobrium and Brown’s chapter for its contribution to discussions of oppressed peoples’ imitation and appropriation of the language of the oppressors for subversive purposes. Meticulously researched and engaging, Preaching and the Rise of the American Novel will certainly be of interest to students of history, literature, and rhetoric. Joshua Boyd Baylor University The Achievement of Wendell Berry: The Hard History of Love. By Fritz Oehlschlaeger. Lexington, KY: The University Press of Kentucky, 2011. ISBN 9780 -8131-3007-1. Pp. xii + 322. $40.00. The title of Fritz Oehlschlaeger’s book ends with the word love, and this is only appropriate, for love permeates the volume: Wendell Berry’s love for land, the Port Royal membership’s love for their community, and particularly Oehlschlaeger’s own love for Berry’s achievement over the last half-century. As with many works about Berry, the book addresses a delimited readership, readers who are “anything but 557 Book Reviews dispassionate or merely curious” about such things as “land, people, [and] specific places” (243). The book, then, may strike some as another attempt to evangelize the already-converted, but Oehlschlaeger’s willingness to venture the work anyway speaks to his humble approach as a reader who has internalized Berry’s commitment to work “rooted in care, affection, and honesty” (8). Additionally, the book is exceptional in its purpose to take Berry on his own terms; that is, it is an attempt to interpret Berry’s writings rather than to explore his personality or to press his works into the service of some other end. Readers more interested in Wendell Berry, the man, may want, instead, to take up works like Conversations with Wendell Berry (2007), edited by Morris Allen Grubbs, or Wendell Berry: Life and Work (2007), edited by Jason Peters. Both collections offer glimpses, through interviews or personal vignettes, into Berry’s life. For readers interested in the political implications of Berry’s work, Mark T. Mitchell and Nathan Schlueter’s recent volume, The Humane Vision of Wendell Berry (2011), may be more to their liking. While readers certainly can learn much about Berry and his proposed way of life from Oehlschlaeger, The Achievement of Wendell Berry sets out to offer a thoroughgoing vision of Berry’s entire corpus, presenting readers a comprehensive interpretation of Berry’s career as a life’s work flowing from a unified, coherent vision of the human condition. Although no single chapter considers agrarianism proper, the agrarian way of life does serve as the thread holding together the discussion of Berry’s nonfiction, fiction, and...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2056-5666
Print ISSN
0148-3331
Pages
pp. 556-560
Launched on MUSE
2020-02-04
Open Access
No
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