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BOOK REVIEWS 301 chose not to embrace the abolitionist cause because they, unlike the abolitionists, could foresee the high cost of such reform: a catastrophic Civil War. Once again citing Delbanco, he points out that the one thing that all abolitionists had in common was evangelical Protestant religious fervor-something that the artists did not espouse. He declares quite simply: "No religion, no abolitionism" (146). McClay's succinct discussion of several of Hawthorne's short works supports his (and Delbanco's) supposition that the writers did react to ideas of abolitionism, although not specifically. Delbanco follows these critiques of his work with a brief response; however, I think readers of Christianity andLiterature willfind Delbanco'soriginal essayalong with McClay's the most valuable in this brief volume. These two, arriving from similar directions, explain most specificallythe relationship between imagination and abolitionism. Stauffer's criticism of Delbanco's essay offers a thoughtful and useful commentary that presents another side of the argument, and it should definitely be read alongside the other essays. Sinha'sand Pinckney's contributions are more tangential to Delbancos thesis, and, while they provide an added dimension to the volume, their approaches explore less specifically the topic of the abolitionist imagination. Ultimately, this brief collection of connected essays provides a thorough argument from different perspectives of the motivations of abolitionists and how they affected contemporary thinking as well as that of the twenty-first century. Scott Hamilton Suter Bridgewater College I Told My Soul to Sing: Finding God with Emily Dickinson. By Kristin LeMay. Brewster,MA: Paraclete Press, 2013.ISBN978-1-61261-163-1. Pp. 291. $17.99. Emily Dickinson is a writer who prompts personal responses from her readers, even from scholars. Susan Howe'swidely read My Emily Dickinson (1985) blends scholarly inquiry with a dash of first-person pronouns, and Wider Than the Sky: Essays and Meditations on the Healing Power of Emily Dickinson (2007), edited by Cindy Mackenzie and Barbara Dana, overtly calls for personal responses to Dickinson's work. More recently, Susan VanZanten published Mendinga Tattered Faith: Devotions with Dickinson (2011), which provides close readings of twentynine poems for the purpose of devotional exercise. Kristin LeMay's I Told My SoultoSing: Finding Godwith EmilyDickinson takes its place among these projects, with an emphasis on the waysin which Dickinson's poetry has impacted the author's own spiritual journey. LeMay calls Dickinson "Saint Emily, patron of all who wrestle with God" and explains, "For over ten 302 CHRISTIANITY AND LITERATURE years, I have turned to her poems as others have to Scripture;' adding, "I've read her poetry the way others go to Biblestudy, in order to challenge what I know and to know better what challenges me" (3, 11). Although this book is marketed as a spiritual autobiography, the author's knowledge and use of Dickinson's life and work is both extensive and responsible. LeMay'sreading of the poems is thorough, insightful, and likely to be of use to scholars. Throughout five chapters, LeMay examines twenty-five Dickinson poems alongside her own search for God. She intentionally selects lesser-known poems that address religious subjects, avoiding those much-discussed titles like "Some keep the Sabbath going to Church" in orderto provide fresh insights into Dickinson's spiritual life coupled with a new mode of analysis. Though LeMay'sexploration of twenty-five poems is rooted in close readings, she combines careful textual analysis with theological and historical contexts, with Dickinson's letters and biographies, and with the impact of the poems on the author's own life. LeMay hopes her book will guide readers to Dickinson, help them encounter the richness of her poetry, and finally, gain the "kindlier" and "jauntier view of God" that she has found in the poems after years of diligent reading (14). The first chapter, "Belief;' starts with the season of revivals in New England during Dickinson's life and with the story of her refusal to convert to Christianity while a student at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary. In this chapter, LeMay explores the extent to which Dickinson considered conversion a sign of giving up or resignation. She states that Dickinson's own experience with conversion counters her contemporaries' beliefs...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2056-5666
Print ISSN
0148-3331
Pages
pp. 301-304
Launched on MUSE
2020-02-04
Open Access
No
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