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BOOK REVIEWS 677 Although Gribben claims that he is not surveying "an identifiable genre;' such a statement is belied by his continual use of the word "genre"throughout the study and his persistent recourse to the enduring tropes and recurring motifs that appear in the fiction (21). One wishes for an additional taxonomic chapter that would provide a structural comparison ofvarious tropes such asthe journalist protagonist, the ambivalent responses to technology and capitalism, and the rapture from the perspective of those left behind on an airplane-to name just a few. Nonetheless, such minor flawsfailto detract substantiallyfrom Gribben's skillful analysis,lucid prose, and thought-provoking perspectives, especially regarding the intersections between popular fiction, theology, and political activism in the 1990s and the first decade of the twenty-first century. Thecontroversial claims of prophecy novelists have often involved such virulent views as racism, anti-Semitism, and anti-Catholicism, but the most recent examples of the genre espouse isolationist tendencies along with a resacralization of violence-what Gribben calls the "culting of dispensationalisrn"-that bears a resemblance to the Branch Davidians (164). Left Behind may have entered the American cultural mainstream, but some of its adherents may wish to leave the cultural mainstream behind-as evidenced by the increasingly widespread trend of home-schooling in conservative Christian circles,a trend which deserves an intensive sociological study and an evaluation of the commonly used curriculum created by Bob Jones University. Gribben's work also opens further avenues for investigating the correlation between an escapist mentality and the Protestant penchant for epic fantasy fiction, which forms a sharp contrast with the incarnational and sacramental fiction of Catholic authors such as Graham Greene and Shusaku Endo. Having laid a solid foundation for future scholarship, Gribben's study offers an engaging cultural critique that will appeal to Christian and non-Christian readers alike as it implicitly offers a cautionary narrative regarding the sensationalizing of dispensationalism. Kathryn Stelmach Artuso Westmont College Mimesis and Theory: Essays on Literature and Criticism, 1953-2005. By Rene Girard. Edited by Robert Doran. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2008. ISBN: 978-0-8047-5580-1. Pp. xi + 310. $50.00 Rene Girard's work in mimetic theory has found its way into various disciplines-literary studies, anthropology, psychology, theology, and religious studies-no doubt because of the remarkable revelatory power his mimetic theory and scapegoat mechanism have provided for scholars. Becausehis work on violence and the scapegoat mechanism has found its clearest voice and has produced much fruit in religious studies, it is easyto forget where the "discovery"of mimetic theory 678 CHRISTIANITY AND LITERATURE began for Girard-with his study ofliterature. One can forget just how good Girard is as a reader of the literary text. By offering us twenty of Girard's uncollected essays (six of which are translated by Doran for the first time in English), Robert Doran brings us back to the beginning, as it were, of Girard's work on mimetic theory. Doran's translations are excellent, demonstrating his depth and breadth of knowledge ofGirard's writing (both in French and in translation). His taut, succinct introduction to the essaysis splendid, smart, and one of the best short summations of Girard's work I have read. In brief sections in the introduction ("Mimesis and Psychoanalysis;' "Author and Text;' "Text and Interpretation"), Doran introduces the reader to what is at stake in Girard's thought, offering us both the historical backdrop and the intellectual arguments in play. The jacket blurb by Tzvetan Todorov best sums up Girard's key insight with regard to the relationship between literature and literary criticism: "In contrast to the majority of recent and contemporary theoreticians of literature, Rene Girard shows that the literary work refers to the world and even reveals its truth-often better than science or philosophy:' At his best, and perhaps most contrarian, Girard attempts to demonstrate that literature constantly undertakes a reading of the critics of literature, that literature is perhaps always one step ahead of the critic. The essays are presented in chronological order by date of publication and are themselves of two sorts. There are essays which concern themselves with literary studies as a discipline: "Formalism...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2056-5666
Print ISSN
0148-3331
Pages
pp. 677-681
Launched on MUSE
2020-02-14
Open Access
No
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