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BOOK REVIEWS 681 So, for example, in his reading of Notes from Underground, Girard highlights the Underground Man'smimetic rivalry with the officerwho "unceremoniously" moves him aside as opposed to throwing the Underground Man through a window as he had fantasized (a desire discovered in the various romantic novels he reads). I agree that the officer acts now as a model and obstacle, yet one will miss crucial aspects of this underground tragedy if one moves too quickly awayfrom the Underground Man's primary model-books. In other words, the Underground Man's initial attraction to the officer is already mediated, and books, these external models in Girardian parlance, stand as the foundation to understanding imitation in Part II of Notes-a fact about which the narrator takes pains to make us aware. I offer this instance not as a critique of Girard's particular reading here, but simply as an example of the strength of mimetic theory-that while it is admittedly reductionist, it also offers a plentitude of readings in its "system:' Robert Doran has done a great service to literary studies by giving us this collection of essays. For those familiar with Girard's work, the essays will provide a fascinating historical view ofthe trajectory of his thought. For those unfamiliar with Girard's work, I believe some essays in this collection could prove to be difficult; however, because of Doran's elegant introduction and because Girard deals with the same issues time and again in the various literary texts, I believe the patient reader will be offered a solid introduction to mimetic theory and literary study. J.A. Jackson Hillsdale College To Change the World: TheIrony, Tragedy, 1& Possibility ofChristianity in the Late Modern World. By James Davison Hunter. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010. ISBN978-0199730803. Pp. 368. $27.95. The work of James Davison Hunter, as a sociologist of religion and culture, has not been made use of very often by literary scholars. His 1991 book Culture Wars: The Struggle to DefineAmerica played a large role in defining the terrain of American political analysis in terms of deep, morally-based partisan struggle, and the "culture war" metaphor has become ubiquitous in the two decades since. Still, there waslittle either in that book, or in his other studies ofAmerican evangelicalism and moral education, that was of immediate use to literary critics. That may begin to change, especially for scholars interested in Christianity and literature, with the publication of his latest book, To Change the World. In it, Hunter offers a sweeping, detailed analysis of the state of American Christianity and its relationship to power within the framework of a compelling sketch of social theory. And while he doesn't say much in the book about the literary field directly, his argument for altering 682 CHRISTIANITY AND LITERATURE the way we think about late modern Christianity opens space to appreciate recent literary developments in a fresh light and suggests as well new directions for the intersection of Christianity and literature at this moment. To Change the World is written, as the subtitle suggests, directly to Christian believers, but there is also much to be learned from the book about the relationship between religion and culture-as well as the vicissitudes of Christian identity in contemporary America-by those who do not identify as Christian. The main task Hunter undertakes in the book is to review and critique the modes of approach to "world-changing" in the major Christian traditions within the U.S., and he finds all of them-the Christian right, mainline Christianity, and the neo-Anabaptist tradition-significantly compromised in their approaches. According to Hunter, American Christians most often ignore institutional and structural realities of culture and pursue world-changing by seeking to influence the "hearts and minds" of individuals on the assumption that cultural change proceeds from the bottom up, as in the supposedly popular sources of the religious awakenings of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. When Christians do give attention to a collective level of cultural transformation, they have sought to impose their will on the culture at large by grasping for the political power necessary to legislate and adjudicate the values they...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2056-5666
Print ISSN
0148-3331
Pages
pp. 681-684
Launched on MUSE
2020-02-14
Open Access
No
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