In Culture and Redemption (2007), Tracy Fessenden argues that the development of postsecular critique requires a more thorough reckoning with the secular assumptions that so durably structure the categories and grammars of critical thought. As Peter Coviello and Jared Hickman have since elaborated, such a reckoning entails the radical reinvention of postsecularism's critical style. But what might these more pointedly situated and styled voices of postsecular critique sound like? Recent books of Americanist criticism by Coviello, Lindsay V. Reckson, and Phillip Maciak suggest new possibilities by coupling alternate cultural histories of the nineteenth century with instructive experiments in critical style. Each of these studies begins with a similar conviction: that stepping outside the immanent frame of secularism is impossible. Yet Coviello, Reckson, and Maciak all work to locate and create meaningful cracks in this frame. By flagging the hegemonic secular presumptions inherent to their own critical authority, by thinking, feeling, and writing from an unusually intimate proximity to their subjects, these three critics model how others might similarly evolve and enliven the postsecular approach.


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pp. 191-205
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