Joseph Smith, Jesus and Satanic Opposition: Atonement, Evil and the Mormon Vision by Douglas J. Davies

Posted in Uncategorized on December 23, 2010 by Aaron R.

Davies argues that Mormonism’s force as a religion is intelligible through a relational trinity (Jesus, Satan and Joseph Smith) evoked in three paradigmatic scenes: the Grand Council, Gethsemane and the Sacred Grove.  This intelligibility makes Mormonism Plan of Salvation both accessible and appealing.  Davies’ attempts to speak to and through a form of Mormonism which is now fading, or at least shifting, gives this text a liminal quality.  He attributes some of the major shifts in LDS ecclesiology and theology to the reconfiguration of this trinity.  And yet, despite being focussed upon Mormonism’s past, his book sensitises members of the Church, and interested observers, to those changes currently occurring. Continue reading

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Pre-postcolonialism: Postcolonialism by Robert J. C. Young

Posted in Uncategorized on December 21, 2010 by Aaron R.

Not enough praise could be expressed for Oxford University Press’ ‘Very Short Introductions’.  They provide excellent surveys of a field of study with just enough depth to sensitise the reader to the potential of a set of disciplinary tools.  Unfortunately, praise for the series as a whole cannot be applied to every book.  Robert J. C. Young’s addition to the series is one those texts that does what it promised but in a fashion which seems alien to its topic. Continue reading

The Ecstasy of Sanctimony: The Human Stain by Philip Roth

Posted in Uncategorized on December 21, 2010 by Aaron R.

The third-part of Roth’s second Zuckerman trilogy (The Human Stain) was written in the context of America’s obsession with Clinton’s affair and considers Identity politics in American life.  Roth uses Zuckerman’s portrayal of Coleman Silk’s racial deceit as a back-drop to explore ‘America’s oldest communal passion… its most treacherous and subversive pleasure: the ecstasy of sanctimony’ (p. 2). Continue reading

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

Posted in Uncategorized on November 19, 2010 by Aaron R.

There is something deeply disturbing about Yates’ ‘Revolutionary Road’ for those who ever seriously dreamt of achieving greatness in their life.  This not merely an angst-ridden tale of middle-America but rather it explores something paradoxical at the heart of the American dream.  It explores both the crux of that paradox and the violent limits of its pursuit. Continue reading

So I Married a Communist by Philip Roth

Posted in Uncategorized on November 12, 2010 by Aaron R.

Roth’s Zuckerman novels are some of the most moving books I have ever read.  So I Married a Communist meditates upon the relationality of subjectivity, much like Roth’s earlier American Pastoral.  The intertextuality of the narratives re-telling raises important questions about the way in which Iron Rinn, Roth’s main protagonist, is constructed through his brother and through Zuckerman (Roth’s authorial alter-ego).  Roth is keen to explore how the act of re-telling is a re-construction of both the teller and the told.  Musings on intertextuality have little to offer that is new: therefore, rather than reviewing the work as a whole I want to consider a few key lines or ideas from Roth as part of this over-arching theme. Continue reading