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- DescriptionConfronting Evil: The Psychology of Secularization in Modern French Literature holds that the concept of evil is central to the psychology of secularism. Drawing on tions of secularization as a phemen of ambivalence or dualism in which religion continues to exist alongside secularity in exerting influence on modern French thought, author Scott M. Powers enlists psychoanalytic theory on mourning and sublimation, the philosophical concept of the sublime, Charles Taylor's theory of religious and secular cross-pressures, and William James's psychology of conversion to account for the survival of religious themes in Baudelaire, Zola, Huysmans, and Celine. For Powers, Baudelaire's prose poems, Zola's experimental vels, and Huysmans's and Celine's early narratives attempt to account for evil by redefining the traditionally religious concept along secular lines. However, when unmitigated by the mechanisms of irony and sublimation, secular confrontation with the dark and seemingly absurd dimension of man leads modern writers such as Huysmans and Celine, paradoxically, to embrace a religious or quasi-religious understanding of good and evil. In the end, Powers finds that how authors cope with the reality of suffering and human wickedness has a direct bearing on the ability to sustain a secular vision.
- Author BiographyScott M. Powers is an associate professor of French at the University of Mary Washington, USA. He has authored several articles on modern and postmodern treatments of evil and secularization in Baudelaire, Zola, Celine, Beigbeder, and Littell. Powers also edited a volume devoted to evil in contemporary French and Francophone literature. Research areas that intersect with his investigations into French literature on evil include Catholic theology, medical theory, anti-Semitism, and the Holocaust. Other publications include coauthorship of the second-year French language and culture textbook Interaction: Langue et culture and contributions to two volumes of the MLA Approaches to Teaching World Literature. Powers currently is pursuing research on the tension between the religious and the secular in Quebecois literature of the twentieth century.
- Author(s)Scott M. Powers
- PublisherPurdue University Press
- Date of Publication30/04/2016
- SubjectLiterary Criticism
- Series TitlePurdue Studies in Romance Literatures
- Place of PublicationWest Lafayette
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintPurdue University Press
- Weight431 g
- Width152 mm
- Height229 mm
- Spine20 mm
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