Entangled Voices: Genre and the Religious Construction of the Self
In this book, Ruf tries to understand how the concepts of "voice" and "genre" function in texts, especially religious texts. To this end, he joins literary theorists in the discussion about "narrative." Ruf rejects the idea of genre as a fixed historical form that serves as a template for readers and writers; instead, he suggests that we imagine different genres, whether narrative, lyric, or dramatic, as the expression of different voices. Each voice, he asserts, possesses different key qualities: embodiment, sociality, contextuality, and opacity in the dramatic voice; intimacy, limitation, urgency in lyric; and a "magisterial" quality of comprehensiveness and cohesiveness in narrative. These voices are models for our selves, composing an unruly and unstable multiplicity of selves. Ruf applies his theory of "voice" and "genre" to five texts: Dineson's Out of Africa, Donne's Holy Sonnets, Primo Levi's The Periodic Table, Robert Wilson's Einstein on the Beach, and Coleridge's Biographia Literaria. Through these literary works, he discerns the detailed ways in which a text constructs a voice and, in the process, a self. More importantly, Ruf demonstrates that this process is a religious one, fulfilling the function that religions traditionally assume: that of defining the self and its world.
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Chapter 1 The Voices of Narrative Lyric and Drama
Narrative Lyric and Dramatic Intelligibility
The Lyric Voice in John Donnes Holy Sonnets
Narrative Voice in Primo Levis The Periodic Table
The Dramatic Voice in Robert Wilsons Einstein on the Beach
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Alasdair MacIntyre Allik argues associationism audience autobiography basic genres Beach Bersani Biographia Literaria chapter character characteristics Chatman coherence and intelligibility cohesion Coleridge Coleridge’s contrast critics culture days my friends depiction Dinesen dissonance distinct Donne Donne’s lyric drama dramatic voice Einstein experience fact Figures of Literary first-person fragmentation Genette’s Gerard Genette Gerhart Gunn hear Holy Sonnets human Ibid Ihde intentionally left blank intimacy Jerome Bruner John Donne kinds Levi Levi’s Lewalski lyric voice magisterial mastery means mixed forms multiplicity narrative and lyric narrative theology narrative voice narrator one’s Paul Ricoeur Periodic Table person Plato poems poet poetry presents Primo Levi Princeton readers religion rich and messy Robert Wilson Samuel Taylor Coleridge seems sense sort spoken Stanley Hauerwas story theology Thiemann tion tive trans understanding unified unity University Press variety voice speaks W. R. Johnson Walter Ong William James Winquist words writing York