The Gospel According to Carey: Christian Hermeneutics in Bliss and Oscar and Lucinda

by Cooper, Jason Lee

Abstract (Summary)
In this thesis, I argue for the re-integration of Christian theoretical perspective in a field-literary studies-that has increasingly marginalized Christian perspective since the theoretical boom beginning with the New Critics. I also attempt to take the defining of Christian literary theory one step further in the application of theoretical ideas and aims found in the ideas and texts of David Lyle Jeffrey, Saint Augustine, Saint Jerome and others. In short, I argue that the bottom line in a Christian reading of a novel should be how ably the novel in question appropriates Scripture as a means to pointing back to Christ, to the Incarnation-or, even more broadly, to the Bible. Addressing this concern with respect to the Peter Carey novels Bliss and Oscar and Lucinda, I trace the appropriations of Scripture in the forms of Christ imagery and allusion (in a number of characters, but principally in protagonists Oscar Hopkins and Harry Joy), Garden imagery as Bride imagery (in rural Australian settings in the novels), Furnace imagery (in Oscar and Lucindas use of the glassworks furnace and bioluminescence), and repentance narrative. My contention is that each novel-in pushing in the direction of Scripture-is validated as a hermeneutical lens through which the biblical concepts and narratives that have inspired the novel might be, themselves, newly engaged and interpreted. In the generating of this reciprocal dialogue-Scripture informing novels that then prove useful in informing Scripture-the secular novels are revealed to be honorary Christian texts enabling Christian reading.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:John Glendening; Robert Baker; Paul Dietrich

School:The University of Montana

School Location:USA - Montana

Source Type:Master's Thesis



Date of Publication:08/07/2008

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