Clashing Convictions: Science and Religion in American Fiction

Clashing Convictions: Science and Religion in American Fiction

by Albert H. Tricomi

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Overview

Clashing Convictions: Science and Religion in American Fiction is the first study to identify a body of twentieth-century American fiction that represents the increasing tensions experienced by people of Christian faith in response to Darwinism, the higher biblical criticism, and modern medicine. Delineating how these works dramatize clashes between scientific and conservative Protestant understandings of the world, Albert H. Tricomi examines a canon of ten novels and one iconic play that present a cultural history of inner turmoil as well as social conflict.  The three parts of the study chart this increasing inner turmoil, a rising secularist ideology, and finally a fundamentalist revival among alienated biblical literalists.
 
With chapters on James Lane Allen’s The Reign of Law, Harold Frederic’s The Damnation of Theron Ware, William Dean Howells’s The Leatherwood God, Sinclair Lewis’s Arrowsmith and Elmer Gantry, Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee’s Inherit the Wind, and James Scott Bell’s The Darwin Conspiracy, Tricomi offers new readings emphasizing how this canon represents science and religion as in deep, if not irreconcilable, conflict. Tricomi’s sweeping study, with its emphasis on the twentieth century, thus reveals from several directions the processes of secularism even as it identifies the emergence of what some have come to describe as the current “postsecular” moment in America.


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780814253076
Publisher: Ohio State University Press
Publication date: 08/20/2016
Series: Literature, Religion, & Postsecular Stud
Edition description: 1
Pages: 248
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Albert H. Tricomi is Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus in the Department of English at Binghamton University (SUNY).
 

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction- Terminology and Purpose

PART ONE- INTERNAL STATES OF BELIEF AND UNBELIEF
Chapter 1- Emergent Formations of the Science-Religion
Binary: Sara Orne Jewett’s A Country Doctor, Edward Eggleston’s The Faith Doctor, Milton Scott’s Henry
Elwood, and Henry Adams’s Esther

Chapter 2- The New Biblical Criticism and Darwinism:
Harold Frederic’s The Damnation of Theron Ware

Chapter 3- An American Response to Darwinism:
James Lane Allen’s The Reign of Law

Chapter 4- An Enlightenment Critique of Religious Mania:
W. D. Howells’s The Leatherwood God

PART TWO- SECULARISM RESURGENT
Chapter 5- A Research Scientist’s Religion: Sinclair Lewis’s
Arrowsmith

Chapter 6- Satirizing Fundamentalist Education and Revivalist Preachers: Sinclair Lewis’s Elmer Gantry

Chapter 7- Transhistorical Parable: Jerome Lawrence and
Robert E. Lee’s Inherit the Wind

PART THREE- A POSTSECULAR AGE?
Chapter 8- Contemporary Perspectives: James Scott Bell’s
The Darwin Conspiracy and the Soul of America

Bibliography 
Index

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