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The Death Of Adam, The Resurrection Of Calvin: Marilynne Robinson’s Alternative To An American Ideograph

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Chapter Summary

This chapter first examines the notion of "ideograph" as a way to think about how the name of Calvin and his tradition have been used (and this is very briefly point to a few twentieth- and twenty-first-century examples from the world of fiction to illustrate the continuing negative uses). Of course, any serious talk about tradition involves thinking about what it is one expects from historical study. The chapter then examines Marilynne Robinson's corpus, not only charting her move toward a positive Calvinist outlook and the way she has expressed that outlook in non-fiction and fiction, but also detailing her own view on the value of tradition and the process of historical understanding. Then, it details the type of critical response Robinson's work has received, concluding with an assessment of what Robinson's cultural presence and work may signal for the possible repair of Calvin's image in the United States.

Keywords: Calvin's image; Marilynne Robinson's corpus

10.1163/ej.9789004174245.i-394.108
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