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The Givenness of Things : Essays
by Marilynne Robinson


Overview -

Long-listed for the 2016 PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay

The spirit of our times can appear to be one of joyless urgency. As a culture we have become less interested in the exploration of the glorious mind, and more interested in creating and mastering technologies that will yield material well-being.  Read more...


 
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More About The Givenness of Things by Marilynne Robinson
 
 
 
Overview

Long-listed for the 2016 PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay

The spirit of our times can appear to be one of joyless urgency. As a culture we have become less interested in the exploration of the glorious mind, and more interested in creating and mastering technologies that will yield material well-being. But while cultural pessimism is always fashionable, there is still much to give us hope. In The Givenness of Things, the incomparable Marilynne Robinson delivers an impassioned critique of our contemporary society while arguing that reverence must be given to who we are and what we are: creatures of singular interest and value, despite our errors and depredations.

Robinson has plumbed the depths of the human spirit in her novels, including the National Book Critics Circle Award-winning Lila and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Gilead, and in her new essay collection she trains her incisive mind on our modern predicament and the mysteries of faith. These seventeen essays examine the ideas that have inspired and provoked one of our finest writers throughout her life. Whether she is investigating how the work of the great thinkers of the past, Calvin, Locke, Bonhoeffer--and Shakespeare--can infuse our lives, or calling attention to the rise of the self-declared elite in American religious and political life, Robinson's peerless prose and boundless humanity are on display. Exquisite and bold, The Givenness of Things is a necessary call for us to find wisdom and guidance in our cultural heritage, and to offer grace to one another.


 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780374298470
  • ISBN-10: 0374298475
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publish Date: October 2015
  • Page Count: 304


Related Categories

Books > Literary Collections > Essays
Books > Religion > Christianity - General
Books > Religion > Essays

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2015-08-10
  • Reviewer: Staff

This probing, provocative collection by Pulitzer winner Robinson (Gilead) argues for the recovery of humanism as a response to the problems of our historical moment. Robinson's is a "humanism articulated in the terms of Christian metaphysics," based on a deep reading of the Bible and her self-declared Calvinism. She is as impressively erudite and incisive in dealing with Shakespeare's "theological seriousness" and the literariness of the Reformation as in examining the current American allegiance to science over wonder, competitiveness over generosity, technology over art. The essays demonstrate an engaging humility, a quiet voice pure of accusation or bombast, and insight touched with humor. Robinson's surgically precise prose and disciplined thought convey regret for human fallibility just as strongly as reverence for human potential. Her solution is a moral reparation—a reinvigoration of "the conceptual vocabulary of religion" and "a more considered understanding of the soul" that acknowledges "the ontological centrality of humankind in the created order." "To value one another is our greatest safety," Robinson writes, "and to indulge in fear and contempt is our gravest error." Eloquent, persuasive, and rigorously clear, this collection reveals one of America's finest minds working at peak form, capturing essential ideas with all "the authority beautiful language and beautiful thought can give them." Agent: Ellen Levine, Trident Media Group. (Oct.)

 
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