By Frederick J. Ruf
During this ebook, Ruf attempts to appreciate how the innovations of "voice" and "genre" functionality in texts, particularly non secular texts. To this finish, he joins literary theorists within the dialogue approximately "narrative." Ruf rejects the assumption of style as a hard and fast ancient shape that serves as a template for readers and writers; as an alternative, he means that we think varied genres, no matter if narrative, lyric, or dramatic, because the expression of alternative voices. each one voice, he asserts, possesses diverse key characteristics: embodiment, sociality, contextuality, and opacity within the dramatic voice; intimacy, predicament, urgency in lyric; and a "magisterial" caliber of comprehensiveness and cohesiveness in narrative. those voices are types for our selves, composing an unruly and risky multiplicity of selves. Ruf applies his idea of "voice" and "genre" to 5 texts: Dineson's Out of Africa, Donne's Holy Sonnets, Primo Levi's The Periodic Table, Robert Wilson's Einstein at the Beach, and Coleridge's Biographia Literaria. via those literary works, he discerns the certain ways that a textual content constructs a voice and, within the strategy, a self. extra importantly, Ruf demonstrates that this method is a spiritual one, satisfying the functionality that religions regularly suppose: that of defining the self and its global.
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Additional resources for Entangled Voices: Genre and the Religious Construction of the Self
This very direct contrast of dramatic and narrative renderings reveals a number of distinctive characteristics, which I will discuss according to the triple structure that I used in characterizing narrative and lyric: 1. Drama involves voices, in the plural. There is no overarching voice that is able to encompass persons, actions, objects, and words. "31 2. Each voice is limited to its own thoughts, feelings, and experiences, but it does not (except in a lyrical aside) reveal the psyche or soul as in lyric.
Any thing but a man! and in any condition but mine own! 13 Most immediately noteworthy is the contrast in tenses: The lyric is spoken in the present tense, whereas the narrative is in the past. There are many exceptions, but these tenses are characteristic of the two basic genres,14 and they have powerful ramifications. Foremost among them Intoxicated with Intimacy 43 is the impression that we are hearing Donne speak or pray now. In fact, we seem to overhear a very private moment. The moment is so intimate that this might be a silent prayer, our ears close enough to hear silent words.
Perhaps humans cannot live without the sort of broad comprehensiveness and unified cohesion that narrative promises and that, in many respects, humans attempt to apply to their lives. But the detachment and hubris that accompany such scope must give pause. 19 Surely, meditation, prayer, and praise—to use Lewalski's list—are as crucial to human religiousness, even in the construction of intelligibility, though not, of course, without the serious disadvantages of partiality. Finally, the challenge and stimulation of broad sociality, unmediated diversity, and obligatory participation also seem to be essential to humans, despite the confusion.