By Susanna Lee
It is a literary and philosophical examine that hyperlinks the belief of secularism to the shape of the unconventional. It deals a groundbreaking serious starting place either for knowing the flow towards an earthly tradition and for analyzing the position of the person in sleek moral, political, and non secular contexts.
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Additional info for A World Abandoned by God: Narrative and Secularism
J. Hillis Miller’s comments on a God who has ‘‘slipped away from the places where he used to be’’ belongs to a strain of writing that understands 2: FLAUBERT’S SUPERIOR JOKE 51 the disconnection of the world from God as a disorienting philosophical and ontological phenomenon. This disorientation is the thematic and formal core of Madame Bovary. A modern historical phenomenon, the move to secularism is presented as an occasion for emptiness and hopelessness and also for narrative manipulation, as the ironic and secular author eliminates and then comes to substitute for God.
In the end, there is no great distinction between the respective superstitions of these characters, for the chance that Julien and Mathilde ponder (or welcome or fear) is eclipsed by the narrative chance that actually acts upon them. While Julien embraces the idea of being his own creator and Mathilde enjoys being the favored daughter of chance, the ecclesiastics, on the other hand, want to weave chance into a sacred narrative of destiny. At the beginning of the second part of the novel, Julien has left the seminary for the Hotel de La Mole.
In the first scenario, forces of unsteadiness dismantle the entire frame and leave only the author standing. In the second, the author retains an ambivalence about the implications of that dismantling, about the loneliness that it implies. Le rouge et le noir stands in a space between these narrative attitudes, between vaunting and mistrust of narrative production, between celebration and subversion of the individual voice. That space of transition, that inclination to and ambivalence about narrative production, I would propose, accords Le rouge a particular sort of emotional and philosophical realism—the realism of gradual transition to a secular consciousness.