Saturday 13 September 2008

Dostoevsky and a theology of writing

“In writing fiction in which no formula is allowed unchallengeable victory, Dostoevsky has implicitly developed what might be called a theology of writing, specifically of narrative writing. Every fiction is at its most fictional in its endings, those pretences of closure and settlement. Every morally and religiously serious fiction has to project something beyond that ending or otherwise signal a level of incompletion…. The gratuity of fiction arises from the conviction that no kind of truth can be told if we speak or act as if history is over, as if the description of what contingently is becomes the sole possible account of language…. The novel ought to be a stout defender of the independence of eschatology in its most robust sense – that is, a defender of the apparently obvious but actually quite vulnerable conviction that the present does not possess the future.”

—From Rowan Williams’ extraordinary new book, Dostoevsky: Language, Faith, and Fiction (Waco: Baylor University Press, 2008), pp. 46, 60.


Unknown said...

Two of my favorite authors together at last!

Lumière et Possibilité said...

this expresses precisely why i loathe so many films today.
it would be worth while exploring the film medium in this way as well, as i know very few directors content to leave things unsaid (the Godforsaken matrix sequels?!).

Anonymous said...

Reminiscent of Levinas' comments on Yosl Rakover Speaks of God, where Levinas remarks that the story is true in the way that only fiction can be true.

MM said...

One of my favorite theology professors in undergrad (a Congregationalist) used to make Dostoevsky required reading- according to him, acquaintance with the Bible, the Catholic Catechism, and the Brothers Karamazov is essential to being a good Christian (probably in reverse order, on his reckoning)

OKC Herbivore said...

I am vastly excited for this work.

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