Healing the Nation: Literature, Progress, and Christian Science
Squires, L. Ashley. Healing the Nation: Literature, Progress, and Christian Science. Edited by Catherine L. Albanese and Stephen J. Stein. Religion in North America. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2017.
“The purpose of this book is to examine the relationship between American literary history and Christian Science” (4), by looking at Christian Science as an influence on the ‘restitution narratives’ in the writings of Mark Twain, Florence Hodgson Burnett, and Theodore Dreiser. Civil War, Reconstruction, and industrialization had left American society searching for how best to restore and heal the nation, and Christian Science influenced restitution narratives, stories of recovery from loss, created in the works of these authors. New Thought and other metaphysical systems are also discussed. There is also a chapter about Georgine Milmine and Willa Cather’s investigative journalism about Eddy for McClure’s Magazine and the creation of The Christian Science Monitor as a corrective form of journalism in which “Christian Scientists wed their theology to journalism” (191). In addition, there is a discussion of American history and culture as leaning toward individual rather than collective solutions to the problems of restitution and healing the nation, and how Christian Science and other metaphysical systems seemed to support individualism over community, ultimately leading to its becoming “merely one among humanity’s many limited attempts to cope with our condition” (194).
ISBN-13 (Softcover): 978-0253030375
For more on Theodore Dreiser, see annotation: