“Review of ‘Enchantments: Joseph Cornell and American Modernism’ by Marci Kwon”
Introvigne, Massimo. “Review of ‘Enchantments: Joseph Cornell and American Modernism’ by Marci Kwon.” Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions 25, no. 2 (2021): 118-20.
Introvigne determines that Kwon’s book on American painter and Christian Scientist Joseph Cornell is both “a superb achievement and a missed opportunity” (188). He praises the author’s book as “the best treatment of the artist’s career, milieu, and work to date” (188). This is a significant contribution, especially in light of Cornell’s enigmatic character whose work is difficult to decode. Through her successful study of Cornell’s role in the process of re-enchantment, Kwon addresses the debate among historians and sociologists of religion whether disenchantment ever really happened. But Kwon’s missed opportunity rests with the still-to-be-explored “study and understanding of Christian Science and the way the artist lived his faith” (120). Cornell was a devout Christian Scientist who largely saw the world through his religion. And since Kwon acknowledged that Christian Science was “an epistemological structure that shaped [Cornell’s] worldview rather than a set of principles he sought to illustrate” (quoting Kwon, 221), religion scholars would have hoped for more details.
Print ISSN: 1092-6690
See also annotations:
“The Christian Scientist as Artist: From James Franklin Gilman to Joseph Cornell” by Massimo Introvigne
“Loy and Cornell: Christian Science and the Destruction of the World.” by Tim Armstrong