The author of this study is deeply learned in modern cultural theory; his analysis is complex and nuanced; his style is dense. Summary of his ideas is therefore challenging. The leading idea can perhaps be stated in this way: Classic historians of the novel (Ian Watt, followed by many others) got the story wrong when they characterized the genre as product and agent of a final secularization. They missed the reemergence of Christian ideas, especially ideas of sin and redemption, in narratives that could not be continued without them. The very denial of God's relevance to human life reemphasized the problem of a sinfulness that could not be expiated. Inescapably, though in diverse ways, authors of the past seven decades have reinscribed the novel with a radical Calvinism, a system of assumptions and deductions that insists upon the infinite and intractable evil of the human condition. Secularization, which cannot cure...

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