Making Room at the Table: The application of a Christian Literary Lens to Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead and Susanna Clarke’s Piranesi

I explore Christian Literary Criticism as a viable modern lens and consider the following:
• Does a Christian approach the reading and critique of literature from a unique perspective?
• And, if so, is that distinct reading significant to the Christian and/or secular scholarly world?
• Is there a historical basis for Christian literary criticism?

The answer, I propose, is a resounding yes to these questions. As a Christian reader, student of literature, and educator (I currently teach English in an international Christian school in the Dominican Republic), I believe these questions to hold important implications for my study and work—and literary scholarship in general—even though the critical climate is not welcoming to openly Christian scholarship, for reasons I address in my paper.

To demonstrate the need for and ease of the implementation of the Christian lens that I propose, I have applied the lens to two novels in this article. The first novel is Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead and the second is Susanna Clarke’s more recent Piranesi. I conclude that the use of this is of benefit to the general conversation and allows Christian literary scholars to be intellectually honest while contributing valuable insights lost in Modern readings.

Author: Valerie Davis