A STAY AGAINST CONFUSION: Essays On Faith And Fiction.

Hansen, Ron.

ISBN 10: 0060196661 / ISBN 13: 9780060196660
Published by New York: Harper Collins, (2001.) dj, 2001
Hardcover
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SIGNED hardcover first edition - First printing. A collection of essays, in which Hansen "talks about his novels, his childhood and family, and about such mentors as John Gardner. He explores prayer, stigmata, twentieth-century martyrs, and the Eucharist. A profile of his grandfather, a "tough-as-nails, brook-no-guff Colorado rancher," finds a place alongside a wonderfully informative portrait of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. A brilliant reading of a story by Leo Tolstoy follows an appreciation of the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins." SIGNED on the title page. List of works cited. 267 pp. Fine in fine dust jacket. Bookseller Inventory # 52418

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Bibliographic Details

Title: A STAY AGAINST CONFUSION: Essays On Faith ...

Publisher: New York: Harper Collins, (2001.) dj

Publication Date: 2001

Binding: Hardcover

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

In the tradition of Flannery O'Connor and Andre Dubus, A Stay Against Confusion explores the role that religious belief and literature play in one writer's life. All creative writing is, in the words of Robert Frost, "a stay against confusion." It tries to find a harmony and order that we only fleetingly detect beneath the chaos of everyday life, and to point out motivations and causalities in what seem to be random and often meaningless acts. Religion has also functioned in this way for Ron Hansen, and it shares with literature both a reverence for mystery and the use of metaphor to communicate another order that we will never fully perceive or comprehend.

In this rich and deeply felt collection of essays, Hansen talks about his novels, his childhood and family, and about such mentors as John Gardner. He explores prayer, stigmata, twentieth-century martyrs, and the Eucharist. A profile of his grandfather, a "tough-as-nails, brook-no-guff Colorado rancher," finds a place alongside a wonderfully informative portrait of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. A brilliant reading of a story by Leo Tolstoy follows an appreciation of the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins. A surprisingly intimate book, A Stay Against Confusion brings together the literary and religious impulses that inform the life of one of our most gifted fiction writers.

Review:

Ron Hansen's novels have explored spiritual themes. Atticus was inspired by the story of the prodigal son; Mariette in Ecstasy imagines an American nun who received the stigmata. In A Stay Against Confusion, his first essay collection, Hansen mines the connections between faith and fiction even more explicitly and offers fans of his novels the rare opportunity to learn how he has integrated his artistic and religious passions. Hansen, who is Catholic, writes that his love of stories has been inseparable from his love of liturgy since boyhood. And his broadminded reading of the Bible finds there "a kind of myth, a history full of facts and truths but also a fiction formed with harmony, proportion, and beauty, and fully at ease with uncertainties, metaphor, and poetic fancy." With the Bible as his touchstone, in essays such as "Writing As Sacrament" and "What Stories Are and Why We Read Them," Hansen offers clear, direct, and nuanced articulations of the common ground between literary and religious life. "Our need for stories is our need ... to have confirmed for us the theology we hold secret in our heart, that even the least of us are necessary to the great universal plot in ways we hadn't imagined." The book also contains essays of a more specialized nature, including "Eucharist" and "Stigmata," and a number of evocative autobiographical reflections, including a tribute to Hansen's mentor John Gardner. --Michael Joseph Gross

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