New Publication: Textual Intimacy: Autobiography and Religious Identities, by Wesley Kort

Textual Intimacy: Autobiography and Religious Identities, by Wesley Kort. University of Virginia Press.

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Given its natural affinity with questions of identity, autobiography offers a way into the interior space between author and reader, especially when writers define themselves in relation to religion. In his exploration of this “textual intimacy,” Wesley Kort begins with a theorization of what it means to tell others who you are and how one’s self-account as a religious person stands in relation to other forms of self-identificaiton. He then provides a critical analysis of texts by nine living American writers, including Maya Angelou, Philip Roth, and Mary Gordon, who give religion a positive place in their accounts. Finally, in disclosing his own religious identity, Kort structures his personal account with a meditation on several meanings of the single word “assumption.”

The book is a volume in the series, “Studies in Religion and Culture.”

John D. Barbour says:

“Textual Intimacy is a fine book. It weaves together in a unique and creative way theories of religion and life writing, criticism of recent memoirs and autobiographies, and the author’s narrative of his still-evolving religious identity.”

Giles Gunn says:

“In this humane and gracious study, Wesley Kort writes with an unusual and attractive openness, not to say candor, that invites his reader into the processes of his own deliberations and evaluations. This is a splendid book.”

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