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Fictions of Belief: Reading Evangelical Novels in a Secular Age

Silliman, Daniel

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Abstract

Fictions of Belief tells the story of evangelical identity by telling the story of five, bestselling evangelical novels, from the economics of their production to the practices of their consumption. Each of these novels has sold more than one million copies and each has marked a transition in the history of the evangelical book market. The five books are Love Comes Softly, published in 1979, This Present Darkness published in 1986, Left Behind and The Shunning, which both came out in the mid 1990s, and The Shack, released in 2007. Looking at the the production, distribution, and sales of these novels, Fictions of Belief shows how white evangelicalism emerged as a distinct discourse community in the 1950s. It looks at how the movement grew into a robust subculture by the 1970s and then became something more aggressive and oppositional in the 1980s. Fictions of Belief tracks further change in the 1990s, when these novels found their way to big box stores and suburban chains, and evangelicalism became hyper public. Continuing the story into the twenty-first century, Fictions of Belief shows how the book market broke up and, as a result, evangelicalism fractured and fragmented.

Item Type: Dissertation
Supervisor: Stievermann, Prof. Dr. Jan
Place of Publication: Heidelberg
Date of thesis defense: 18 October 2016
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2019 06:36
Date: 2019
Faculties / Institutes: Neuphilologische Fakultät > Dekanat Neuphilologische Fakultät
Subjects: 230 Christian theology
810 American literature in English
970 General history of North America
Uncontrolled Keywords: American, evangelical, fiction
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