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If God Meant to InterfereAmerican Literature and the Rise of the Christian Right$
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Christopher Douglas

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501702112

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501702112.001.0001

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The Poisonwood Bible’s Multicultural Graft

The Poisonwood Bible’s Multicultural Graft

Chapter:
(p.60) Chapter 2 The Poisonwood Bible’s Multicultural Graft
Source:
If God Meant to Interfere
Author(s):

Christopher Douglas

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9781501702112.003.0003

This chapter examines Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible (1998)—a novel deeply critical of the resurgence and deeply informed by American multiculturalism. The book is a significant exception to serious literary culture's general inattention to the astonishing, unpredicted Christian resurgence of the last forty years. Kingsolver comprehensively critiques American fundamentalism, attacking a certain version of Christianity on its own grounds of Pauline universalism. Yet the novel's universalism is doubled and ultimately undone by a critical relativism. Its strategic ambivalence in its moments of universalism and relativism makes it symptomatic of a kind of impasse that multiculturalism has faced since the 1970s in its response to the powerful conservative Christian resurgence.

Keywords:   Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible, American multiculturalism, Pauline universalism, American fundamentalism

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