Lydia Millet’s A Children’s Bible (2020) is an allegorical dystopian novel where the generic ramifications of apocalyptic flood fiction are intertwined with multiple biblical allusions, as the title itself clearly suggests. Millet’s novel can be read as a ‘re-writing’ of the Bible, in Boitani's sense of the term. References to the Sacred Scriptures are so densely distributed throughout the narration as to infuse it with allegorical overtones. Character names, events, actions, along with direct references to the Old and New Testament, act as allegorical relays, in-forming the plot. Most notably, allegoresis is depicted in the narrative not only as a cognitive act performed by the characters, but as a material re-enactment of biblical episodes. The allegorical dimension of the novel thus acts as metafictional commentary, unveiling the embodied simulation process which grounds the readers ability to understand allegories and interrogating the role of biblical narratives and literature more in general in the face of climate apocalypse. The novel’s indebtedness to Judeo-Christian eschatological narratives, often associated with anti-ecological thinking, has interesting ecotheological implications, which deserve investigation. Even though apocalyptic rhetoric has been often criticised in the context of climate change representation, recent developments in ecotheology have provided help in rehabilitating the subgenre of apocalyptic fiction. In addition, new studies conducted on the cognitive dimension of allegory shed light on the functions of this literary device, which, in Millet’s novel, allows readers to simulate the experience of survival in the face of environmental apocalypse, while inviting them to perform a metafictional reflection on the role played by fictional narratives in representing our contemporary relationship with the environment. Millet’s novel problematises, through embodied allegory, the readers’ perception of the climate crisis, grounded on both the Judeo-Christian tradition and on scientific and technological utopianisms, while simultaneously questioning the allegorical function of literature itself.

‘Art is the Holy Ghost’: Allegory and Metafictionality in Lydia Millet’s "A Children’s Bible" / Battiloro, Asia. - (2023). (Intervento presentato al convegno 2023 ECHIC: Ecological Mindedness and Sustainable Wellbeing tenutosi a Università di Ferrara).

‘Art is the Holy Ghost’: Allegory and Metafictionality in Lydia Millet’s "A Children’s Bible"

Asia Battiloro
2023

Abstract

Lydia Millet’s A Children’s Bible (2020) is an allegorical dystopian novel where the generic ramifications of apocalyptic flood fiction are intertwined with multiple biblical allusions, as the title itself clearly suggests. Millet’s novel can be read as a ‘re-writing’ of the Bible, in Boitani's sense of the term. References to the Sacred Scriptures are so densely distributed throughout the narration as to infuse it with allegorical overtones. Character names, events, actions, along with direct references to the Old and New Testament, act as allegorical relays, in-forming the plot. Most notably, allegoresis is depicted in the narrative not only as a cognitive act performed by the characters, but as a material re-enactment of biblical episodes. The allegorical dimension of the novel thus acts as metafictional commentary, unveiling the embodied simulation process which grounds the readers ability to understand allegories and interrogating the role of biblical narratives and literature more in general in the face of climate apocalypse. The novel’s indebtedness to Judeo-Christian eschatological narratives, often associated with anti-ecological thinking, has interesting ecotheological implications, which deserve investigation. Even though apocalyptic rhetoric has been often criticised in the context of climate change representation, recent developments in ecotheology have provided help in rehabilitating the subgenre of apocalyptic fiction. In addition, new studies conducted on the cognitive dimension of allegory shed light on the functions of this literary device, which, in Millet’s novel, allows readers to simulate the experience of survival in the face of environmental apocalypse, while inviting them to perform a metafictional reflection on the role played by fictional narratives in representing our contemporary relationship with the environment. Millet’s novel problematises, through embodied allegory, the readers’ perception of the climate crisis, grounded on both the Judeo-Christian tradition and on scientific and technological utopianisms, while simultaneously questioning the allegorical function of literature itself.
2023
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11573/1685167
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