By Josh Russell
Just like the Puritan-era narratives she stories, Hannah Guttentag’s early-1990s narrative is a chronicle of the unusual locations she travels—Nashville, Ithaca, New Orleans, Cleveland, Nebraska—the savages who captivate her—librarians, grad scholars, professors, her baby—and the redemption she earns.
Josh Russell's earlier novels are Yellow Jack and My vibrant Midnight. An Illinois native—born in Carbondale, raised in Normal—he now lives in Decatur, Georgia together with his spouse and daughter.
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Extra info for A True History of the Captivation, Transport to Strange Lands, & Deliverance of Hannah Guttentag: A Novel
In what follows I first examine some key theoretical problems in the discourse of ideology and try to show how they are illuminated by a study of the connection between ‘ideology’ and ‘idolatry’. In particular I argue that the opposition between ‘ideology’ and ‘materialism’ may be a problematic one in so far as it is premised upon a materialism conceived of as absolute disenchantment. This is because, despite the ways in which it is often understood, ideology is itself a form of disenchantment.
21 Tom Paine’s writings, as so often, put the issue at its starkest. The potential political implications of discussion of the topic of idolatry in the Old Testament are already clear in his Common Sense of 1776. In that work Paine argued that there was a close connection between idolatry and monarchy, because the excessive respect paid to temporal monarchs was itself a species of idolatry. Paine argued that monarchy was originally a heathen invention imported by the Jewish people and that ‘Monarchy is ranked in scripture as one of the sins of the Jews .
By implication, that is, it bestows life, in its activity, on beings originally bereft of it: as blood is thought of as animating a body, or as capital ‘animates’ an economy. Yet the beginning of the sentence says something quite different. There this aliveness has no unity: it originates multiply, in a barely graspable surplus of each being over itself. The ‘spirit’ which is at last arrived at is at first only this surplus by which beings are somehow, as it were, more than what they are. The model is not one of chiasmic exchange, but of an original proliferating excess.