The word become fiction : textual voices from the evangelical subculture

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dc.contributor.advisor White, Patricia S. en_US Stedman, Barbara A. en_US
dc.coverage.spatial n-us-in en_US 2011-06-03T19:31:32Z 2011-06-03T19:31:32Z 1994 en_US 1994
dc.identifier LD2489.Z68 1994 .S7 en_US
dc.description.abstract Between 1979 and 1994, conservative, Protestant Christian fiction, or simply "evangelical fiction," has burgeoned into a powerful literary representative of America's modern evangelical subculture. This study examines that phenomenon by combining: (a) close textual analysis of the novels, particularly novels written by two important evangelical novelists--Janette Oke, romance writer, and Frank Peretti, author of supernatural thrillers; (b) analysis of the reading habits and tastes of 218 readers of evangelical fiction in the Muncie, Indiana, area by way of questionnaire responses and also follow-up interviews with 75 of those respondents; and (c) careful investigation of the cultural context in which these novels are written, published, and read.One particular issue investigated is whether readers read these novels primarily for entertainment or for spiritual edification. On one hand, these novels fit into the category of "popular" fiction and therefore meet readers' needs for entertainment, albeit entertainment that is consistent with evangelicals' theology, lifestyle, and world view. On the other hand, these novels fill readers' needs for edification, for overt religious support and teaching, for perpetuation of what evangelicals already believe. They are, in Roland Barthes' words, examples of doxa, i.e., history transformed into nature.Another special issue investigated is the role that these novels play in the battle against mainstream secular culture. In particular, Oke's novels function as cultural preservers, particularly of nineteenth-century models for the family, morality, and unworldliness; and Peretti's novels function as cultural combatants, actively naming and attacking secular enemies, especially the New Age movement and abortion industry.The study concludes that evangelical fiction not only reflects evangelical subculture, but also affects it; that the genre has undergone dramatic changes from 1979 to 1994 and that publishers, writers, and readers are calling for more sophisticated fiction. However, evangelical fiction, as a cultural expression, falls within what is sometimes called the "evangelical ghetto" and, since evangelicalism is a religious orthodoxy, the fiction will have difficulty emerging from that ghetto. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship Department of English
dc.format.extent v, 332 leaves ; 28 cm. en_US
dc.source Virtual Press en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Books and reading -- Indiana -- Muncie. en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Christian fiction -- History and criticism. en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Evangelicalism in literature. en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Literature and morals. en_US
dc.subject.other Oke, Janette, 1935- -- Criticism and interpretation. en_US
dc.subject.other Peretti, Frank E. -- Criticism and interpretation. en_US
dc.title The word become fiction : textual voices from the evangelical subculture en_US
dc.title.alternative Textual voices from the evangelical subculture en_US Thesis (Ph. D.) en_US
dc.identifier.cardcat-url en_US

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  • Doctoral Dissertations [3210]
    Doctoral dissertations submitted to the Graduate School by Ball State University doctoral candidates in partial fulfillment of degree requirements.

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