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"The Beauty of Human Life Against Which Injustice is a Blasphemy": An Exploration of Representations of Religious Expression and Their Critical Engagement With Modernity in Elizabeth Knox's The Dreamhunter Duet

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posted on 2021-11-12, 22:39 authored by Tuesday, Ruby

Elizabeth Knox's Dreamhunter and Dreamquake show a variety of ways in which expressions of religion both critique modernity and suggest alternatives to it. I approach these texts through a religious rather than a literary lens, using the work of theorists such as Kierkegaard, Levinas, and Ricoeur in order to demonstrate how, in spite of its subjectivity and unobservable source, religious expression may be necessary in and to a deeply rational modernity. My argument looks at the relationship between church, culture, and state, examining how the criticism levelled by both institutional and secular expressions of religion can be seen to challenge the dehumanising objectivity of the will to power, profit, and progress. This notion of a religious challenge is then developed through the figure of the prophet, using a variety of tropes from the Jewish and Christian traditions to tease out the texts' enactment of redemptive social critique.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

New Zealand Studies

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Arts

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

Stout Research Centre


Wevers, Lydia