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date: 13 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Redemption is a powerful and uplifting theme that acknowledges the human potential to succeed after having failed. Theological understandings of it focus on how humans can restore their relationships with God despite having fallen from grace into sin. Literature takes the same theme of brokenness and renewal and places it in the context of life on earth, thus including understandings of redemption that may stray from those theologically defined. In this way, even ‘secular’ literatures can be seen as doing ‘theological’ work. Although many pre-novelistic works of British literature utilize the theme of redemption – from Gawaine and the Green Knight to the plays of Shakespeare – this article limits the examination to ways in which the theme of redemption is developed through the form of the novel. It looks at books that unsettle or challenge previous understandings.

Keywords: redemption, salvation, God, British literature, Shakespeare, novel, human potential

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