The God That Failed

The God That Failed

So Anne Rice has quit Christianity, or Roman Catholicism, or whatever.    She did it via a Facebook posting, apparently, rather than a book, but it still surely merits the response Edward Said gave to The God That Failed -- no, not the Metallica song (if Said had an opinion on that, I am unaware of it) but the collection of essays published in 1949 by a number of former Marxist intellectuals (Gide, Spender, Koestler and Wright among them) and edited by Labour politician and intellectual, Richard Crossman: `I want to underline the particularly unpleasant aesthetics of conversion and recantation, how for the individual involved the public display of assent and subsequent apostasy produces a kind of narcissism and exhibitionism in the intellectual that has lost touch with people and processes supposedly being served....To read over The God That Failed testimonial is for me a depressing thing.  I want to ask: Why as an intellectual did you believe in god anyway?  And besides, who gave you the right to imagine that your early belief and later disenchantment were so important?' [emphasis added] (Representations of the Intellectual, 113).   I wonder how significant he would see the de-conversion from Roman Catholicism of a popular novelist?   And how important he would judge the medium of disclosure?  Maybe he would think Facebook quite an appropriate medium for something so -- what's the phrase? -- earth shattering.


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