Sacramental Imagination: Eucharists of the Ordinary Universe

Richard Kearney


The basic thesis of this essay is that several of our great modern novelistsProust, Joyce and Woolfepitomize a singularly sacramental imagination which celebrates the bread and wine of the everyday. The author suggests that a specific phenomenology of incarnation, adumbrated by Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Julia Kristeva, may help us discern the grammar of transubstantiation operating in these sacramental accounts of the sensible universe.The paperbegins with a brief sketch of such a phenomenology before moving on to consider in more detail certain eucharistic epiphanies in these three modernist novels. The author examines his findings in the light of a new hermeneutics of the religious imaginary, advanced by Paul Ricoeur and others, will proposes the paradigm of ana-theism as a way of returning the sacred to the profane.

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