Theological polyphony in Michael Crummey's Galore

Downey, Beth (2020) Theological polyphony in Michael Crummey's Galore. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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This thesis provides a close examination of religion in Michael Crummey’s Galore (2009), focussing particularly on the novel’s use of allusion—verbal, dramatic, and figurational—to harmonize its expansive polyphonic theology. Epiphany, encounter, the unexpected inbreaking of divinity into ordinary life is a central theme in Galore. It is expressed verbally and visually, often in terms that have meaning in several streams of spirituality all at once. These composite or bilingual figurations, which manage to allude simultaneously to more than one repository of spiritual meaning (for example Judeo-Christian, especially Catholic, iconography and Irish animist symbolism) are crucial features, ideal sites for excavating deeper theological insight into the novel. The two body chapters of this work engage the thesis topic at very different scales. Chapter 2, “A Miraculous Catch,” takes the wider view, examining theology in Galore as expressed through composite religious figurations of sea life. Chapter 3, “Fear, Trembling, and Carousing,” is devoted entirely to Galore’s central religious leader, Father Phelan. By analyzing a narrower subject in greater depth, this chapter works to both underline and expand upon the points made in Chapter 2, illuminating the two paradoxical themes—sacramentalism and agnosticism—that animate Galore’s core theology. These sacramental and agnostic “turns” are discussed throughout the thesis in relation to Christian traditions of cataphatic and apophatic theology. Finally, this work concludes with an overview of opportunities for further research into Galore and Crummey’s work more broadly, germane to the themes of this thesis and farther afield.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 14570
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 106-116).
Keywords: Michael Crummey, Galore, religion, allusion, Irish animist, Father Phelan, Priest, clergy, Judah Devine, fish, sacramental, agnostic, polyphonic theology, bilingual figurations, apophatic, cataphatic
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > English Language and Literature
Date: May 2020
Date Type: Submission
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Crummey, Michael, 1965---Galore--Criticism, Textual; Religion and literature.

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