Fiction Beyond Secularism

Paper Text – $45.00

ISBN 978-0-8101-2989-4
Publication Date
July 2014
Page Count
256 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9

Fiction Beyond Secularism

Justin Neuman

Modernist thinkers once presumed a progressive secularity, with the novel replacing religious texts as society’s moral epics. Yet religion—beginning with the Iranian revolution of 1979, through the collapse of communism, and culminating in the singular rupture of September 11, 2001—has not retreated quietly out of sight.

In Fiction Beyond Secularism, Justin Neuman argues that contemporary novelists who are most commonly identified as antireligious—among them Orhan Pamuk, Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan, Margaret Atwood, Nadine Gordimer, Haruki Murakami, and J. M. Coetzee—have defied assumptions and have instead written some of the most trenchant critiques of secular ideologies, as well as the most exciting and rigorous inquiries into the legacies of the religious imagination. As a result, many readers (or nonreaders) on either side of the religious divide neglect the insights of works like The Satanic Verses, Disgrace, and Snow. Fiction Beyond Secularism serves as a timely corrective.

About the Author

JUSTIN NEUMAN is an assistant professor of English at Yale University.


“Neuman’s work contests and extends postcolonial understandings of the contemporary novel. It is one of those rare works that intelligently opens up a new topic of real importance for contemporary politics and culture.”—simon during, author of Against Democracy: Literary Experience in the Era of Emancipations

"In an insightful analysis of current theories of cosmopolitanism, Neuman notes that, while cosmopolitan ideals were conceived historically in opposition to the nation-state, in recent years they have become increasingly complicit with nationalism and global capital." --New Literatures