Fear, Desire, and the Dynamics of <i>Left Behind</i>

Amy Johnson Frykholm

in Rapture Culture

Published in print March 2004 | ISBN: 9780195159837
Published online July 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835614 | DOI:
 Fear, Desire, and the Dynamics of Left Behind

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Left Behind has been a controversial force in American culture, drawing regular criticism from secular and religious corners. This chapter examines that criticism and argues for a stronger understanding of the activity of readers. Readers are active interpreters of fictional texts, and their interaction with these texts is complex and often unpredictable. The dynamics of both fear and desire are at work in creating responses to Left Behind within complex social settings. Evangelicalism is wrongly understood as a “subculture” and instead needs to be conceived as a broad and fluid part of dominant popular culture in the United States. Rapture Culture urges its readers to consider popular fiction reading as a complex and dynamic act of faith in American Protestantism.

Keywords: Popular fiction; Evangelicalism; Left Behind

Chapter.  6228 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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