Journal Article

The Gospel According to Grace: Gnostic Heresy as Narrative Strategy in Margaret Atwood's <i>Alias Grace</i>

Ryan Miller

in Literature and Theology

Volume 16, issue 2, pages 172-187
Published in print June 2002 | ISSN: 0269-1205
Published online June 2002 | e-ISSN: 1477-4623 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/litthe/16.2.172
The Gospel According to Grace: Gnostic Heresy as Narrative Strategy in Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace

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This paper approaches Margaret Atwood's 1996 novel Alias Grace with specific attention to the author's use of Gnosticism in the creation of a subtle and complex feminist narrative. This is an original topic: one not previously cited in Atwood criticism. My reading proposes that the author brilliantly locates the potential for feminist license in the undercurrents of nineteenth‐century spiritualism. By utilising Gnostic myth and imagery—and emphasising gnosis (self‐knowledge)—Atwood playfully localises in Grace Marks the suffering of the divine feminine. In so doing, she allows her protagonist the opportunity to refute then‐contemporary judgments of her actions.

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Subjects: Literature ; Religion and Art, Literature, and Music

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