Partial Faiths: Postsecular Fiction in the Age of Pynchon and Morrison

By John A. McClure | Go to book overview

Introduction
Postsecular Projects

In Tony Kushner’s celebrated play Angels in America (1993), a secular-minded gay man, Prior Walters, is converted by catastrophe to a powerful, dramatically unorthodox spirituality. When the play opens, Prior has just discovered that his body, destined in his imagination to become, through liberation, a “fabulous” and reliable source of gratification, has betrayed him: he has AIDS. Almost immediately, his partner, Louis, betrays him, too, leaving him to deal with his pain, his terror, his physical disgust, and his heartbreak. Prior is at this point a thoroughly secular being, a “soul without faith who does not seek” (Merton 107). Even after he discovers that he is ill, he does not embark on a deliberate quest for supernatural support. Instead, the supernatural literally breaks in on him. He begins to have extraordinary experiences he cannot explain. He finds himself in another character’s dreams, receives a series of astonishing visits from

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