The Power to Name Oneself into Being
In this book, I have traced how male confessants present, perform, and reflect upon themselves through the act of writing themselves into history— or, put differently, of writing themselves onto the (material) pages of history. Trough a self-revealing process of the unmaking and remaking of the self, the male confessant names himself anew into being, preserving on paper and presenting to the public the afflictions of his soul and the resolution to his crisis.
I hope to have shown that confessiographies are not one-dimensional. The male confessant's investment in particular self-revelations and in particular choices of opening himself up to the public needs to be conceived as multivocal, manifold, densely enriched, ambiguous, and at times contradictory. The narrower the presentation of the self (such as Pohl's Credo and, to a smaller extent, Boisvert's fetishized gazing), the less trustworthy the testimony that the confessant left of himself; the deeper the presentation of the self (like Augustine and Perechodnik), the less solipsistic the male gazing. The religious imagination, I have argued, has the power to transcend the Confines of the mirror's surface and can lead to an interiority in which the soul is naked in the face of an other. Herein lies perhaps the greatest promise