Thursday, March 24, 2011

What is Christopher Lane reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Christopher Lane, author of The Age of Doubt: Tracing the Roots of Our Religious Uncertainty.

His entry begins:
My study right now has small piles of books dotted around the floor, each tied to a particular project, course, or article. I read a lot for my classes and writing, so there are various contenders for mention here, but I recently went back to Barbara Ehrenreich’s Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America, which I devoured when it first came out in 2009, and which I’m finding just as impressive on a reread. Ehrenreich, one of our most astute social commentators, begins with a somewhat bemused account of the teddy bears and crayons she was encouraged to enjoy after the shock of a cancer diagnosis (now mercifully in remission). For me, the full payoff of her argument comes in the book’s second half, when Ehrenreich goes to town on the limits of positive thinking for business gurus and management consultants, whose upbeat cheer was constitutionally incapable of predicting, much less addressing, the Stock Market tumble and financial crisis in 2008. Her embrace of our current difficulties is such a tonic after the endless platitudes she quotes that I...[read on]
Among the early praise for The Age of Doubt:
"Lane’s stimulating analysis asks whether acknowledging how science, religion, and society have produced a growing chasm between faith and doubt, and even destroyed belief, can offer a way forward."
—Keith Thomson, author of Before Darwin and The Young Charles Darwin

"The story of Victorian doubt is both fascinating and important for understanding why we continue to be mired in fierce cultural battles over the status of evolution and the value of religious faith. This provocative book is well worth the read."
—Bernard Lightman, York University

"A fresh and nuanced examination of how the major scientific assumptions of the nineteenth century informed and were shaped by doubt."
—Jude V. Nixon, Professor of English & Dean of Arts & Sciences, Salem State University, and Editor of Victorian Religious Discourse
Learn more about The Age of Doubt at the Yale University Press website and Christopher Lane's website.

Lane is the Pearce Miller Research Professor of Literature at Northwestern University and a recent Guggenheim fellow. He is the author of numerous essays and several books on literature, belief, and psychology, including Shyness: How Normal Behavior Became a Sickness.

Author Interviews: Christopher Lane.

The Page 99 Test: The Age of Doubt.

Writers Read: Christopher Lane.

--Marshal Zeringue