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Giving the Devil His Due

Jessica Hooten Wilson


Paperback: 156 pages
Publisher: Cascade Books
Publish Date: February 28, 2017
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1498291376
ISBN-13: 978-1498291378

Flannery O’Connor and Fyodor Dostoevsky shared a deep faith in Christ, which compelled them to tell stories that force readers to choose between eternal life and demonic possession. Their either-or extremism has not become more popular in the last fifty to a hundred years since these stories were first published, but it has become more relevant to a twenty-first-century culture in which the lukewarm middle ground seems the most comfortable place to dwell. Giving the Devil His Due walks through all of O’Connor’s stories and looks closely at Dostoevsky’s magnum opus The Brothers Karamazov to show that when the devil rules, all hell breaks loose. Instead of this kingdom of violence, O’Connor and Dostoevsky propose a kingdom of love, one that is only possible when the Lord again is king.


Jessica Hooten Wilson is Associate Professor of Literature at John Brown University.


This is one of those rare books that should appeal to readers who love classic fiction and those with a strong interest in Christian theology. I admired Jessica Hooten Wilson’s readings of both O’Connor and Dostoevsky–muscular, intelligent criticism, written with a passion for the worlds they conjure. It’s splendid work, provocative, and deeply satisfying.

–Jay Parini, author of The Last Station and Jesus: The Human Face of God

How refreshing it is–and how necessary–to read criticism that gets us down to the real stakes of moral existence. Wilson brings us Dostoevsky and O’Connor in their full profundity of faith and recognition of evil. This is just the right approach for college students awash in the trivia of youth culture, reminding them that their own lives can have a richer meaning.

–Mark Bauerlein, Professor of English, Emory University