Religious Studies and Theology, Vol 40, No 2 (2021)

Of the Body: Lineage and Threshold in Anne Michaels’s Correspondences, All We Saw and Infinite Gradation

Connie T. Braun
Issued Date: 3 Dec 2021


Anne Michaels, of Jewish heritage, is most recognized for her critically acclaimed Holocaust novel, Fugitive Pieces, the subject of substantial scholarship. Less is written about her latest works of poetry and lyric prose, Correspondences: A Poem and Portraits (2013), All We Saw (2017), and Infinite Gradation (2017). Returning to themes of time, death, the sanctity of life, and love that animate and vitalize her literary corpus, she gathers intellectual, scientific, artistic, and moral influences, drawing – and drawing upon – a lineage, not genetic, but of consciousness. Just as memory honours lineage, the lives and works of others inform one’s being in the world as descendant. As Michaels’s work attests, memory and consciousness are of the body. And, while, in her view, “not religious,” the body is not only the site of a pragmatic faith – the will to carry on from loss, but the body is a limit and threshold – and threshold opens the gates of the mysteries beyond.

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DOI: 10.1558/rst.21471


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