Dr Emily Abdeni-Holman

Research Associate

I’m a writer and researcher interested in questions at the intersection (and concerning the interaction) of language, ethical
vision/culture, felt experience, and place. My MBIT project explores ‘verbal agency’: the role articulation plays in spiritual direction in
the Ignatian tradition; the meanings and implications of a sacramental conception of language (Jacques Maritain, Herbert McCabe, William
Lynch); and literature and apophatic experience. My interest in the generative capacities of language is particularly in terms of the
sense of life a text enables: the distinctive shape it gives to significance, the perspective that characterises its
conceptual-emotional landscape, the atmosphere of its commitments and horizons. My article on ‘life’ in John Williams’s Stoner gives some
body to these rather ethereal-sounding things:

And Doris Lessing catches it wonderfully (read ‘humankind’ instead of ‘man himself’):

“I was not looking for a firm reaffirmation of old ethical values,
many of which I don’t accept; I was not in search of the pleasures of
familiarity. I was looking for the warmth, the compassion, the
humanity, the love of people which illuminates the literature of the
nineteenth century and which makes all these old novels a statement of
faith in man himself. […] This is what I mean when I say that
literature should be committed.”

I’m always interested in hearing about people’s experiences with books
and the (helpful or unhelpful) imaginative/embodied space it opens up
for them.