This essay is an impressionistic account of Hortense J. Spillers's materialist synthesis of narrative theory, political theology, and expository logic that foregrounds people-centered histories and surprise in a proliferation of critical and theoretical paradigms and problematics. Focusing primarily on Spillers's mapping of novels by Paule Marshall, Ralph Ellison, and William Faulkner, the essay examines how her work consistently brings history into play alongside mobilizations of myth-criticism, narratology, and religious thought—fields that have notoriously evaded such historical groundings.

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