This book connects the aging woman to the image of God in the work of Flannery O’Connor, Joyce Carol Oates, Alicia Ostriker, Lucille Clifton, Mary Szybist, and Anne Babson. It introduces a canon of contemporary American women’s spiritual literature with the goal of showing how this literature treats aging and spirituality as major, connected themes. It demonstrates that such literature interacts meaningfully with feminist theology, social science research on aging and body image, attachment theory, and narrative identity theory. The book provides an interdisciplinary context for the relationship between aging and spirituality in order to confirm that US women’s writing provides unique illustrations of the interconnections between aging and spirituality signaled by other fields. This book demonstrates that relationships between the human and divine remain a consistent and valuable feature of contemporary women’s literature and that the divine–human relationship is under constant literary revision.

chapter |29 pages


chapter 3|15 pages

Orphanhood and Spiritual Development

Exploring Intergenerational Loss and Conflict in Joyce Carol Oates' Fiction

chapter 7|30 pages

A Feminist Pentecostal Perspective of Aging

Reflecting the Holy Spirit in Anne Babson's Messiah and Polite Occasions

chapter 8|4 pages


Observations on Attachment Theory, Gerotranscendence, and Late American Women's Spiritual Literature