Mystery Cults and the Novel Form

If there is somewhere today where an echo of the ancient mysteries can then be heard, it is not in the liturgical splendour of the Catholic Church but in the extreme life resolutions offered by the novel form. Whether it be Lucius in The Golden Ass or Isabel Archer in Henry James’ Portrait of a Lady, the novel places us before a mysterion in which life itself is at once that which initiates us and that into which we are initiated.

Giorgio Agamben, The Unspeakable Girl. Trans. Leland De La Durantaye. Seagull Books, 2014 (2010)