Psychomachia in the Robicheaux novels of James Lee Burke

2015 Louisiana Studies Conference Presentation Abstract

“Psychomachia in the Robicheaux novels of James Lee Burke”  

Presented by Bernard Gallagher, Louisiana State University at Alexandria

The paper will  use  Catherine Belsey’s article, “The Divided Tragic Hero”  to define medieval psychomachia and then examine the  possibility that Burke uses the friendship between Clete Purcell and Dave Robicheaux  to externalize Robicheaux’s psychological and moral conflicts, thus creating as a consequence a contemporary form of psychomachia that first questions rather than reinforces the existing social order and then  suggests that the flaws in contemporary social order move from beyond the realm of the empirical (whether you want to think of that empiricism in terms of  “realism” and “naturalism”) and into the realm of the spiritual.