In her post “Dan Brown’s ‘Inferno’: An Eternal Return” earlier this week, my colleague Susanna Morrill observed that Dan Brown has a knack for telling familiar stories in a language of standard tropes. As Susanna showed, Brown’s work taps into a variety of American anxieties, and it reflects a number of movements in American thought. Susanna’s observations approached Brown with a wide-angle lens, and she ably illuminated the ways in which Brown’s latest whodunit novel featuring the intrepid “religious symbologist” Robert Langdon embodies many American hopes and fears about religion, science, and, at bottom, authority. Today I want to narrow the focus to the two key issues that most occupy Brown in the novels that I’ve read (Angels and Demons , The Da Vinci Code , and now Inferno ): Roman Catholicism and female sexuality. Because while, as Susanna contends, Brown does not resolve all questions for his readers, he is crystal clear on these two subjects. In keeping with countless American representations of suspect religious groups, Brown both opposes the institution of the Catholic Church at every turn—frequently on the grounds of the hierarchy’s excessive control over members’ sexuality—and at the same time puts clear limits on women’s sexuality.