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New Directions in Religion and Literature

New Directions in Religion and Literature is a series of short monographs written by leading and rising scholars in this field, and is edited by Emma Mason (University of Warwick) and Mark Knight (University of Lancaster). The series is published by Bloomsbury Academic.

Introduction to the series

The field of literary studies has always been interwoven with religious ideas, its development dependent on a relationship with religion established by critics like Matthew Arnold. Before Arnold, the theorization of aesthetic ideas, like the sublime, together with the tendency of critics to constantly refer back to the Bible as a source of genre and form, laid strong religious foundations for the Victorians’ literary endeavours. Given this, it is perhaps no surprise that the re-evaluation of the discipline of literature that accompanied the rise of theory in the second half of the twentieth century saw, among other things, a renewed appreciation of the capacity of religion and literature to contribute to our understanding of the other. This new critical awareness manifested itself in modes of theological inquiry that sought to recover the centrality of literature (the rise of Narrative Theology, for example), in scholarship committed to reflecting on the place of religion and theology in literary studies (such as the inauguration of the journal Literature and Theology) and in critical inquiry exploring the nature of the text and our commitment to it (inspired by the theoretical thinking of thinkers as diverse as Gadamer, Buber, Derrida and Benjamin).

As thinking continues to develop into the twenty-first century, the question of how these two disciplines interact with one another invites fresh thought, both to restore the terms of their interaction and also to explore the now urgent political significance of religious debate in our current global climate. A generation of scholars once committed to secular criticism are now turning to religion as a way to redress literary queries materialist criticism has evaded. A new group of scholars, following the lead of those at the forefront of religion and literature in the latter part of the twentieth century, are eager to contribute to and read work intimate with both religious and literary debates. The purpose of this series is to showcase this new work in a succession of books that address the culturally and politically loaded question of how religion and literature enable readings of each other. Books will pursue a variety of theoretical approaches as they engage with writing from different religious and literary traditions. Collectively, the series will offer a timely critical intervention to the interdisciplinary crossover between religion and literature, speaking to wider contemporary interests and mapping out new directions for the field in the early twenty-first century.

Published titles

Andrew Ball, The Economy of Religion in American Literature (2022)

Jessica Ann Hughes, Jesus in the Victorian Novel (2022)

Gregory Erickson, Christian Heresy, James Joyce, and the Modernist Imagination (2022)

Ryan Kemp and Jordan Rodgers, Marilynne Robinson's Worldly Gospel (2022)

David Parry, The Rhetoric of Conversion in English Puritan Writing from Perkins to Milton (2022)

Mark Eaton, Religion and American Literature since 1950 (2019)

Ziad Elmarsafy, Esoteric Islam in Modern French Thought (2019)

Emily McEvan, Jeanette Winterson and Religion (2019)

Michael Hurley, Faith in Poetry: Verse Style as a Mode of Religious Belief (2018)

Peter Hawkins and Lesleigh Cushing, The Bible in the American Short Story (2017)

Stephen Shapiro and Philip Barnard, Pentecostal Modernism: H.P. Lovecraft, Los Angeles and World Systems Culture (2017)

Adam Miller, The Gospel According to David Foster Wallace: Boredom and Addiction in an Age of Distraction (2015)

Michael Tomko, The Suspension of Disbelief: Poetic Faith from Coleridge to Tolkien (2015)

Magdalena Maczynska, The Gospel According to the Novelist: Religious Scripture and Contemporary Fiction (2015)

Richa Dwor, Jewish Feeling: Difference and Affect in Nineteenth-Century Jewish Women’s Writing (2015)

Richard Gibson, Forgiveness in Victorian Literature: Grammar, Narrative and Community (2014)

Samantha Zacher, Becoming the Chosen People: Rewriting the Old Testament in Anglo-Saxon England (2014)

Peter Jager, Buddhism and Radical Poetics (2013)

Luke Ferretter, The Glyph and the Gramaphone: D. H. Lawrence's Religion (2013)

William Franke, Dante and the Sense of Transgression (2012)

John Schad, The Late Walter Benjamin (2012)

Susan Colon, Victorian Parables (2012)

Jo Carruthers, England's Secular Scripture: Islamophobia and the Protestant Aesthetic (2012)

Ben Saunders, Do Gods Wear Capes: Spirituality, Fantasy and Superheroes (2011)

Jon Roberts, Blake. Wordsworth. Religion. (2011)

Arthur Bradley and Andrew Tate, The New Atheist Novel: Philosophy, Fiction and Polemic after 9/11 (2010)

Forthcoming titles

David Parry, Puritan Persuasion

Emma Mason and Mark Knight, Weird Faith in Nineteenth-Century Literature: Theologies at Work 


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