The relationship between literature and religion is one of the most groundbreaking and challenging areas of Romantic studies. Covering the entire field of Romanticism from its eighteenth-century origins in the writing of William Cowper and its proleptic stirrings in Paradise Lost to late-twentieth-century manifestations in the work of Wallace Stevens, the essays in this timely volume explore subjects such as Romantic attitudes towards creativity and its relation to suffering and religious apprehension; the allure of the 'veiled' and the figure of the monk in Gothic and Romantic writing; Miltonic light and inspiration in the work of Blake, Wordsworth, Shelley, and Keats; the relationship between Southey's and Coleridge's anti-Catholicism and definitions of religious faith in the Romantic period; the stammering of Romantic attempts to figure the ineffable; the emergence of a feminised Christianity and a gendered sublime; the development of Calvinism and its role in contemporary religious controversies. Its primary focus is the canonical Romantic poets, with a particular emphasis on Byron, whose work is most in need of critical re-evaluation given its engagement with the Christian and Islamic worlds and its critique of totalising religious and secular readings. The collection is an original and much-needed intervention in Romantic studies, bringing together the contextual awareness of recent historicist scholarship with the newly awakened interest in matters of form and an appreciation of the challenges of postmodern theory.
'A stimulating and informative collection that examines a wide range of writers and texts from a variety of critical and theoretical perspectives. Essential reading for anyone interested in the relationships between literature, religion and theology in the Romantic period and beyond'. Simon Bainbridge, Lancaster University '... the volume comprises mostly lucid (and excellent) essays... a worthwhile effort. Recommended.' Choice ’Romanticism and Religion is testimony to a formidable literary critic whose dextrous intellectual pursuits have effectively established the legacy upon which this volume stands by marrying the religious with the literary in ever-fruitful, ever-insightful ways. After all, what is impressive about this volume is not just the breadth and scope of its individual contributions, but the way that, as a collection, it also manages to embrace and develop an active and stimulating debate across and between the wide-ranging views and arguments of its contributors. In this sense, the spirit of Bernard Beatty's critical acuity, indeed of the mind of the man himself, breathes in this book's pages, and promises a future of scholarly inspiration.’ Byron Journal ’This book is an important addition to Ashgate's Nineteenth Century series, containing critical and theoretical discussion of Romanticism and its relationship with Religion... a worthy contribution to the field of Romantic studies, and will instigate and inspire continued debate on the subject for some time to come.’ Romantic Textualities ’...it is refreshing to see theological and literary nuances examined in the light of the multifaceted religious thought that informs both Romanticism and postmodernity, rather than elided in the name of an obligatory materialism.’ BARS Bulletin