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Transcendentalist Intersections: Literature, Philosophy, Religion

November 6, 2016

Dear Colleagues,
We would like to share with you the announcement of an upcoming conference, “Transcendentalist Intersections: Literature, Philosophy, Religion,” which is slated to take place on July 26–29, 2018 at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. This international event is co-sponsored by the Ralph Waldo Emerson Society, the Margaret Fuller Society, and the Anglistisches Seminar and Center for American Studies at the University of Heidelberg.

In the spirit of The Dial under Margaret Fuller’s editorship, the organizers aim to do justice to the breadth and depth of the Transcendentalist movement by employing multi-disciplinary approaches. Specifically, the conference invites contributions that discuss “the entanglements of Transcendentalists (major or minor) with other 19th-century American religious movements such as the Second Great Awakening, the Holiness and Spiritualist revivals, Catholic immigration, and the emergence of groups centered around new ‘American Scriptures’ such as Mormonism.” Regarding literature, the conference will highlight “texts and authors traditionally ignored or cast as ‘minor’” paying especial attention to forms of writing like journalism, literature of reform or revolt, correspondence, travel writing, history, and philosophy as literature.

The conference is currently calling for papers. More details can be found here.

New Directions in Religion and Literature

October 2, 2016

Dear Colleagues,
We are delighted to introduce to you “New Directions in Religion and Literature,” a series of monographs written by leading and rising experts in the field of religion and literature. The series is edited by Emma Mason (University of Warwick) and Mark Knight (University of Toronto), and published by Bloomsbury Academic.
According to the publisher, “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.” Read more…

David Jasper’s Literature and Theology as a Grammar of Assent

September 4, 2016

New book on religion and literature:

David Jasper’s Literature and Theology as a Grammar of Assent

Dear colleagues,

We would like to introduce to you a recent publication by Routledge on religion and literature, David Jasper’s Literature and Theology as a Grammar of Assent. Adopting a contemporary focus, the book begins with an introduction to the history of literature and theology since 1982, when the first of the biennial conferences at the University of Durham was held. The historical roots of these recent intellectual events were probed, for example the work of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and John Henry Newman, as well as the humanist tradition of Pascal and Erasmus, to which they were responding. Individual chapters are devoted to writers/theologians from diverse backgrounds such as Read more…

Word and Mystery—Elements of Christian Mysticism in Contemporary Poetry

July 27, 2016
Dear colleagues,
On Oct. 67 the University of Los Andes, Chile is hosting an international conference entitled “Word and Mystery—Elements of Christian Mysticism in Contemporary Poetry: From Baudelaire to the Present.”
The event is jointly organized by the Department of Literature at the University of Los Andes (Chile), the Faculty of Philology at the University
of Münster (Germany), and the École Normale Supérieure (France). The conference aims to examine how poetry served as a mediator between religion and the secularized milieu of 19th and 20th centuries, with particular focus on empirical and intellectual perspectives, in order “to detect and analyze the elements of Christian mysticism in the poetry of the Western hemisphere.”
Abstracts are accepted until August 15, 2016.
Further information is accessible here or here.

Princeton Workshop on Chinese Religious Poetry for Junior Scholars

June 20, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

We would like to draw your attention to an upcoming workshop on Chinese religious poetry, to be held 2-3 December 2016 at Princeton University. Participants will include six graduate students and six early-career faculty members from North America.

In this workshop, both “religion” and “poetry” will be broadly defined. Although research on all cultural and historical traditions are welcome, the workshop encourages projects relating to experimental and digital methodologies. Case studies and broad theoretical reflection reaching beyond Sinological topics will be given equal emphasis.

A brief abstract of no more than 250 words is due on June 30, 2016. Questions and submissions are welcome at and

Please refer to the full CFP here:


Recent Publications in Religion and Literature

June 2, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

We would like to call your attention to three recently published books on religion and literature.

Published by Oxford University Press in the centenary year of Shakespeare’s death, Unsettled Toleration: Religious Difference on the Shakespearean Stage by Brian Walsh investigates how Shakespeare and his contemporaries grappled with religious conflicts on the stage in the wake the Reformation. The book includes readings of both the canonical plays and those that have received less critical attention.

Secular Scriptures: Modern Theological Poetics in the Wake of Dante by William Francke explores the secularization of religious themes and motifs in Western European Literature. Using Dante as a starting point, the book constructs a trajectory of religious-poetic revelation that includes authors such as Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Baudelaire and Emily Dickinson.

Legible Religion: Books, Gods, and Rituals in Roman Culture by Duncan MacRae tackles an intriguing question in the study of religion and literature: namely, what is the significance of books in a religion without scripture? The book provides extensive discussions on the role of writing and reading in ancient Roman cult, while offering a thought-provoking comparison with Rabbinic literature and culture.

Free Virtual Issue of Literature and Theology

May 2, 2016

Dear colleagues,

We would like to draw your attention to a virtual special issue of Literature and Theology, published by Oxford Journals. The issue, edited by Anna Fisk, is entitled “LGBT History, Literature and Queer Theology.” It marks the UK LGBT History Month, which this year has adopted the theme, “Religion, Belief and Philosophy.”

The articles contained in this virtual issue are drawn from the Literature and Theology archive which explore themes of sexuality at the intersection of religion and literature. According to the journal website, the aim of LGBT History Month is “to celebrate the often-marginalized role of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in history” and “to challenge homophobia and identify the prejudice and oppression that LGBT people experience both in the past and the present.” Read more…