Adam Walker (Harvard University)
How does our understanding of religion in the Romantic era shape our interpretation and evaluation of Romantic thought and literature? How might we reconsider Romantic literature within the contexts of religious surplus in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries?
In his Natural Supernaturalism (1971), M. H. Abrams had identified the moment of Romanticism as “a decisive turn in Western culture,” a turn that assimilated and reinterpreted “religious ideas, as constitutive elements in a world view founded on secular premises” (13-14). In the past two decades, the study of Romanticism and religion has reached a critical juncture, as recent scholars have revised and abandoned the received secularization narratives by introducing new ways of thinking about Romanticism and notions of the "religious" and "secular."
Hoping to further or challenge these explorations, this panel is an invitation to a conversation that might go in a number of directions. Proposals (of roughly 300 words, accompanied by a short vita) on British, American, and continental Romanticisms are welcome. Possible topics could include, but are by no means limited to, the following:
- New interpretative approaches to religion and Romantic literature;
- Explorations on how the surplus and pluralism of religious thought in the Romantic era affects our reading of Romantic poems;
- Interdisciplinary concerns or interventions in past or ongoing critical debates;
- Reflections on the idea of "Romantic religion(s);"
- Attention to marginalized figures within the Romantic movement, especially women writers;
- Considerations of Romanticism and religious thought, including Christian and non-Christian (and non-Western) theologies and philosophies.