Literary Paths To Religious Understanding: Essays on Dryden, Pope, Keats, George Eliot, Joyce, T.S…

Hardcover | November 15, 2009

byG. Douglas Atkins

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This highly readable book represents a unique approach to the controversial matter of the relations of literature and religion. From the minor seventeenth-century English tradition of “layman’s faiths,” Atkins moves seamlessly through a wide range of post-Reformation writers encountering and sometimes confronting institutional Christianity. After fresh, engaging discussions of John Dryden’s and Alexander Pope’s work come insightful, new readings of John Keats, George Eliot, James Joyce, T.S. Eliot, and perhaps most surprisingly, E.B. White. Atkins eschews linear argument in favor of a nuanced essayistic manner that elucidates texts and issues of immediate and lasting concern.

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This highly readable book represents a unique approach to the controversial matter of the relations of literature and religion. From the minor seventeenth-century English tradition of “layman’s faiths,” Atkins moves seamlessly through a wide range of post-Reformation writers encountering and sometimes confronting institutional Christia...

G. Douglas Atkins is Professor of English at the University of Kansas, winner of several awards for distinguished teaching, and the author of more than a dozen books, including Estranging the Familiar (a Choice Outstanding Academic Book of the Year).

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:196 pages, 8.31 × 5.7 × 0.59 inPublished:November 15, 2009Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0230621473

ISBN - 13:9780230621473

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Table of Contents

Introduction: “The hint half guessed, the gift half understood” * Essaying the Via Media: John Dryden’s Religio Laici and Alexander Pope’s An Essay on Man * “A grander scheme of salvation than the chrystian religion”: John Keats, a New Religion of Love, and the Hoodwinking of “The Eve of St. Agnes” * George Eliot’s Layman’s Faith: The Lyrical Essay-Novel Adam Bede * Priests of Eternal Imagination: Literature and Religion--The Instance of James Joyce and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man * Journey towards Understanding: T.S. Eliot and the Progress of the “Intelligent Believer” * “Religious Feeling without Religious Images”: E.B. White’s Essays * Religio Criticae: An Essay on Reception and Response

Editorial Reviews

“Atkins is a complete master of the literary works he discusses and the secondary criticism surrounding them. His citations from those works are succinct and just right; he is a brilliant reader and interpreter. His recovery of a ‘religious’ Ezra Pound, for one, is ground breaking and controversial.”—Will Willimon, Bishop, the United Methodist Church, Birmingham, Alabama and author of The Early Sermons of Karl Barth “Literary Paths to Religious Understanding is a work that deals with important issues—important humanly and professionally. Its audience should be a wide one. Like Geoffrey Hartman towards the end of his career (with whom he has long acknowledged an affinity), Atkins seems to be stepping away from a narrowly scholarly path to explore issues that have stimulated him for some time, and that will also stimulate his readers.”—Jan Gorak, Professor of English, University of Denver