Book Cover

Constructing Nineteenth-Century Religion

Literary, Historical, and Religious Studies in Dialogue

Edited by Joshua King and Winter Jade Werner

330 pp. 6 x 9
12 illustrations

Pub Date: April, 2019

Subjects: Victorian Studies
Literary Studies, British & Irish
Literary Studies, 19th Century

Series: Literature, Religion, and Postsecular Studies

order Hardcover $69.95   ISBN: 978-0-8142-1397-1
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“This volume not only brings together an impressive collection of internationally renowned scholars but also offers ambitious and far-reaching conclusions that reassess what ‘religion’ meant in the nineteenth century.” —Jo Carruthers

Bringing together scholars from literary, historical, and religious studies, Constructing Nineteenth-Century Religion interrogates the seemingly obvious category of “religion.” This collection argues that any application of religion engages in complex and relatively modern historical processes. In considering the various ways that nineteenth-century religion was constructed, commodified, and practiced, contributors to this volume “speak” to each other, finding interdisciplinary links and resonances across a range of texts and contexts.

The participle in its title—Constructing—acknowledges that any articulation of nineteenth-century religion is never just a work of the past: scholars also actively construct religion as their disciplinary assumptions (and indeed personal and lived investments) shape their research and findings. Constructing Nineteenth­-Century Religion newly analyzes the diverse ways in which religion was debated and deployed in a wide range of nineteenth-­century texts and contexts. While focusing primarily on nineteenth­-century Britain, the collection also contributes to the increasingly transnational and transcultural outlook of postsecular studies, drawing connections between Britain and the United States, continental Europe, and colonial India.

Joshua King is Associate Professor at Baylor University and author of Imagined Spiritual Communities in Britain’s Age of Print (OSU Press, 2015). Winter Jade Werner is Assistant Professor at Wheaton College.


List of Illustrations
Introduction    Joshua King and Winter Jade Werner

Part I   Reforming Religion and the Secular

Chapter 1        Religion and the Secular State: Loisy’s Use of “Religion” Prior to His Excommunication
            Jeffrey L. Morrow

Chapter 2        A Commonwealth of Affection: Modern Hinduism and the Cultural History of the Study of Religion
            J. Barton Scott

Chapter 3        “God’s Insurrection”: Politics and Faith in the Revolutionary Sermons of Joseph Rayner Stephens
            Mike Sanders

Chapter 4        George Jacob Holyoake, Secularism, and Constructing “Religion” as an Anachronistic Repressor
            David Nash

Chapter 5        Karl Marx and the Invention of the Secular
            Dominic Erdozain

Part II  Religion and the Materialities and Practices of Reading

Chapter 6        From Treasures to Trash, or, the Real History of “Family Bibles”
            Mary Wilson Carpenter

Chapter 7        Rereading Queen Victoria’s Religion
            Michael Ledger-Lomas

Chapter 8        Jewish Women’s Writing as a New Category of Affect
            Richa Dwor

Chapter 9        Hybridous Monsters: Constructing “Religion” and “the Novel” in the Early Nineteenth Century
            Miriam Elizabeth Burstein

Chapter 10      Material Religion: C. H. Spurgeon and the “Battle of the Styles” in Victorian Church Architecture
            Dominic Janes

Chapter 11      Wilde’s Uses of Religion
            Mark Knight

Part III Religion and Poetics in Postsecular Literary Studies

Chapter 12      Reading Psalms in Nineteenth-Century England: The Contact Zone of Jewish–Christian Scriptural Relations
            Cynthia Scheinberg

Chapter 13      Postsecular English Studies and Romantic Cults of Authorship
            Charles LaPorte

Chapter 14      Theologies of Inspiration: William Blake and Gerard Manley Hopkins
            Michael D. Hurley

Chapter 15      William Blake, the Secularization of Religious Categories, and the History of Imagination
            Peter Otto

List of Contributors