Review by Choice Review
Recent studies devoted to Romanticism and religion are not in short supply, and Hopps and Stabler (School of Divinity and School of English, respectively, Univ. of St. Andrews, Scotland) admit to this in their introduction. But they also argue that the time has come to bring the "postmodern theological turn" to Romantic scholarship, and thus to call the preconceptions of secular scholarship into question. These claims for the possibilities of this new theological approach suggest a book dense with jargon, but in fact the volume comprises mostly lucid (and excellent) essays that rarely deviate from more traditional, historicist approaches to the study of literature and religion. Among the most helpful essays are Vincent Newey on William Cowper; Timothy Webb on anti-Catholicism; Christine Kenyon-Jones, Richard Cronin, and Edward Burns on Byron; Corinna Russell on Hopkins; and Jane Stabler on Romantic responses to Renaissance religious art. The essays on Byron, at least, live up to the introduction's insistence that readers must attend to his theological complexities (and occasional absurdities). The conspicuous disjunction between the introduction's theory and the essays' practice notwithstanding, this is a worthwhile effort. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Ambitious upper-division undergraduates through faculty. M. E. Burstein SUNY College at Brockport
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