The relationship between literature and religion is one of the most groundbreaking and challenging areas of Romantic studies. Covering the entire field of Romanticism from its eighteenth-century origins in the writing of William Cowper and its proleptic stirrings in Paradise Lost to late-twentieth-century manifestations in the work of Wallace Stevens, the essays in this timely volume explore subjects such as Romantic attitudes towards creativity and its relation to suffering and religious apprehension; the allure of the 'veiled' and the figure of the monk in Gothic and Romantic writing; Miltonic light and inspiration in the work of Blake, Wordsworth, Shelley, and Keats; the relationship between Southey's and Coleridge's anti-Catholicism and definitions of religious faith in the Romantic period; the stammering of Romantic attempts to figure the ineffable; the emergence of a feminised Christianity and a gendered sublime; the development of Calvinism and its role in contemporary religious controversies. Its primary focus is the canonical Romantic poets, with a particular emphasis on Byron, whose work is most in need of critical re-evaluation given its engagement with the Christian and Islamic worlds and its critique of totalising religious and secular readings. The collection is an original and much-needed intervention in Romantic studies, bringing together the contextual awareness of recent historicist scholarship with the newly awakened interest in matters of form and an appreciation of the challenges of postmodern theory.

chapter |23 pages


Grace Under Pressure

chapter 1|16 pages

Approaching the Unapproached Light

Milton and the Romantic Visionary

chapter 2|16 pages

Cowper Prospects

Self, Nature, Society

chapter 3|17 pages

‘Je sais bien, mais quand même …’

Wordsworth’s Faithful Scepticism

chapter 4|18 pages

Catholic Contagion

Southey, Coleridge and English Romantic Anxieties

chapter 5|13 pages

‘Sacrifice and Offering Thou Didst Not Desire’

Byron and Atonement 1

chapter 6|13 pages

‘I was Bred a Moderate Presbyterian’

Byron, Thomas Chalmers and the Scottish Religious Heritage

chapter 7|16 pages

Byron’s Confessional Pilgrimage

chapter 8|17 pages

Words and the Word

The Diction of Don Juan

chapter 9|12 pages

‘Why Should I Speak?’

Scepticism and the Voice of Poetry in Byron’s Cain

chapter 10|13 pages

Byron’s Monk-y Business

Ghostly Closure and Comic Continuity

chapter 11|10 pages

‘A Fine Excess’

Hopkins, Keats and the Gratuity of Grace

chapter 12|16 pages

‘Until Death Tramples It to Fragments’

Percy Bysshe Shelley after Postmodern Theology

chapter 13|15 pages

Sacred Art and Profane Poets

chapter 14|14 pages

‘The Death of Satan’

Stevens’s ‘Esthétique du Mal’, Evil and the Romantic Imagination