The relationship between literature and religion is a vital research area in the Department of English. Six professors have either written a book on the subject or are in the process of doing so, and several graduate students are pursuing projects in this area (see the list of professors here). This research strength will be a dedicated intellectual focus for a second year. We have invited several speakers who will address the question of literature and religion in public talks and we continue our reading group on literature and religion. Following the visits of Adam Potkay and Charles Taylor this past fall, Gauri Viswanathan will be visiting the week of March 20.
Literature is central to the human quest for meaning. It’s a unique vehicle for finding ourselves, for navigating our course in an often confusing and complex world. Because it speaks to our imagination, literature allows us to approach the moral, ethical, social, and political dilemmas of the human situation in an integrated way. The beautiful and the well-argued, the felt and the reasoned, the actual and the possible, the message and the medium: students of literature—undergraduates, graduates, and professors—do not treat these spheres as distinct aspects of human existence. In our department, they bring them together.