Literature and Religion at the Fin de Siecle

Course Outline:

Despite the commonplace idea that God had died by the end of the nineteenth century, religion remained very much in evidence at the fin de siècle. This is apparent in the literature produced in the period, and this module will examine a range of the writers who wrote about religion. Along the way, we will consider questions such as: the reasons for the return to religion among writers at the fin de siècle (c. 1880-1914); the debates raised by religious pluralism in the period; the experimental investigations into the relation of form to faith; and the broader questions of how literature mediates and speaks to the relationship between religion and the secular in the modern period. Although the literature on the course focuses on the Christian tradition (in both its Catholic and Protestant guises), we will also consider the way that other traditions (from Eastern Religions to Paganism to unbelief) and more mystical accounts of belief (e.g. theosophy) shape the writing of the period.