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1 - A Secular for Literary Studies

from Part I - Rethinking the Secular at the Origins of the English Novel

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 March 2021

Kevin Seidel
Affiliation:
Eastern Mennonite University, Virginia
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Summary

Chapter 1 lays out two common ways of thinking about the relationship between the religious and the secular. The first assumes that secular and religious approaches to the world are mutually exclusive; where one is ascendant the other must be in decline. The second considers the secular and religious to be paradoxically dependent on each other; one is always a curious inversion of the other. I suggest a better, third way inspired by Talal Asad’s Formations of the Secular, Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age, and William Connolly’s A World of Becoming. A scene from Defoe’s The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1719), the sequel to Robinson Crusoe (1719), shows how letting go of certain assumptions about the secular and religious can help us notice more of what is happening in the novel. The chapter ends with a brief discussion of what is at stake for literary studies in rethinking the secular, what we stand to lose if we do not and what we stand to gain if we do.

Type
Chapter
Information
Rethinking the Secular Origins of the Novel
The Bible in English Fiction 1678–1767
, pp. 15 - 36
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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  • A Secular for Literary Studies
  • Kevin Seidel, Eastern Mennonite University, Virginia
  • Book: Rethinking the Secular Origins of the Novel
  • Online publication: 16 March 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108867290.002
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  • A Secular for Literary Studies
  • Kevin Seidel, Eastern Mennonite University, Virginia
  • Book: Rethinking the Secular Origins of the Novel
  • Online publication: 16 March 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108867290.002
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • A Secular for Literary Studies
  • Kevin Seidel, Eastern Mennonite University, Virginia
  • Book: Rethinking the Secular Origins of the Novel
  • Online publication: 16 March 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108867290.002
Available formats
×