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The Trouble with Literature - Oxford Scholarship Online
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The Trouble with Literature

Victoria Kahn


This book argues that the literature of the English Reformation marks a turning point in Western thinking about literature and literariness. But instead of arguing that the Reformation fostered English literature, as scholars have often done, I claim that literature helped undo the Reformation, with implications for both poetry and belief. Ultimately, literature in the Reformation is one vehicle by which religious belief was itself transformed into a human artifact, whether we understand this as a poetic artifact or a mental fiction. This transformation in turn helped produce the eighteenth-ce ... More

Keywords: Literariness, belief, Reformation, aesthetics, early modern period, English literature

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2020 Print ISBN-13: 9780198808749
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2020 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198808749.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Victoria Kahn, author
Katherine Bixby Hotchkis Chair in English and Professor of Comparative Literature, University of California, Berkeley

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