CALL FOR PAPERS for Special Issue
Christianity & Literature
Guest Editor: Kimberly Johnson (BYU)
Description: After a couple of decades in which the more content-based readings of cultural criticism privileged forms like the novel, drama, and the short story, literary scholarship is returning its attention to poetry and poetics, and scholars with increasing frequency are producing work that recognizes the interanimations of culture and aesthetic form. In some historical fields, this turn to the aesthetic has been especially pronounced; for example, early modern studies has experienced in recent years an efflorescence in scholarship on poetry, in part because of the ways in which poetics and materialist approaches have converged around the culturally provocative topic of religion. Still, critical examinations of poetry in periods beyond the Renaissance’s religious hotbed have been slower to consider how the structures and practices of the Christian tradition may affect the aesthetic strategies of poems.
This special issue of Christianity and Literature will explore the ways in which poetics historically has responded to Christian practice across periods and contexts. By poetics we mean those figures and structures of poetic texts distinct from (though functioning in mutual reinforcement or productive tension with) the denotative content of a poem’s words: tropes and wordplay, meter, rhyme and other sonic recurrences, graphic organization, and other formal strategies that emphasize the materiality of language. This issue seeks to examine how poetic practice has been variously informed by and resistant to the material valences of Christianity as expressed in its liturgies, its architecture, its art and music, its lexicons and textualities, its doctrines (to enumerate just a few potential sites of investigation). Bringing together essays that consider poetic texts from a range of historical periods, this issue seeks to expand the conversation about poetic responses to Christian worship.
Deadline: We will begin reviewing submissions on January 1, 2018 and will continue to review until the final deadline of March 1, 2018.
Submissions: Please submit essays to https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/christlit. Check “yes” under the field asking whether the submission is for a special issue, and specify “Poetics/Praxis.” Essays should be 6000-9000 words in length and should be formatted according to the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition. Direct inquiries about the issue to Guest Editor Kimberly Johnson (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Matthew J. Smith (email@example.com), Associate Editor of Christianity & Literature.
Journal Editorial Statement: Christianity & Literature is the oldest of the US-based literary journals devoted to the study of religion and literature. We invite essay submissions that examine literature, broadly defined, in historical and interpretive contact with Christian thought and history. Our essays query how texts and performances may advance or challenge cultural and intellectual movements in Christianity as well as how Christian belief, practice, and institutions serve as factors in the historical production of literature. We seek to be at the forefront of what it means to read literature through and alongside the critical and historical questions of the Christian tradition. Thus, we especially encourage submissions that specifically define how their methodology engages Christianity as a lens or setting. We do not publish self-enclosed close readings but rather ask that essays bring the Christian context or content of literature to bear on current critical discussions of texts in culture, history, religion, and theory.