Modernist Reformations. Sicari, Stephen (9781638040248). Hardback.

Modernist Reformations. Sicari, Stephen (9781638040248). Hardback.

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“Religion” has become suspect in literary studies, often for good reason, as it has become associated with reactionary politics and outdated codified beliefs.  In Modernist Reformations: Poetry as Theology in Eliot, Stevens, and Joyce, the author demonstrates how three high modernist writers work to reform religious experience for an age dominated by the extremes of radical skepticism and dogmatic rigidity. The author offers new and provocative readings of these well-studied writers: Joyce and Stevens are usually considered purely secular, and the Eliot in this book is more progressive than reactionary. The readings here provide a fresh approach to their work and to the period.  Using studies of religious experience by sociologists and theologians both from the modernist era and from our own contemporary world to frame the argument, the author examines the poetry closely and in detail to demonstrate that the work of these writers does not merely reflect religious themes and issues but does the actual work usually considered theological. Their poetry is theology. Modernist Reformations will renew and deepen appreciation for these writers, and perhaps their efforts at reformation may allow for our own engagement with religion in a secular age.

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