CLINTON MACHANN / 267 Religion and Literature: An Introduction by Mark Knight and Emma Mason. Yet McKelvy's interests ultimately lie with reading, particularly as a practice shaped by ecclesiastical culture in the long nineteenth century. His project is fundamentally determined by an attention to book history and to the bibliographical particulars of the texts under discussion, and the stakes of his argument are resolutely literary-historical ones, both large and small. By being precise about composition and publication histories, editions, and variants (while avoiding pedantry--no mean trick), McKelvy tracks his larger argument close to the bookish details that determined what readers read and when. What emerges is a new and vital narrative about the modern life of literature, a revisionary history featuring former supporting actors in leading roles: Lowth, Warton, Percy, Keble, Macaulay, and Gladstone all receive extended attention, along with Scott (the poetry) and George Eliot (Daniel Deronda). McKelvy is a critic who can speak with impressive authority on writings across the long period his study defines, from Thomas Percy's Hau Kiou Choaan (1761) to George Smith's Chaldean Account of Genesis (1876), and show the importance of these more obscure texts to the main line of post-Enlightenment culture
Victorian Poetry – West Virginia University Press
Published: Nov 15, 2007
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