Despite the crucial importance of religion in American life, the place of religion in literary studies continues to take a backseat to trendier academic causes. "There Before Us" helps remedy this deficiency by exploring the place of faith in the lives of writers beginning with Ralph Waldo Emerson, who called in 1837 for the creation of a national culture free from "the learning of other lands" and from traditional religion. The authors in this volume explore the dimensions of this religious and national consciousness in the writings of Henry David Thoreau, Herman Melville, Emily Dickinson, Frances Harper, Mark Twain, William and Henry James, Ezra Pound, and T. S. Eliot. In developing their arguments, the essayists draw upon a wide array of contemporary theoretical resources - from African American poetics to environmental criticism, from the hermeneutics of suspicion to the new historicism.
Literature-Fiction, United-States, Classics,