Methodism in Literature

Authored by: Laura Davies

The Ashgate Research Companion to World Methodism

Print publication date:  February  2013
Online publication date:  March  2016

Print ISBN: 9781409401384
eBook ISBN: 9781315613789
Adobe ISBN: 9781317040996


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Even if we set aside the breadth, instability and opacity of the terms ‘Methodism’ and ‘Literature’ the phrase created by the insertion between them of the preposition ‘in’ opens up a whole series of questions. In order properly to address the matter of how Methodism has been represented in Literature, it is also necessary to consider: the relationship between Methodism and Literature, and indeed between Methodists and Literature; the ways in which the study of Methodism from a literary perspective can be productive; and the bearing that research into Methodism has had, or could in the future have, upon the study of Literature as an academic discipline. This chapter will proceed from the belief that it is important and worthwhile as much for our understanding of the origins and continuing development of Methodism as for the ongoing evolution of Literature studies, to ask and to attempt to answer these questions. Addressing first the issue of Methodist attitudes towards, and practices of, reading, before shifting its focus to writing and publishing by Methodists, and then the representation of Methodism and Methodists in literary works by authors outside the movement, the discussion will move chronologically from the early Methodist period to the present day.

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