John Wesley (1703–1791), leader of British Methodism, was one of the most prolific literary figures of the eighteenth century, responsible for creating and disseminating a massive corpus of religious literature and for instigating a sophisticated programme of reading, writing and publishing within his Methodist Societies. John Wesley, Practical Divinity and the Defence of Literature takes the influential genre of practical divinity as a framework for understanding Wesley’s role as an author, editor and critic of popular religious writing. It asks why he advocated the literary arts as a valid aspect of his evangelical theology, and how his Christian poetics impacted upon the religious experience of his followers.
Table of Contents
Methodism and the Defence of Literature: An Introduction;
1 Methodist Literary Culture: Literacy and Grace;
2 Wesley’s Christian Library: Practicality, Controversy and the Methodist Canon;
3 Wesley in the Literary Sphere: The Methodist Miscellany;
4 Wesleyan Poetics: Practical Divinity and the Function of Literature;
5 Negotiating Nonconformity: Practical Divinity and the Politics of Methodist Hymnody;
6 Experience, Experiment and Wesley’s Spiritual Autobiography;
Emma Salgård Cunha is Lecturer in English at Middlebury College’s Oxford Humanities Program and College Lecturer in Theology at Keble College, Oxford. Her research focuses on the relationship between religion and literature in the long eighteenth century.
"his is an. academic book tor those who are interested in Joh:n Wesley's publication projects as they related to and were part of the literary print culture of the eighteenth century a time when a significant number of religious texts were produced. Wesley himself may have been responsible for as many as 3,500 items. Thls study, lhen, will be most useful for scholars interesting in the history of publishing in various religious movements such as Methodism, in the purposes and uses of literature and the readers of literature, and the reputation of John Wesley as a literary figure who instigated, as the fro.ntis note says "a s0phisticated programme of reading, writing, and publishing within Ws Methodist Societies' (iii)." - Rudolph P. Almasy, West Virginia University