1st Edition

Nineteenth-Century American Women Writers and Theologies of the Afterlife
A Step Closer to Heaven



  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after July 13, 2021
ISBN 9780367528379
July 13, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
264 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations

USD $165.00

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Book Description

This collection analyzes the theme of the "afterlife" as it animated nineteenth-century American women’s theology-making and appeals for social justice. Authors like Harriet Beecher Stowe, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, Martha Finley, Jarena Lee, Maria Stewart, Zilpha Elaw, Rebecca Cox Jackson, Catherine Maria Sedgwick, Elizabeth Palmer Peabody, Belinda Marden Pratt, and others wrote to have a voice in the moral debates that were consuming churches and national politics. These texts are expressions of the lives and dynamic minds of women who developed sophisticated, systematic spiritual and textual approaches to the divine, to their denominations or religious traditions, and to the mainstream culture around them. Women do not simply live out theologies authored by men. Rather, A Step Closer to Heaven is grounded in the radical notion that the theological principles crafted by women and derived from women’s experiences, intellectual habits, and organizational capabilities are foundational to American literature itself.

Table of Contents

Introduction

PART 1: (GOD)MOTHERS OF THEOLOGY: 

HARRIET BEECHER STOWE AND ELIZBETH STUART PHELPS

1. Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, Christian Scholar? A Touch of Feeling in The Gates Ajar

By Brianna Thompson 

2. Heaven as a Potential Space: Elizabeth Stuart Phelps’ Afterlife Novels

By James A. Godley

3. Rewriting Heaven: Salvation and the Afterlife in the Works of Harriet Beecher Stowe and Elizabeth Stuart Phelps

By Jennine Gleghorn

4. The Archetypal Girl Savior and the Child Theologian: Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Little Eva and Martha Finley’s Elsie Dinsmore

By LuElla D’Amico

 

PART 2: SELF-MADE THEOLOGIES: BLACK WOMEN’S AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL WRITINGS

5. "As to the Nature of Uncommon Expressions": Jarena Lee’s Supernatural Worldview in The Life and Religious Experiences of Jarena Lee

By Margaret Lowe

6. Conversion and Counter-memory: Jarena Lee, Maria Stewart, and the Spiritual Motherhood of Mary Magdalene

By Elisabeth McClanahan Harris

7. "What Absurdity Next?": The Precarious Pulpits of Zilpha Elaw, Black Woman Evangelist (1820-65)

By Kimberly Blockett 

8. "Aleaving the World, the Flesh, and the Devil": Spiritual Vision and Celibate Holiness in Rebecca Cox Jackson’s Autobiographical Writings

By Jennifer McFarlane-Harris 

PART 3: WOMEN AND UTOPIAN THEOLOGIES

9. Discovering the Soul of the New Republic: The Early Fiction of Catherine Maria Sedgwick

By Joan Varnum Ferretti 

10. "The Family Order of Heaven": Belinda Marden Pratt’s Apology for Polygamy

By Zachary McLeod Hutchins

11. Theologies of the Afterlife in Mormon Women’s Late-Nineteenth-Century Poetry

By Amy Easton-Flake 

12. Elizabeth Palmer Peabody, Brook Farm, and the Heaven of Association

By Mark Gallagher 

...
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Editor(s)

Biography

Jennifer McFarlane-Harris is Associate Professor of English and Cultural Studies at Seattle Pacific University, where she teaches American Literature and Gender Studies.

Emily Hamilton-Honey is an Associate Professor of English and Gender Studies and Co-Chief Diversity Officer at SUNY Canton.