1st Edition

The Routledge Companion to Humanism and Literature

Edited By Michael Bryson Copyright 2022
    310 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Routledge Companion to Humanism and Literature provides readers with a comprehensive reassessment of the value of humanism in an intellectual landscape. Offering contributions by leading international scholars, this volume seeks to define literature as a core expressive form and an essential constitutive element of newly reformulated understandings of humanism.

    While the value of humanism has recently been dominated by anti-humanist and post-humanist perspectives which focused on the flaws and exclusions of previous definitions of humanism, this volume examines the human problems, dilemmas, fears, and aspirations expressed in literature, as a fundamentally humanist art form and activity. Divided into three overarching categories, this companion will explore the histories, developments, debates, and contestations of humanism in literature, and deliver fresh definitions of "the new humanism" for the humanities. This focus aims to transcend the boundaries of a world in which human life is all too often defined in terms of restrictions—political, economic, theological, intellectual—and lived in terms of obedience, conformity, isolation, and fear.

    The Routledge Companion to Humanism and Literature will provide invaluable support to humanities students and scholars alike seeking to navigate the relevance and resilience of humanism across world cultures and literatures.



    The Old Argument: Humanism and Anti-Humanism (Michael Bryson)

    Part I: Theoretical Perspectives on Humanism

    Chapter One

    "We are ourselves the entities to be analyzed": Heidegger on Being Human (Robin M. Muller)

    Chapter Two

    Frantz Fanon: Postcoloniality and New Humanism (Deepa Jani)

    Chapter Three

    Edward Said and Humanism (Masoud Farahmandfar)

    Chapter Four

    "A Different Kind of Humanism": Edward Said’s Césairian Critical Humanism (Sauleha Kamal)

    Chapter Five

    Sloterdijk’s Love Letter on Humanism (Daniel Adleman)

    Chapter Six

    The Animal Turn as a Challenge to Humanism (Krzysztof Skonieczny)

    Part II: Literary Perspectives on Humanism, East and West

    Chapter Seven

    Mapping Indic Humanism(s) in Vedic Medical and Post-Vedic Tantric Epistemologies (Abhisek Ghosal)

    Chapter Eight

    Reformative Aspect of Bhasha Literatures and Aging in India: Old Age, Body and Locale in Hindi Short Stories (Saurav Kumar)

    Chapter Nine

    Humanistic Approaches in Hindi Literature: From Medieval to Modern Times (Prachi Priyanka)

    Chapter Ten

    Headhunting and Native Agency in Lundayeh Oral Literature: A Humanist Perspective (Kavitha Ganesan and Shaffarullah Abdullah Rahman)

    Chapter Eleven

    Woman is the Measure of All Things: Authoritarianism and Anti-Humanism in the Criticism of Anglo-Saxon Poetry (Michael Bryson)

    Chapter Twelve

    Humanism and Universal Values in European Medieval Literature: Freidank’s Bescheidenheit and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (Albrecht Classen)

    Chapter Thirteen

    The Circulation of Atheism in Early Modern England: Marlowe, Greene, and Shakespeare (Peter C Herman)

    Chapter Fourteen

    Surrogacy and Empire in The Man-Plant and Eighteenth-Century Vernacular Medical Texts (Danielle Spratt)

    Part III: Digital Humanisms

    Chapter Fifteen

    Digital Humanities and the Humanistic Tradition: Situating Digital Humanism (Mauro Carassai)

    Chapter Sixteen

    Beyond the Algorithms: On Performance and Subjectivity in Detroit: Become Human (Nizar Zouidi)


    Michael Bryson is Professor of English at California State University, Northridge. Among his books are two on the English poet John Milton, The Tyranny of Heaven: Milton’s Rejection of God as King (2004), and The Atheist Milton (2016), as well as two books on world literature from the ancient to the modern, Love and its Critics (2017), and The Humanist (Re)Turn: Reclaiming the Self in Literature (2019). He is the editor of the Literature in the Humanities section of the open access journal Humanities, and has published widely on American, English, and World literatures.