Reading the Catholic Imagination

Reading the Catholic Imagination is an online summer reading and discussion series for readers and writers to explore together the Catholic literary imagination in its myriad forms: in new work by self-professed Catholic writers; in the crossings and convergences of old and new work, religious and secular; and in our own habits of reading. This series is hosted by the Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage of Loyola University Chicago and is led by three excellent emerging scholars of the Catholic literary tradition. 

Registration closed on Friday, June 30th. Thank you to everyone who attended!

Topics include:

  • Reading Like a (Catholic) Writer with William Gonch: How can writers explore God’s grace in our time? What challenges face us when we tell new stories of sin, grace, faith, and redemption? In this seminar aimed at aspiring writers but open to all, we will read and discuss Christopher Beha's novel The Index of Self-Destructive Acts alongside short fiction by Katy Carl, Kirsten Valdez Quade and other members of a new generation of writers grappling with art and faith.
    • Mondays 6:00-7:30PM Central Time, July 10 - August 14, 2023 (6 weeks)

  • Crossing Boundaries in the Catholic Imagination with Jessica Schnepp: What might a mid-twentieth century mystic and self-proclaimed neurotic have to say to a twenty-first century self-professed “bad feminist” wounded by loss, grief, guilt, and ineffable longing?  In this exploratory seminar, we’ll cross boundaries of time, genre, and perspectives on religious faith, putting Guilt by Caryll Houselander in dialogue with Fleabag (Seasons 1 & 2) by Phoebe Waller-Bridge to feel out the contours of the Catholic imagination from within and without. 
    • Thursdays 6:00-7:30PM Central Time, July 6 - August 10, 2023 (6 weeks)

  •  Reading With a Catholic Imagination with Lyle Enright: It’s tempting to locate this thing we call the “Catholic imagination” outside of us, as though it’s something we encounter. But what of this organ inside us, that does the reading? Through an examination of the fantasy novel, Skullsworn, by Brian Staveley, and the writings of Hans Urs von Balthasar and Rainer Maria Rilke, we will explore what makes a reading "Christian," as well as the motives behind von Balthasar’s “theological aesthetics” which have shaped the Catholic imagination over the last half century.
    • Wednesdays 6:00-7:30PM Central Time, July 5 - August 9, 2023 (6 weeks)