Loyola University Chicago

Department of English

Jasper Cragwall

Associate Professor, Undergraduate Programs Director

  • Office Location: Crown Center 449
  • Phone Number: 773.508.2259
  • E-mail:jcragwall@luc.edu

About

My scholarship focuses on British Romanticism, which is to say, things from the last few decades of the eighteenth century and the first few decades of the nineteenth. I’m especially interested in the ways religious beliefs and behaviors condition literary culture, the ways in which “identity” — and even “meaning” — were religious formations for the Romantic era. My first book, Lake Methodism: Polite Literature and Popular Religion in England, 1780-1830 (The Ohio State University Press, 2013), returns some of Romanticism’s most cherished tropes, such as prophecy, inspiration, and visionary election, to their surprising — and surprisingly déclassé — historical community of Methodist insurgents and religious enthusiasts. My next project, Natural Religion: Romanticism and the Markings of Belief, tries to rethink our most conventional sense of Romantic difference: Romanticism as nature worship. Literary interest in the significances of the natural world, the book suggests, was part of the much larger grounding of Protestantism itself in creation and its “natural religion.” But just as English theology domiciled spiritual forms in ever more material grounds, conceptualizing “religion” as “natural,” inevitable and unproblematic, English literature turned increasingly to cases of “naturals” — children, animals, historically and ethnically “remote” peoples — who seemed discomfitingly immune to sacred instincts. This tension, Natural Religion argues, is the crux of the history of secularization and the sortings of modernity: through literary figuration, “religion” emerges as both the ultimate unmarked category, intractably conflated with human identity, and a profoundly alien reservoir uncanny impossibilities.


Degrees

  • BA, Carleton College (2000)
  • MA & PhD, Princeton University (2007)

Research Interests

  • British Romanticism
  • Poetic Form
  • Religious History
  • Secularization

Selected Publications

Book: 

  • Lake Methodism: Polite Literature and Popular Religion in England, 1780-1830. The Ohio State University Press, 2013.

Articles:

  • "Religious Prose," in The Encyclopedia of Romantic Literature. Edited by Frederick Burwick. Blackwell, 2011.
  • "Wordsworth and the Ragged Legion; Or, the Lows of High Argument." Romantic Autobiography in England. Edited by Eugene Stelzig. Ashgate, 2008.
  • "The Shelleys' Enthusiasm." Huntington Library Quarterly, vol. 68, 2005, pp. 631-53.