Afterword: Writing Religion and the Genealogy of the Literary Aesthetic

03 Jul 2018

This afterword takes as its starting point the suggestion that the category of the ‘literary’ might be implicated within an historical process of secularisation. This possibility is resisted, at least in respect of its applicability to the influential circle of eighteenth-century clerical literati associated with Bishop William Warburton, who ranged themselves against the growing influence of the third Earl of Shaftesbury and his followers, for reasons that could be construed as at once matters of orthodoxy and questions of taste. In doing so, they helped to form ‘pre-Romantic’ cultural prejudices while simultaneously defending the interests of the eighteenth-century Church.