A Tribute to Stephen Prickett
For more than forty years, Prof. Prickett has provided sustained leadership in the broad, scholarly conversation on the relationship between Christianity and literature. His earliest works showed the trajectory of his lifelong contribution. In Coleridge and Wordsworth: The Poetry of Growth (1970), for example, Prof. Prickett demonstrated the theological and psychological foundations of two great English Romantics through themes such as imagination, symbol, memory, and creativity. He expanded the subtle theological ideas of his first monograph in his noted achievement Romanticism and Religion: The Tradition of Coleridge and Wordsworth in the Victorian Church (1976). Here ideas of theological imagination, language, and the growth of the mind were traced through seminal religious figures of the nineteenth century, including Keble, Maurice, Newman, and Arnold. Later monographs and articles expanded the scope of his insights into not only Romantic literature particularly but even the discipline of literary interpretation generally—most notably in Words and the Word: Language, Poetics, and Biblical Interpretation (1986). In this work Prof. Prickett straddles the divide between theology and literature with the experienced eye of an interpreter capable of hearing the biblical and theological witness of Romantic literature and beyond: in Dante and Bakhtin no less than Frei and Ricoeur. Complementing his contributions in monographs and numerous articles, Prof. Prickett has encouraged the wider interdisciplinary conversation through leadership of noted organizations, service to numerous professional societies, and collaboration with the international, scholarly community. He is a fitting nominee for the Christianity & Literature Lifetime Achievement Award.
Jeffrey W. Barbeau, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Theology