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English Literature professor on distinguished panel at international conference

Posted on 21 January 2020

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​​A leading Virginia Woolf academic and Professor at Leeds Trinity University has had her expertise recognised by an invitation to take part in a distinguished panel at an international conference on religion. 

Reverend Professor Jane de Gay, Professor in English Literature, travelled to San Diego to participate in the American Academy of Religion (AAR) Conference, which welcomes scholars from all over the world interested in the study of religion.

Taking place annually, the AAR Conference is the world's largest gathering of its kind, and Reverend Professor de Gay was invited to take part in an expert panel of world leaders in literary modernism and religious practice. The panel discussed American theologian and Harvard academic Professor Stephanie Paulsell's newly published book, Religion Around Virginia Woolf (Penn State University Press)​. Professor Pericles Lewis from Yale University was also on the panel.  

Reverend Professor de Gay said: "It was a great honour to be invited to speak at the AAR Conference along with two Ivy League scholars I admire greatly. Research on modernism and religion is coming to the fore, and it is exciting to be part of this wave of research. 

“Professors Paulsell, Lewis and I have all contributed to this trend. Professor Lewis paved the way by refocusing attention on the spiritual in modernist literature, then my research revealed that Woolf's debates with Christianity form a more powerful undercurrent in her work than had been acknowledged because of her detailed knowledge and understanding of the faith.  

"Professor Stephanie Paulsell's new book, which was launched at the AAR Conference, takes the debate that step further by inviting readers to consider the nature of Virginia Woolf's beliefs. It was also a delight to meet Professor Paulsell for the first time, and I hope this will be the first of many collaborations." 

Professor Paulsell said: "I was thrilled when Professor Jane de Gay agreed to travel to San Diego for the panel on Religion Around Virginia Woolf and deeply grateful for the eloquent paper she delivered. I have learned so much from her work over the years, and I hope we will have many more opportunities to collaborate in the future. She is a crucial conversation partner for me." ​​

Professor Jane de Gay's book, Virginia Woolf and Christian Culture, was published by Edinburgh University Press in 2018, with the paperback version published in November 2019. Virginia Woolf and Christian Culture can be purchased on the Edinburgh University Press website. ​