Mahoney Is Editor Of New Book Series

By Mark Sullivan
Staff Writer

Rattigan Professor of English John Mahoney has been named editor of a new book series from Fordham University Press that will explore religious expression in literature and the arts.

Joining Mahoney on the editorial board of the "Series in Religion and Literature" are Prof. E. Dennis Taylor (English), editor of the Religion and the Arts journal, and Harvard University W.E.B. DuBois Professor of the Humanities Henry Louis Gates Jr., among others. The series will present analyses of "the intersection of religion and literature" in fiction, poetry, art and film, said Mahoney, who expects at least two volumes a year to be issued under the imprint.

The inaugural book in the series is the Mahoney-edited Seeing Into the Life of Things , a collection of essays inspired by a Boston College Jesuit Institute seminar on the religious experience in the arts. Contributors include Vice President for Mission and Ministry Joseph A. Appleyard, SJ, College of Arts and Sciences Dean J. Robert Barth, SJ, Prof. Judith Wilt (English) and part-time faculty member John Anderson (English), as well as Mahoney and Taylor.

The second volume in the series, scheduled for release later this year, is Circuitous Journeys: Modern Spiritual Autobiographies , by David Leigh, SJ, core director for the Seattle University English Department and a former visiting scholar at the Jesuit Institute. Mahoney describes the book as a "brilliant" work containing essays on Christian and non-Christian spiritual leaders, from Thomas Merton and Dorothy Day to Mahatma Gandhi and the Native American Black Elk.

Rattigan Professor of English John Mahoney.

"The whole idea of focusing on spiritual - and not just Christian - autobiographies recognizes that there's a danger of interpreting the word 'religion' too narrowly, as Christian, or Hindu, or Buddhist," Mahoney said. A more broadly defined spirituality, he said, involves "recognizing the existence of the transcendent, of the supernatural - of a power beyond the ordinary."

Two additional books are currently under consideration by the series' editorial board, which includes English professors Felicia Bonaparte of the City University of New York, James Engell of Harvard, Joseph Feeney, SJ, of St. Joseph's University, Jeanne Moskal of the University of North Carolina, and Charles Rzepka of Boston University.

"I assembled the best editorial board I could find," said Mahoney. "With advisors like that, how could I go wrong?"

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