I’m an Associate Professor of English Literature at the University of Agder in Kristiansand, Norway. I teach courses on on poetry and poetics, modernism, and literature and religion. My articles on T. S. Eliot, David Jones and twentieth-century religious culture have appeared in ELH, Literature and Theology and Modernist Cultures. I have published (with Thomas Goldpaugh) a critical edition of a previously unpublished book-length poem by David Jones entitled The Grail Mass (Bloomsbury Academic, 2018; paperback: 2022). My monograph Modernism and Religion: Between Mysticism and Orthodoxy was published by Edinburgh University Press in August 2023.
Modernism, Literature and Religion, Twentieth-Century Religious Culture, Poetry and Poetics, Poetry in Performance, Literary Editing
I teach on the Bachelor's Programme in English, the Master’s Programme in English (Literature), and I contribute to the Faculty of Humanities and Education's PhD programme in literary studies. At BA level, I teach survey courses on British, American and Global Anglophone literature and offer a specialised module on modernism. At MA level, I teach a course on religion and literature.
Acted as midway seminar commentator.
Master’s Thesis in English (EN-500)
Supervised two thesis on Shakespeare and performance, and one on the modern elegy.
Literature, Religion, and the Secular (EN-472)
A Master’s course exploring the interactions between religion and literature, drawing on post-secular theory.
Bachelor Thesis in English (EN-212)
Supervised three individual projects to date on Edgar Allen Poe, Henry James and literary representations of madness, notions of childhood in Don DeLillo, and Mary Butts and unbelief.
Ran writing seminars and research skills training for all students writing bachelor’s thesis.
Literary Time Period or Movement (Modernism) (EN-220)
This course situated modernist literature in relation to major themes and developments within modernity: manifestos and print culture, the city, the mind, religion and spirituality, race and racism, time, gender and sexuality, war, and technology.
American and British Literature Part 2 (EN-167)
Lectured and taught seminars in this survey course on American, British and Global Anglophone literature after 1900.
British and American Literature and Culture Before 1900 (EN-166)
Lectured and taught seminars in this survey course on American and British literature before 1900.
Literary Editing and the Archival Turn
One strand of my research to-date has focused on literary editing. I co-edited an edition of a previously unpublished long poem by David Jones entitled The Grail Mass and Other Works (Bloomsbury Academic 2018; paperback 2022). Rosie Lavan, in the Review of English Studies, described this volume as ‘a deeply impressive textual achievement, and a brilliantly realized and instructive engagement with a rich and complex literary archive’. The volume was the subject of ‘Mapping the Artist’s Mind: The Grail Mass, Modernism and Inscription’ research seminar at the David Jones Research Center (2021). I have been invited to talk about this work at seminars hosted by the David Jones Research Centre and the David Jones Digital Archive Project. This strand of my work developed from a visiting studentship I held at the Editorial Institute, University of Boston (2014-2015).
Most recently, I have been working (with Matthew Feldman, Anna Svendsen and Erik Tonning) on an edited collection entitled The Bloomsbury Handbook of Modernist Archives (2024), which has been commissioned by Bloomsbury Academic (2024). One of the central sections of this volume explores the decisions made in recent editions of modernist texts with chapters on editions of Samuel Beckett, Katherine Mansfield, Dorothy Richardson, May Sinclair, Gertrude Stein and Evelyn Waugh. I have co-written a chapter (with Matte Robinson) concerning recent editions of H.D.’s prose works and reflecting on what a future edition of a poetry might learn from this editorial work.
Literature and Religious Culture
Another strand of my scholarship has focused on twentieth-century literature, poetry and the relationship between literature and religious culture. My monograph Modernism and Religion: Between Mysticism and Orthodoxy (2023) is published in Edinburgh University Press’s ‘Critical Studies in Modernist Culture’ series and concerns the ways in which forms of poetry intersect with ongoing processes of religious change in the first half of the twentieth century.
I have published on related themes in leading English literature journals including: ELH, Modernist Cultures and Literature and Theology. In addition, I have a chapter entitled ‘Sacred Ground: Orthodoxy, Poetry and Religious Change’ in The Edinburgh Companion to Modernism, Myth and Religion (Edinburgh UP, 2023) and another commissioned essay on ‘Virginia Woolf and Modernist Mysticism’ in The Edinburgh Handbook to Virginia Woolf, Modernism and Religion (Edinburgh UP, 2023). I have received invitations to talk about this aspect of my work at conferences and seminars including the ‘Inventing the Secular’ conference (Edinburgh 2022), ‘Modernism and Alternate Spirituality (Royal College of Art, London 2020) seminar, and at the well-established London Modernism Seminar series (2018). I have produced aspects of this work while holding research fellowships or associateships at the Jacques Maritain Center, University of Notre Dame (2018) and the Oxford Centre for Christianity and Culture, Regent’s Park College, University of Oxford (2015-16). I peer review articles on literature and religion for Modernism/modernity, ELH and Literature and Theology.
Poetry in Performance: Between Literary and Religious Studies
My next project, provisionally entitled Enchanting Poetry: Counterculture, Literature and Religion in the Long 1960s, builds on my previous work both in the archive (reflecting the ‘archival turn’ in humanities scholarship more widely) and on literature and religion. It explores the connections between the rise of the poetry reading as a performance event over the course of the long 1960s and a wide range of liturgical reforms effected by religious institutions over the same period — the changes to the Roman Catholic liturgy instituted by the Second Vatican Council being among the most prominent. The connection is that both the poetry reading and the liturgy involve the public performance of poetry and the project endeavours to tease out the similarities and differences between these contexts, drawing out surprising and to a degree counterintuitive connections between the counterculture and religious reform.
The project asks, ‘How did the counterculture shape the practice of poetic performance from the long 1960s onwards and, conversely, what role did religious practice have for a counterculture that sought to liberate itself from institutional religion?’ It seeks to answer this question through archival research both in a literary context, through work in the audio archive of poetry readings and author’s papers, and in a religious context, through work on documentation about changes to religious worship held produced by religious institutions and liturgists.
The project will also draw on the methodologies of lived religion. Lived religion is a theoretical perspective that approaches religious history through the accounts of not theologians and clerics, but rather everyday believers. Crucially, it attempts to describe religious practice in ways that laypeople themselves would recognize. Ethnography is an important methodology for the study of lived religion, but the approach also engages with evidence of lay religious practice preserved in the archive. Enchanting Poetry makes the case for twentieth-century literary archives as resources for the study of lived religion.
I have developed this project through a seminar I organised at the Modernist Studies Association Annual Conference (2019) entitled ‘Listening to the Modernist Audio Archive’ and I have also been invited to deliver the keynote lecture entitled ‘“Fools to the World”: Transatlantic Connections in the Twentieth-Century Arts and Crafts and Retreat Movements’ at the annual Catholic Record Society Conference (2023).
A perceptive, absorbing, irreplaceable study. In showing how modernist writing was shaped by an interplay between the claims of mysticism as individual experience and the benefits of ecclesiastical frameworks, Callison illuminates a rich seam of innovation and perplexity not just in Jones, Eliot and H.D. but in the broader life of early twentieth-century Christianity.
Douglas Mao, Johns Hopkins University
BOOKS: CRITICAL EDITIONS
The Grail Mass is an indispensable addition to the Jones corpus. It is also a deeply impressive textual achievement, and a brilliantly realized and instructive engagement with a rich and complex literary archive. […] The fullness of Jones’s vision on the page is honoured, and poetic practices which might seem esoteric are validated and released for the reader’s appreciation. Jones’s work needs shrewd and percipient editors, who are not just alert to the complexities of the material text but also prepared to confront and illuminate the challenges of meaning. In Goldpaugh and Callison, it has found them. Their curiosity and authority as editors shines through with the same force whether they are describing Jones’s use of pencil, ink or biro, or revisiting the ambiguous and provocative issue of his political attitudes.
Rosie Lavan, Assistant Professor, Trinity College, Dublin, Review of English Studies
Like much modernist art, this poem is actually a triumphant achievement of assembling fragments, in this case, by the editors. All those who appreciate the poetry of David Jones, and others who do not yet know his work, will be in debt to them for recreating a work of art with beauty of both content and form.
Professor Paul Fiddes, Regent’s Park College, University of Oxford, Literature and Theology
BOOKS: EDITED COLLECTIONS
SPECIAL EDITIONS OF JOURNALS EDITED
Last changed: 19.07.2023 14:07