Samuel Taylor Coleridge's conception of the willing suspension of disbelief marks a pivotal moment in the history of literary theory. Returning to Coleridge's thought and Shakespeare criticism to reconstruct this idea as a form of poetic faith , Michael Tomko here lays the foundations of a new theologically oriented mode of literary criticism. Bringing Coleridge into dialogue with thinkers ranging from Augustine to Josef Pieper, contemporary critics such as Stephen Greenblatt and Terry Eagleton as well as writers like J.R.R. Tolkien and Wendell Berry, Beyond the Willing Suspension of Disbelief offers a method of reading for post-secular literary criticism that is t only historically and politically aware but also deeply engaged with aesthetic form.
Michael Tomko is Associate Professor in the Department of Humanities at Villanova University, USA and book review editor for Religion & Literature. He is the author of British Romanticism and the Catholic Question: Religion, History and National Identity, 1778-1829 (2011) and co-editor of Firmly I Believe and Truly: The Spiritual Tradition of Catholic England, 1483-1999 (2011).