About

I’m an Associate Professor of Literature in English 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 I have published (with Thomas Goldpaugh) a critical edition of a previously unpublished book-length poem by David Jones entitled The Grail Mass (Bloomsbury Academic, 2018; paperback: 2022).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. More information about my monograph, including accounts of key images and quotations discussed in the text alongside lesson plans incorporating material from the study, is available on my personal site: https://www.modernismandreligion.com/

Education

PhD English Literature, University of Bergen & University of Northampton (2016) (Cotutelle agreement)

PGCE Secondary English, Institute of Education, University College London (2012)

MA Theology, Heythrop College, University of London (2011)

MA (Cantab) English, Trinity College, University of Cambridge (2007)

Other Publications

BOOKS: MONOGRAPHS

Modernism and Religion: Between Orthodoxy and Mysticism, Edinburgh Critical Studies in Modernist Culture series (Edinburgh University Press, 2023). ISBN: 9781474457224. https://doi.org/10.1515/9781474457248 (Open Access).

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

Modernism and Religion argues that literary modernism participated in broader processes of religious change in the twentieth century. The new prominence accorded to immanence and immediacy in religious discourse at the turn of the twentieth century is carried over into one of the principle stylistic features of literary modernism, namely the epiphanies of James Joyce’s early work. Literary modernism became mystical. The emergence of Catholic theological modernism, human rights discourse, Christian sociology, and philosophical personalism, which are explored here in relation to the work of the modernist poets David Jones, T. S. Eliot, and H.D., represented – so this study argues – a strategic attempt on the part of diverse religious authorities to meet the challenge posed by new mysticism. Orthodoxy was itself made new in ways that resisted the secular demand that religion remain a private undertaking. Modernism and Religion presents the unusual forms evident across the work of the aforementioned writers as an alternative to epiphanic modernism. Their wavering orthodoxy brings matters from which the secular had previously separated religion back once more into its purview.

BOOKS: CRITICAL EDITIONS

The Grail Mass and Other Works by David Jones, edited with a critical apparatus by Thomas Goldpaugh & Jamie Callison (Bloomsbury Academic, 2018; paperback, 2022). ISBN: 9781350052062; paperback: 9781350277267.
‘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

(with Erik Tonning, Anna Svendsen and Matthew Feldman), The Bloomsbury Handbook of Modernist Archives (Bloomsbury Academic, 2024). [Forthcoming]

(with Erik Tonning, Anna Johnson and Paul Fiddes), David Jones: A Christian Modernist? (Leiden: Brill, 2017). ISBN: 9789004356993. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004356993

PEER-REVIEWED ARTICLES

‘Dissociating Psychology: Religion, Poetic Inspiration and T.S. Eliot’s Subliminal Mind’, ELH 84, no. 4 (Winter 2017): 1029-1059. https://doi.org/10.1353/elh.2017.0039 

‘David Jones’s ‘Barbaric-fetish:’ Frazer and the ‘Aesthetic Value’ of the Liturgy’, Modernist Cultures 12, no. 3 (Nov 2017): 438-61. https://doi.org/10.3366/mod.2017.0186 

‘Jesuits and Modernism? Catholic Anti-Modernism and Versions of Late Modernism’, Literature and Theology 31, no. 1 (March 2017): 1-18. https://doi.org/10.1093/litthe/frw005 

‘An Unnoticed Liturgical Parallel in T.S. Eliot’s “A Song for Simeon”’, Notes and Queries 61, no. 4 (Dec 2014): 592-594. https://doi.org/10.1093/notesj/gju132 

LITERATURE REVIEW

‘A Poet of Distraction: David Jones’, Essays in Criticism 68, no. 3 (July 2018): 397–406. https://doi.org/10.1093/escrit/cgy008. 

BOOK CHAPTER

‘Virginia Woolf and Modernist Mysticism’, in The Edinburgh Companion to Virginia Woolf, Modernism and Religion, edited by Jane de Gay and Gabrielle McIntire (Edinburgh UP, 2025) [Forthcoming]

‘Catholic Modernisms’, in T&T Clark Handbook of Modern Theology, ed. by Philip G. Ziegler and R. David Nelson (Bloomsbury Academic, 2024). ISBN: 9780567687166. [Forthcoming]

(with Erik Tonning, Anna Svendsen and Matthew Feldman), introduction to The Bloomsbury Handbook of Modernist Archives, ed. by Jamie Callison, Matthew Feldman, Anna Svendsen and Erik Tonning (Bloomsbury Academic, 2024), pp. 1-16. [In Press]

(with Matte Robinson) ‘Additions and Editions: H.D. and the Archive’, in The Bloomsbury Handbook of Modernist Archives, ed. by Jamie Callison, Matthew Feldman, Anna Svendsen and Erik Tonning (Bloomsbury Academic, 2024), pp. 207-19. [In Press]

(with Matte Robinson) ‘Additions and Editions: H.D. and the Archive’, in The Bloomsbury Handbook of Modernist Archives, ed. by Jamie Callison, Matthew Feldman, Anna Svendsen and Erik Tonning (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2024). [In Press]

‘Catholic Modernisms’, in T&T Clark Handbook of Modern Theology, ed. by Philip G. Ziegler and R. David Nelson (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2024). ISBN: 9780567687166. [Forthcoming]

‘Silent Protest: Mysticism, the Retreat Movement and the Religion Poem’, in The Edinburgh Companion to Modernism, Myth and Religion, ed. by Suzanne Hobson and Andrew Radford (Edinburgh UP, 2022), pp. 373-88. ISBN: 9781474494786. https://doi.org/10.1515/9781474494793-026

‘Redefining Marriage in Interwar Britain: Internal Transformation and Personal Sacrifice in the Poetry of H.D.’, in Marriage Discourses: Historical and Literary Perspectives on Gender Inequality and Patriarchic Exploitation, ed. by Jowan Abbas Mohammed and Frank Jacob (De Gruyter, 2021), pp. 187-206. ISBN: 9783110751338. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110751451 

‘Transmuting F.H. Bradley: Notes towards a Theory of Poetry’, T. S. Eliot Studies Annual 1 (Liverpool UP, 2017): pp. 99-113. ISBN: 9781942954286. https://doi.org/10.3828/tsesa.2017.vol1.11

‘Directing Modernist Spirituality: Evelyn Underhill, the Subliminal Conscious, and Spiritual Direction’ in Modernist Women Writers and Spirituality: A Piercing Darkness, ed. by Elizabeth Anderson, Andrew Radford, Heather Walton (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), pp. 39-54. ISBN: 9781137530363. https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-53036-3_3 

‘Celestial Music Unheard: T.S. Eliot, ‘Marina’ and the Via Negativa’ in Breaking the Silence: Poetry and the Kenotic Word, ed. by Małgorzata Grzegorzewska, Jean Ward, Mark Burrows (Peter Lang, 2015), pp. 117-135. ISBN: 9783631655146. https://doi.org/10.3726/978-3-653-04905-3 

‘‘Nie dla mnie ostateczna wizja:’ wiersze Ariela T. S. Eliota a doświadczenie religijne’ [trans. Maria Fengler] (Original title: ‘‘Not for me the ultimate vision:’ T. S. Eliot’s Ariel Poems and Religious Experience’) in Między słowem i rzeczywistością. Poezja Eliota wobec cielesności i W/wcielenia, ed. by Jean Ward (U of Gdánsk P, 2014), 91-112. ISBN: 9788378653011. https://pbc.gda.pl/publication/82341

SPECIAL EDITIONS OF JOURNALS EDITED

Renascence: Essays on Values in Literature 69, no. 3 (August 2017) (Special Issue: ‘Unorthodox Orthodoxies: Approaching Catholic Literature, 1907-1970’). https://doi.org/10.5840/renascence201769311 

EXHIBITIONS

Ice and Fire: ‘Frankenstein’ and the Arctic, Nord University Library, Online Exhibition, 22 October-23 November 2018 [co-curator].

Frankenversions: 200 Years of Adapting Frankenstein, Nord University Library, Exhibition, 22 October-2 November 2018 [co-curator].

Art in Battle, KODE: Art Museums and Composer Homes, Bergen, 4 September 2014-17 February 2015 [contributor].

BOOK REVIEWS

‘[Review of] Unbelief in Interwar Literary Culture: Doubting Moderns. By Suzanne Hobson’, Literature & History, 32 (2023), 1-3. https://doi.org/10.1177/03061973231186644

‘[Review of] Virginia Woolf and Christian Culture. By Jane de Gay’, Literature and Theology, 33 (2019), 498–500. https://doi.org/10.1093/litthe/frz010 

‘[Review of] The Astral H.D.: Occult and Religious Sources and Contexts for H.D.’s Poetry and Prose. By Matte Robinson’, Modernist/modernity 24 (2017): 889-891. https://doi.org/10.1353/mod.2017.0073 

‘[Review of] Young Eliot: From St. Louis to ‘The Waste Land’. By Robert Crawford’, Christianity and Literature 65 (2016): 257-259. https://doi.org/10.1177/0148333115614505

JOURNALISM

‘The Heart of Time:’ A New Translation by David Jones’ [Poem and Commentary], PN Review 226 (November-December 2015): 13-16.

Blog Posts

    Projects

    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).

    Upcoming Talks and Conferences

    The Catholic Record Society 65th Annual Conference, 24-26 July 2023

    Keynote Lecture: ‘“Fools to the World”: Transatlantic Connections in the Twentieth-Century Arts and Crafts and Retreats Movements’

    Uses of Modernism, Ghent University 20-22 September 2023

    Modernism and Society (1) panel paper:  ‘Rediscovering the Moravians: Between Credulity and Credibility in the Poetry and Lived Religion of H.D.’

    Modernism(s) Research Group, University of Agder, 28 September 2023, 2-3.30 pm

    Seminar Paper: ‘After Epiphany: Modernism and Public Religion’

    Jamie Callison

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