Emanuelle Burton

(Religion and Literature) “Fantasy and Responsibility: the formation of the ethical actor in the Chronicles of Narnia”
2011

I am thrilled to be able to participate in the Marty seminar next year, where I look forward to learning from my colleagues: not only about how to hone my own work, but also about the questions and problems that face them as they stake their claims across the different parts of the field. Because I share the Marty Center's conviction that a scholar has debts to the wider community and not only to the academy, I am especially looking forward to the opportunity to share my work with the wider community.

My main goal for this next year is to learn how to better articulate my animating interest in fiction as a source of belief, both to colleagues and to a wider public - and, in so doing, to come closer to naming that aspect of literary study which has always seemed to be to be closely allied to the study of religion. I will use this year to complere my dissertation which, in offering an ethically-focused close reading of the Chronicles of Narnia, aims at offering an account of how readers "learn" ethical and metaphysical truths from consciously-constructed works of human artistry that, on at least one level, do not directly claim to be true. It is my hope that conversation with my Marty colleagues will help me to frame and to translate that interest in ways that are interesting and useful to others from all over the field of religion.