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Kate Garland

Theology, Divinity and Religion, University of Nottingham

Thesis title:

The Careful Infidel: Calvinist Anthropology in the Works of Robert Louis Stevenson

My thesis seeks to provide a comprehensive account and analysis of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Calvinist imagination. By considering his extensive corpus as a whole – his life writings, fiction, essays and letters – I shall undertake a reading which focuses on the theological dimensions and functions within his works with a particular focus on genre. In utilising a religious lens to open up aspects hitherto obscured, my thesis will suggest that Stevenson’s engagement with the Calvinist and Scottish Presbyterian tradition constitutes the unifying factor to his writings.

My interdisciplinary approach will consider Stevenson through a theological, literary, and historical, paradigm, accounting for Stevenson’s thought not only in the nineteenth-century he was writing within, but the proceeding centuries he so often wrote about and explored. This research will address the historical and religious context of Scotland during this period, whilst considering Stevenson’s Calvinist anthropology within a wider tradition of Scottish writers, from Walter Scott to James Robertson, and reflecting upon Stevenson’s development of, and contribution to, the literary canon and in particular his contemporary legacy.

Research Area

  • Theology, Divinity and Religion

Public Engagement & Impact

September 2018 - March 2019: Employability placement with Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature assisting with the development of a Literary Tourism toolbox and workshop focused upon regional writers.

Other Research Interests

  • Scottish Literature
  • Regional Writers
  • Religion and Culture
  • Religion and Fantasy
  • Gothic Fiction