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Kevin Seidel

DEPARTMENT: Language & Literature Dept

POSITION: Associate Professor

LOCATION: Main Campus, Harrisonburg | RLN 218

PHONE: (540) 432-4570

EMAIL: kevin.seidel@emu.edu

Originally from California, Kevin Seidel came to EMU from the University of Virginia, where he received his Ph.D. in English Literature and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture. He is working on a book project that uses original research on the eighteenth-century English Bible to open up new ways of thinking about the history of the English novel. He is also actively involved in Scriptural Reasoning. His teaching and scholarship explore the changing relationship between religion, secularism, and literature.


BA, University of California, Berkeley
MA, Regent College
PHD, University of Virginia



“A Secular for Literary Studies,” Christianity and Literature, 67.3 (2018) 472–492.

Robinson Crusoe as Defoe’s Theory of Fiction,” Novel: A Forum on Fiction, 44.2 (2011) 165-185.

Pilgrim’s Progress and the Book,” English Literary History, 77.2 (2010) 509–534.

“Beyond the Religious and the Secular in the History of the Novel,” New Literary History 38.4 (2007).

Other scholarly publications

“Anglicanism” in The Encyclopedia of British Literature 1660–1789, Basil–Blackwell, 2015.

“Inhuman Sounds: on Israeli Composer Oded Zahavi’s ‘Psalm 42,’” The Journal of Scriptural Reasoning 12.1 (2013).

Book Reviews

Review: “Literature, Religion, and the Evolution of Culture, 1660–1780, by Howard D. Weinbrot,” in 1650–1850: Ideas, Aesthetics, and Inquiries in the Early Modern Era, 22 (2015)

Review: “New Testaments: Cognition, Closure, and the Figural Logic of the Sequel, 1660–1740, by Michael Austin,” in Restoration: Studies in English Literary Culture, 1660-1700, 37.2 (2013)

Review: Roger Lundin:Beyond Belief, The Cresset, Michaelmas (2010).

Review: Plausible Worlds: Human Genetics in Fiction, Culture 1.2 (2007).

Review: “Talal Asad: Genealogies of Religion and Formations of the Secular,” Iowa Journal of Cultural Studies 7 (2005).

Scholarly Presentations and Abstracts

“This is Secular,” paper presented at the Modern Language Association conference, New York, NY, January, 2018.

“Illustrating toleration: the 1719 frontispiece of Robinson Crusoe and Defoe’s fictional method,” paper presented at the Defoe Society conference, New Haven, CT, September, 2017.

“Reading Wadman’s Bible, or Making Failed Love Sacred in Tristram Shandy,” paper presented at the Northeast Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Amherst, MA, October, 2016.

“Scriptural Reasoning’s Trouble with Context,” paper presented at the Mid-Atlantic Region American Academy of Religion conference, New Brunswick, N.J., March 10, 2016.

“Scriptural Reasoning, Internal Libraries, and Reader-Response Theory,” paper presented at the mid-Atlantic American Academy of Religion Conference, Columbia, Maryland, March, 2015.

“Scriptural Reasoning and Close Reading,” paper presented for the Scriptural Reasoning Academic Network gathering at The American Academy of Religion Conference, San Diego, California, November, 2014.

“Two Visions of the Secular: Orhan Pamuk’s Snow and Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead,” paper presented at The Religious Turn in Literary Studies, the Conference on Christianity and Literature, Westmont College, Santa Barbara, California, May 2014.

“Why It’s Hard to Read Scripture after the King James Bible,” opening lecture for the library exhibit Manifold Greatness: The Creation and Afterlife of the KJB, Eastern Mennonite University, January 2013.