Evangelical Poster

Fictions Evangelicals Read: Perspectives on the Evangelical Literary Archive

To appreciate the history of evangelicalism in the United States, one must engage with its literary pasts. For a better understanding of U.S. literary history, one must engage with the literary-historical pasts of evangelicals who wrote many best-selling novels in the nineteenth century.

This exhibit introduces popular novels, religious periodicals, and denominational publications whose literary productions shaped both nineteenth century evangelicals and their literary and spiritual heirs.

Drawing on Drew’s rich holdings in nineteenth-century evangelicalism, the exhibit spotlights novels by Rev. E.P. Roe, a Presbyterian pastor who left the pulpit to sell his bestselling novels, and highlights religious periodicals such as The Advance, which published fictions by such authors as Elizabeth Prentiss and Charles Sheldon. The exhibit also examines the ways various subgroups within evangelicalism crafted their own literary identities, for example, in the publications of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and highlights the complex relationship between evangelical children and evangelical fiction in such texts as the Children’s Tract Series of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Curated by James Van Wyck and Dr. Christopher J. Anderson