York librarian honoured for his article on Victorian Gothic literature

At the Conference on Christianity and Literature’s annual awards luncheon held in Philadelphia, PA , on Dec. 29, 2006, York’s humanities & religious studies librarian Scott McLaren was presented with the Lionel Basney Award for his recent article Saving the Monsters? Images of Redemption in the Gothic Tales of George MacDonald.

Right: Scott McLaren

The award is given annually for the most outstanding article to appear in a single volume of the conference’s peer-reviewed journal Christianity and Literature. Members of the publications committee observed that "McLaren presents a fascinating study of the ways in which George MacDonald’s theological beliefs, especially his belief in universal salvation, caused him to alter the moral economy of the Victorian Gothic genre. Through well-written close readings of MacDonald’s gothic stories, McLaren persuasively demonstrates that, unlike other gothic works, ‘MacDonald’s stories allow not only for the escape of the protagonist but also leave room for the repentance and ultimate salvation of the antagonist,’ just as in MacDonald’s theology, God leaves room for the repentance and redemption of all people, even after death. Placing MacDonald’s gothic tales in their historical and religious contexts, McLaren deftly elucidates the aesthetic implications of a given theological position."

The Conference on Christianity and Literature (CCL) is an interdisciplinary society dedicated to exploring the relationships between Christianity and literature. Organized formally in 1956, CCL is dedicated to both scholarly excellence and collegial exchange and includes hundreds of members from a variety of academic institutions and religious traditions from the US, Canada and more than a dozen other countries.

The conference publishes a journal, Christianity and Literature, which appears quarterly. Each issue includes scholarly articles, book reviews, news items, and poetry.

CCL is allied with the Modern Language Association (MLA) and sponsors sessions each year at the annual MLA Convention. In addition, CCL is divided into seven regional organizations that host regular sessions on a wide variety of authors and themes.

Each year the CCL awards a citation to the author of a work that has "contributed the most to the dialogue between literature and the Christian faith".