Nathan A. Scott Jr. papers
- Scott, Nathan A. (Person)
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Dr. Scott studied "the works of literary figures, both secular and religious, from such pagan greats as Camus and Sartre, Stevens and Frost, to such Christian writers as Eliot and Auden, Graham Greene and Fyodor Dostoevsky."
Some reviewers and commentators of his work, expressed surprise when they learned that Scott was an African American. When asked about this racial characterization, he responded, "... Virtually no phase of American cultural enterprise is uninvaded by the racial animus that still ruinously indwells our national life, and I have not escaped its lash." Dr. Scott also fielded comments from his "Black confreres" pointing out that he studied "dead white European males" instead of following the old way of "scurrying off to the South and serving his people" with theology. While Scott has written at length on Black writers, most especially in the long chapter on "Black Literature" (The Harvard Guide to Contemporary American Writing) (1979) edited by Daniel Hoffman, he did not specialize in what is spoken of as "the Black Experience." Scott labored relentlessly to establish an innovative and structured program in the interdisciplinary study of both religion and literature. Himself a specialist in the fields of modern theology, modern literature, and literary theory, he pioneered in the study of literary figures, history, and theory in relation to the Christian tradition of the West. His work can be seen as a model "in which literary texts may be appropriately incorporated into theological discourse."For two decades at Chicago, hundreds of students from various departments had attended his classes, and by the time of his departure for Virginia, more than forty students had taken their doctorates under his tutelage.
Scott's innovation in literary criticism was to reject the New Critics' idea that poems should be studied as autonomous objects and to remind scholars that authors' personal beliefs are crucial for understanding their texts.In this way, he also returned criticism to a study of the way literature represents the outside world.
Scott earned his B.A. at the University of Michigan in 1944, his B.D. at Union Theological Seminary in 1946, and his Ph.D at Columbia University in 1949, having studied under Lionel Trilling, Reinhold Niebuhr, and Jacques Barzun. He served as dean of the chapel at Virginia Union University and was an ordained priest in the Episcopal Church. He taught at Howard University in Washington, D.C.; University of Chicago from 1955 to 1976, and the University of Virginia from 1976-1990 where he was the William R. Kenan Professor of Religious Studies, was chair of the Department, and retired Professor Emeritus. He also served as a President of the American Academy of Religion and held honorary doctorates from Brown University, Philadelphia Divinity School, NorthWestern University, University of Michigan, Ripon College, Wesleyan College, and the University of the South.
Sources: Nathan A. Scott. Wikipedia. Retrieved 12/01/22 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nathan_A._Scott_Jr.
Talk by Nathan A. Scott, Jr. "A Ramble on a Road Taken,"followed by an Interview with him. /Christianity and Literature Vol. 43, No. 2 (Winter 1994), 203-12. https://www.christianityandliterature.com/Nathan-Scott
Burham, William D. "Nathan Scott’s Literary Criticism and Fundamental Theology" Peter Lang Inc., International Academic Publishers; New edition (October 11, 2006) https://www.amazon.com/Literary-Criticism-Fundamental-Theology-University/dp/0820463833
Nathan A. Scott Obituary. The Daily Progress. 2006 https://www.legacy.com/us/obituaries/dailyprogress/name/nathan-scott-obituary?id=29305806
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- Scott, Nathan A. (Person)
- Nathan A. Scott, Jr. papers
- Ellen Welch
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Part of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library Repository
Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library
P.O. Box 400110
University of Virginia
Charlottesville Virginia 22904-4110 United States