Women Writers and Religion

This section is still in development, edited by Cynthia Wallace, St. Thomas More College, University of Saskatchewan

Select Bibliography

American Literature; British Literature–Early Modern, Victorian; Contemporary Literature; Female Spirituality; Global Literature; Medieval Literature; Theory; Women and Theology; Women Novelists on Religion and Literature.

American Literature

Amende, Kathaleen E. Desire and the Divine: Feminine Identity in White Southern Women’s Writing. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Press, 2013.

Bassard, Katherine Clay. Spiritual Interrogations: Culture, Gender, and Community in EarlyAfrican American Women’s Writing. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999. 

—. Transforming Scriptures: African American Women Writers and the Bible. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2010.

Christian, B. Marie. Belief in Dialogue: U.S. Latina Writers Confront Their Religious Heritage. New York: Other Press, 2005.

Connor, Kimberly Rae. Conversions and Visions in the Writings of African-American Women. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1995.

Douglas, Ann. The Feminization of American Culture. New York: Knopf, 1977.

Brown, Amy Benson. Rewriting the Word: American Women Writers and the Bible. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1999.

Bush, Laura. Faithful Transgressions in the American West: Six Twentieth-Century Mormon Women’s Autobiographical Acts. Logan: Utah State University Press, 2004.

Carter, Tomeiko Ashford. Powers Divine: Spiritual Autobiography and Black Women’s Writing. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2009.

Giffen, Allison and Robin L. Cadwallader, eds. Saving the World: Girlhood and Evangelicalism in Nineteenth-Century Literature. New York: Routledge, 2018.

Haynes, Rosetta. Radical Spiritual Motherhood: Autobiography and Empowerment in Nineteenth-Century African American Women. Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 2011.

Ibsen, Kristine. Women’s Spiritual Autobiography in Colonial Spanish America. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1999.

Powers, Peter Kerry. Recalling Religions: Resistance, Memory, and Cultural Revision in Ethnic Women’s Literature. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2001.

Moody, Jocelyn K. Sentimental Confessions: Spiritual Narratives of Nineteenth-Century African American Women. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2001.

“My Soul Is A Witness”: Reimagining African American Women’s Spirituality and the Black Female Body in African American Literature. MDPI – Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021.

Reed, Ashley. Heaven’s Interpreters: Women Writers and Religious Agency in Nineteenth-Century America. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2020.

Romero, Channette. Activism and the American Novel: Religion and Resistance in Fiction by Women of Color. Charlotte, Va: University of Virginia Press, 2012.

Schuldeiner, Michael Joseph and Eberwein, Jane Donahue, eds. Literary Calvinism and Nineteenth-Century American Women Authors. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen, 1997.

Stokes, Claudia. The Altar at Home: Sentimental Literature and Nineteenth-Century American Literature. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014.

Walker, Cheryl. God and Elizabeth Bishop: Meditations on Religion and Poetry. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

Weisenfeld, Judith. This Far by Faith: Readings in African-American Women’s Religious Biography. New York: Routledge, 1996.

British: Early Modern Literature

Adcock, Rachel. Baptist Women’s Writings in Revolutionary Culture, 1640-1680. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2015.

Coles, Kimberly Anne. Religion, Reform, and Women’s Writing in Early Modern England. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

Ezell, Margaret. Writing Women’s Literary History. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993.

Font, Carme. Women’s Prophetic Writings in Seventeenth-Century Britain. New York: Routledge, 2017.

Goodrich, Jaime. Faithful Translators: Authorship, Gender, and Religion in Early Modern England. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2014.

King, Margaret L. Teaching Other Voices: Women and Religion in Early Modern Europe. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007.

Lay, Jenna. Beyond the Cloister: Catholic Englishwomen and Early Modern Literary Culture. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016.

Mullen, David George. Women’s Life Writing in Early Modern Scotland: Writing the Evangelical Self, c. 1670-c. 1730. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2003.

Warren, Nancy Bradley. The Embodied Word: Female Spiritualities, Contested Orthodoxies, and English Religious Cultures, 1350-1700. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2010.

White, Micheline. English Women, Religion, and Textual Production, 1500-1625. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2011.

British: Victorian Literature

Fisher, Dalene Joy. Resisting the Marriage Plot: Faith and Female Agency in Austen, Brontë, Gaskell, and Wollstonecraft. Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2021.

Houston, Gail Turley. Victorian Women Writers, Radical Grandmothers, and the Gendering of God. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2013.

Jenkins, Ruth. Reclaiming Myths of Power: Women Writers and the Victorian Spiritual Crisis. Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press, 1995.

Melnyk, Julie. Women’s Theology in Nineteenth-Century Britain: Transfiguring the Faith of Their Fathers. New York: Garland, 1998.

Scheinberg, Cynthia. Women’s Poetry and Religion in Victorian England: Jewish Identity and Christian Culture. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

Whelan, Timothy D. Other British Voices: Women, Poetry, and Religion, 1766-1840. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.

British and European: Medieval Literature

Garber, Rebecca. Feminine Figurae: Representations of Gender in Religious Texts by Medieval German Women Writers, 1100-1375. New York: Routledge, 2003. 

Newman, Barbara. From Virile Woman to WomanChrist: Studies in Medieval Religion and Literature. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1995.

Petroff, Elizabeth. Medieval Women’s Visionary Literature. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986. 

Powell, Morgan. Gender, Reading, and Truth in the Twelfth Century: the Woman in the Mirror. Arc Humanities Press, 2020.

Whitehead, Christiania and Denis Reveney, eds. Writing Religious Women: Female Spiritual and Textual Practices in Late Medieval England. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000.

Contemporary Literature

DelRosso Jeana. Writing Catholic Women: Contemporary International Catholic Girlhood Narratives. New York, Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

King, Jeannette. Women and the Word: Contemporary Women Novelists and the Bible. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000.

Rigney, Barbara Hill. Lilith’s Daughters: Women and Religion in Contemporary Fiction. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1982.

Wallace, Cynthia. Of Women Borne: A Literary Ethics of Suffering. New York: Columbia University Press, 2017.

Female Spirituality

Brożyna, Andrea Ebel. Labour, Love, and Prayer: Female Piety in Ulster Religious Literature, 1850-1914. Belfast: Institute of Irish Studies, Queen’s University of Belfast, 1999.

Christ, Carol P. Diving Deep and Surfacing: Women Writers on Spiritual Quest. Boston: Beacon Press, 1980.

Devlin-Glass, Frances and McCredden, Lynn, eds. Feminist Poetics of the Sacred: Creative Suspicions. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Dwor, Richa. Jewish Feeling: Difference and Affect in Nineteenth-Century Jewish Women’s Writing. London: Bloomsbury, 2015.

Groover, Kristina. Things of the Spirit: Women Writers Constructing Spirituality. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2004.

Kerby-Fulton, Kathryn. Women and the Divine in Literature before 1700: Essays in Memory of Margot Louis. Victoria, BC: ELS Editions, 2009.

Kwok, Pui-Lan and Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza. Women’s Sacred Scriptures. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1998.

Ingham, Arleen. Women and Spirituality in the Writing of More, Wollstonecraft, Stanton, and Eddy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

Rankka, Kristine M. Women and the Value of Suffering: An Aw(e)ful Rowing toward God. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1998.

Global Literature

Amenga-Etego, Rose Mary and Rosetta R. Ross, eds. Unraveling and Reweaving Sacred Canon in Africana Womanhood. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2015.

Arimbi, Diah Ariani. Reading Contemporary Indonesian Muslim Women Writers: Representation, Identity and Religion of Muslim Women in Indonesian Fiction. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2009. 

Blackwell, Jeannine. German Narratives of Women’s Divine and Demonic Possession and Supernatural Vision 1555-1800: A Bibliography. University of Nebraska Press, 2000.

Feldhaus, Anne. Images of Women in Maharashtrian Literature and Religion. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1996.

Haskett, Kelsey L. and Nelson, Holly Faith, eds. French Women Authors: The Significance of the Spiritual (1400-2000). Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2013.

Le Roux, Elizabeth and Mildred A.J. Ndeda, eds. Gender, Literature and Religion in Africa. Dakar, Senegal: Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa, 2005.

Marouan, Maha. Witches, Goddesses, and Angry Spirits: The Politics of Spiritual Liberation in African Diaspora Women’s Fiction. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2020.

Vemsani, Lavanya. Feminine Journeys of the Mahabharata : Hindu Women in History, Text, and Practice. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, 2021.


Donaldson, Laura and Kwok, Pui-lan. Postolonialism, Feminism, and Religious Discourse. New York: Routledge, 2002.

Irigaray, Luce. “La Mystérique.” Speculum of the Other Woman. Trans. Gillian C. Gill. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1974. 191-202.

Kristeva, Julia. New Maladies of the Soul. New York: Columbia University Press, 1995.

Mahmood, Saba. Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revolution and the Feminist Subject. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005.

Weil, Simone. Gravity and Grace. 1952. New York: Routledge, 2002.

Women and Theology

Floyd-Thomas, Stacey M. Deeper Shades of Purple: Womanism in Religion and Society. New York: New York University Press, 2006. 

Phillips, Layli. The Womanist Reader. New York: Routledge, 2006.

Say, Elizabeth. Evidence on Her Own Behalf: Women’s Narrative as Theological Voice. Savage, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1990.

Styler, Rebecca. Literary Theology by Women Writers of the Nineteenth Century. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2010. 

Walton, Heather. Imagining Theology: Women, Writing, and God. New York: T & T Clark, 2007.

Wearn, Mary McCartin, ed. Nineteenth-Century American Women Write Religion: Lived Theologies and Literature. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Company, 2014.

Women Novelists on Religion and Literature

O’Connor, Flannery. Mystery and Manners. [1961] Ed. Sally and Robert Fitzgerald. New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 1995. See “The Church and the Fiction Writer,” “Novelist and Believer,” and “Catholic Novelists and Their Readers.”