This paper attempts to reconsider the nature and function of the ‘spiritual’ dimension in literary texts and in literary study in the context of the present state of the discipline of literary studies. The present era is often defined as a ‘post-secular’ era, one in which themes of spirituality and mysticism are increasingly noticeable in literary works. The paper argues that to maintain its relevance to contemporary writers and readers, literary criticism has to (re-)address these themes in a concrete and effective way. The paper recommends a comparative approach to the discussion of spirituality and mysticism in contemporary literature and literary criticism. In order to carry effective analytical potential, this approach, the paper emphasizes, has to be developed from specific spiritual traditions. The paper first discusses the disciplinary crisis literary studies have always been exposed to since their inception as a discipline of study in academic institutes. It then reviews the current state of the discipline and describes how the discipline came to be dominated by scientific and social approaches. Finally, it suggests the reinstitutionof the ‘spiritual’ element in literary study as a way out from the state of crisis in the discipline of literary studies. The paper thus attempts to strengthen the disciplinary identify of literary studies while exploring interdisciplinary aspects of the study literature.
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Copyright (c) 2015 Dr. Faisal Nazir