Areas of Interest: Twentieth-century British and Irish literature, religion and literature, aesthetic theology and theological aesthetics, J. R. R. Tolkien and fantasy literature
Wilfrid Laurier University, B.A.; University of Toronto, M.A.
Mitchell Kooh is a Ph.D. student in the University of Notre Dame’s English Department specializing in twentieth-century British and Irish literature. More specifically, his interests tend towards the intersection between religion and literature and are motivated by questions of how theological aesthetics (broadly construed) manifest in the twentieth-century literary milieu and how they might be brought into constructive dialogue with literary criticism. In pursuing these questions, his work seeks to reconcile the apparent fragmentation and breakdown of stable meaning in the twentieth century with a rich theo-aesthetic tradition epitomised in figures ranging from Thomas Aquinas to Hans Urs von Balthasar. He is particularly interested in authors whose work straddles, and frequently confounds, the secular/sacred binary, including James Joyce, W. H. Auden, T. S. Eliot, Evelyn Waugh, and J. R. R. Tolkien.
Mitchell is a recipient of the Richard and Peggy Notebaert Premier Fellowship. He is also currently serving as a managing editor at the journal Religion & Literature.
Recent Scholarly Activity:
“Communicating Transcendence, Transcending Communication: Balthasar and Boyle on the Catholic Literary Imagination.” National Communication Association Conference, November 2021.
“‘The Lesser Drawing Splendour’: The Allure of Fragmentarity in Tolkien’s Mythopoetic Argument.” National Communication Association Conference, November 2021.
“Perilous Realms: Fantastic Worlds and Tolkien’s Global Mythology.” Indiana University Bloomington Interdisciplinary Conference, April 2020. (postponed due to COVID)
“‘Whither Then I Cannot Say’: Epistemological Uncertainty and Tolkien’s Transnational Myth.” Laurier Undergraduate Journal of the Arts, vol. 5, no. 1, 2018.
“Naughty Priests and Ne’er-do-wells: A Foucauldian History of Sexuality, Confession, and All Things Penal.” Undergraduate European Studies Conference, University of Guelph, November 2016