What is a conversion narrative?

Within existing historical and literary critical writing, conversion narratives are most often defined as a seventeenth and eighteenth century religious genre, in which a convert offers the testimony of his or her spiritual rebirth within a new Church or faith. In an important book, The Evangelical Conversion Narrative, Bruce Hindmarsh charts the rise of this kind of self-writing in the mid-seventeenth century, and its proliferation in the eighteenth century.

One of the aims of the ‘Conversion Narratives’ project is to rethink this popular paradigm, separating the idea of the conversion narrative from the closely related genre of spiritual autobiography. Continue reading