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Making the relationship between the religious and the secular a special object of inquiry represents less a new way of thinking about the role of religion in literary studies, as Michael W. Kaufmann contends, than a return to the status quo. This essay articulates that status quo by examining recent work on the history of the novel in English in light of Vincent Pecora's book Secularization and Cultural Criticism. Next, it contrasts Pecora's approach to Talal Asad's in Formations of the Secular. Finally, the essay briefly describes some of the terrain between the religious and the secular in the novel that Asad leaves unexplored in his criticism.